Did you know that stress can do a number on your skin? You are probably familiar with the stress-induced breakout, but prolonged, chronic stress can also prematurely age the skin. Stressful situations trigger the release of cortisol, adrenaline, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and angiotensin, all of which rob your skin of collagen and weaken its cellular repairing capabilities. Circulation is diverted away from the skin during stressful situations, which explains the dull, pale appearance of the skin in people who deal with constant stress.
Cortisol in particular inhibits the growth of fibroblasts which are responsible for making collagen, so they can’t keep up with the constant breakdown of old tissue. The result is skin which is collagen deficient, resulting in thinner, more wrinkled skin. Free radicals are formed in response to stress, which then damages skin cells and adversely affects the condition of the skin.
So how can you fight the effects of stress on the skin? There are three keys:
Every cell in the body benefits from exercise, including skin cells The pores of the skin dilate during exercise, and when you work up a sweat, trapped dirt particles are released. In addition, the increased circulation which results from exercise delivers more oxygen and other nutrients to skin cells, as well as carries away waste products and free radicals.
We all know how frustrating it can be to have a big event looming, only to have an acne breakout right before the big day. The fact is that the stress associated with preparing for the event can trigger excess oil production in the skin, which clogs pores and sets up the perfect environment for an acne flareup. Even other skin issues, like psoriasis, are linked to stress. However, by practicing relaxation techniques, you can increase blood flow to the skin and offset any triggering factors (such as buildup of oil or free radicals) which contribute to skin maladies.
3. Use topicals:
Some of the best friends for your skin are topical agents such as antioxidants and retinoids. I am a big fan of vitamin C, not only because of its general antioxidant benefits, but also because it has a tendency to lighten up brown spots and impart a brighter appearance to the complexion. Retinoids are great for increasing cell turnover, and are potent anti-aging compounds.