Navigating the stresses of a global pandemic have become a way of life and have felt like 10 years of ageing all in one. Whilst we try to deal with uncertainty and new ways of tackling daily life, a physical fatigue builds induced by these stresses. Research is uncovering how stress dramatically impacts on skin, worsens some skin conditions and increases the risk of glycation in the skin, all contributing to premature ageing. Every aspect of physical and mental health can be altered by stress. When stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) are released into the body they act directly on the skin and can cause alterations in skin cell growth, increased sebum production, increased inflammation and impaired immunity. These impacts worsen when we are stressed for prolonged periods.
Glycation occurs when a sugar molecule binds with a protein (eg collagen, elastin), creating a new, differently shaped molecule. As the distorted molecules grow in number, skin structure is disrupted leading to loss of elasticity, lines and wrinkles. If sugar and cortisol levels are high during chronic stress, insulin struggles to balance the blood sugar which leads to high levels of sugar in the skin and resulting glycation. Meanwhile the brain releases cortisol to combat stress and triggers cravings for high fat, high sugar food, exacerbating the high blood sugar situation and increasing the likelihood of damage to the skin’s structure. Damage to cell DNA from stress, environmental and lifestyle factors such as UV damage, pollution, smoking and poor diet will also lead to premature cellular ageing as cells will not divide and renew if the chromosomes are compromised.
Vitamins A, C and E are essential to support and maintain normal skin health. It is important to elevate our skin routine in times of stress to prevent long term damage and premature ageing. A combination of vitamin rich supplements from the Advanced Nutrition Programme and topical preparations from Environ, coupled with a healthy diet, regular exercise, a good nights sleep, relaxation and time out will all contribute to maintaining your healthy glow.
Top Tips to Ease Stress
1. Sleep tight – regulates hormones; improves metabolism and immune system; increases physical and emotional resilience; allows the body to repair. Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
2. Exercise – uses up the fuels and stress hormones released during the day; incorporate cardio, strength and stretching over the week, try yoga to destress.
3. Eat regularly – to maintain a stable blood sugar level and avoid the fight or flight peaks and troughs.
4. Eat well – plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds (and avoid refined sugar) to provide essential nutrients. Consider daily supplements to provide additional support.
5. Relax – use whatever strategies work for you; take breaks, practise breathing exercises, meditate, take a bath, read a book, treat your skin to a face masque, listen to music…
Noo Yoo skincare and healthy living can help you and your skin through times of stress, please get in touch.