According to Ingrid Wood, the author of the Good Skin. Short term stress is beneficial in that it prepares the body for an emergency. However, in the long –term, your body, skin and health start to suffer. Cortisol (the stress hormone unlike other hormones does not decrease with age. In a young, healthy body. Cortisol levels increase in the morning and drop at night. If you are under prolonged stress, cortisol is continually secreted into the blood streams. A younger person is more able to move from a stressed state to a relaxed one whereas as one ages it becomes more difficult.
When the body makes cortisol for too long, it is a major contributor to skin ageing, weakening of the immune system and increasing blood sugar levels. Cortisol levels need to be kept in check in order to protect the body from the effects of stress.
Here some ways to keep our cortisol level in check
- Eat a diet high in raw and fresh fruits and vegetables – citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, limes, lemons) apples, pears, grapes etc. they help to detox the body, balance hormones and increase levels of potassium – which is essential for beautiful skin. Eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
- Get enough exercise
- Spa treatments like a regular massage and steam session also help to keep our stress levels in check.
- Relaxed breathing and elevated concentration levels will help you to lower your heart rate and blood pressure and increase your peace of mind
The effect of stress on the skin
Stress sends the body into survival mode by directing most of the blood to the vital organs such as the heart ,lungs and brain. This means less blood goes to the skin which leaves you looking washed out!
Rough and Dry Skin
A restricted blood supply to the skin means the cells renew themselves less quickly, leading to dry and flaky skin
Cortisol causes the secretion of androgen, a sex hormone that increases oil production. Excess sebum means clogged pores which leads to breakouts.
When your body is stressed it often releases histamines, which causes irritation like itchiness, bumps, rashes
etc. A routine relaxation or massage session can help reduce these hypersensitive reactions