STRESS. We all have it, we all hate it, but could it be the culprit behind our damaged skin?
When we stress out, a hormone called cortisol is released and brings crisis upon our bodies. Studies have shown that too much cortisol has an extremely negative effect on our skin as well. Cortisol release can be caused by lack of sleep and any other stressful stimuli.
The release of cortisol can have the following effects on our skin:
Fine Lines and Wrinkles: Blood sugar levels increase when the stress hormone cortisol is released. Increased blood sugar initiates glycation in our skin. Glycation is a process that damages our skin’s collagen – which we know is necessary for elasticity, firmness, and suppleness – causing an unwanted and unnecessary increase in lines and wrinkles.
Cellulite: When cortisol is released, blood flow in our body slows down. When our blood flow decreases, toxin build up in our skin increases. These toxins are believed to play a major part in cellulite development.
Dryness: Cortisol lowers our natural hyaluronic acid production. Hyaluronic acid is the natural moisturizer contained in our skin, and as we age, this natural acid decreases, so it is crucial to not speed up that process. Furthermore, the stress hormone cortisol causes even more hydration to seep out by weakening the skin’s barrier, and this causes dehydrated skin. In turn, dehydrated skin weakens the enzymes that repair the everyday skin damage we acquire.
Poor complexion: In addition to cortisol, stress releases epinephrine - which also does no good for our skin. The presence of epinephrine decreases blood flow to our skin and this robs the skin of its oxygen supply, and other necessary nutrients. Good blood circulation is necessary for a healthy and youthful glow, and without it, our complexions become unavoidably dull and dim.
Realistically speaking, one can never rid his/her life from stress, but learning how to manage that stress will make you happier – and your skin will thank you for it too! There is no big untold secret to managing stress; in fact, the secret has been given to us time and time again, but rarely do we ever implement it.
The key to saving yourself – and your skin – from stress is to sleep, exercise, and RELAX.
Getting enough sleep WILL keep cortisol levels low, and combat fine lines, wrinkles, and dry skin.
Exercising helps you blow off some steam, which in turn keeps cortisol low, and it also boosts blood flow and circulation. Exercising regularly will promote a brighter complexion, and fight off cellulite.
Obviously, relaxing is easier said than done. For those with a busier and more stressful lifestyle, a conscious effort to relax is ESSENTIAL. Breathing exercises, drinking your favorite cup of tea, closing your eyes for a few moments, or aromatherapy with essential oils are a few relaxation boosting activities to try!