After a stressful situation or a prolonged illness that puts a lot of stress on your body, there is a good chance you will notice a few more wrinkles on your face. Of course, most of us are aware that stress can cause premature aging, and unfortunately, stress is an unavoidable part of life.
Is there a way that we can prevent some stress-related premature skin aging? When you are stressed, your body responds with the fight-or-flight syndrome, which results in a surge of hormonal activity that can negatively affect your health. And it will affect more than just your internal health. According to a study posted by the National Institutes of Health, recent research has confirmed that skin is both an immediate stress perceiver and a target of stress responses.
As the body’s largest organ, the skin is essential for barrier and immune functions, including maintaining homeostasis between the external environment and internal tissues. These two major layers are called the epidermis and dermis.
How Chronic Stress Could Cause Wrinkles
Research has shown that chronic stress can lead to premature wrinkles. So, continually being stressed will affect your anti-aging routine. Cortisol, the most prevalent stress hormone, can break down the collagen in your skin. The more stressed out you are, the more cortisol your body will produce, and eventually, your skin cells will not be able to naturally replenish elastin and collagen at the rate that they should be able to. And what is the most significant cause of wrinkles? The loss of elastin and collagen.
Other Ways Stress Can Ruin Your Anti-Aging Routine
While elevated cortisol levels are connected to chronic stress, producing wrinkles and premature signs of aging, there are also some indirect ways that stress can take a toll on your youthful appearance. Think about your stress levels in the past few weeks. Were you stressed for more than a day or two? How was your affected lifestyle during that stressful time? Chances are you were not living the healthiest lifestyle during that time.
Many of us spend the majority of our time working, whether it’s before sunrise or far into the night. We’re running on only a few hours of sleep, and probably don’t have enough time to eat the healthiest options. And when we are busy, it is a lot harder to make time for or find the motivation to go to the gym.
Inadequate sleep, poor diet, poor skin care, and a lack of exercise all contribute to your skin’s appearance. Over time, your youthful appearance will begin looking dull and tired. If these stress-induced occurrences happen on a regular basis, it is not surprising that you may see more wrinkles on your forehead and under your eyes.
DON’T LET STRESS AGE YOU
If you notice that your stressful life has affected your health, by either taking a physical or mental toll, it is probably a good idea to slow down. Don’t feel guilty for taking some time to focus on yourself for a change! If it is safe, plan a meet up with friends or get some exercise by going for a hike.
Though it is not usually encouraged, some retail therapy can help, and why not indulge yourself in a calming bubble bath and a glass of wine. There are so many ways to reduce stress and minimize its adverse effects on your skin. And in the same way that you take care of your body by eating right and exercising, it’s ok if self-care means sleeping in a little longer.