Stress is never pleasant. When we fall foul, the smallest things can push us over the edge. Sadly, this is a reality many of us face, with a Gallup poll recently announcing that Americans are some of the most stressed people in the world. I’m absolutely in agreement with that statement — at least this girl feels like the most stressed out girl in the world sometimes. The good news is that we’re meeting these rising stress levels with plenty of coping mechanisms. From meditation to mindfulness, there is no end of options for getting yourself out of that rut.
But, something we consider far less is the physical implication of stress. There’s evidence to suggest that stress can lead to ageing and wrinkles. With high stress levels that we’re all used too, this doesn’t really sound like very good news. This, in turn, can lead to further stress due to worries about appearance. It’s a vicious cycle and one which is best addressed. To do that, though, it’s vital to understand how exactly stress can cause wrinkles. Lucky for you, that’s precisely what we’re going to look at here. I know, knowledge is king.
The chemical effect
For the most part, this correlation between stress and wrinkles comes from chemicals. (Kids: pay attention in science.) Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, can break down collagen in your skin. This might not be a problem when you’re young and able to heal, but as you age your skin is no longer able to repair. Sadly, this isn’t something which will go away by de-stressing if damage is already done. But, turning to anti-ageing products or even face lift surgery,if that’s something you desire, could lessen the results. Equally, spending time practicing self-love could both lessen stress, and help you to come to terms with your new appearance. Ageing will happen, ageing gracefully, that’s an art.
The lack of sleep
A lack of sleep often comes alongside stress, and is also largely to blame for the ageing effect. If you haven’t noticed, sleep is a pain point for me…i don’t get enough and I’m trying to correct that, but it’s been tough. Failure to get into a proper sleep routine can increase the likelihood of wrinkles a great deal. If you’re tired, then there’s a high chance that your skin will be too. That’s because, as you sleep, the blood flow in your skin increases. That allows your body to rebuild and repair damaged collagen. But, if you aren’t getting the sleep you need then your body won’t be able to take that time. Add that to the increased cortisol mentioned above, and you could soon be in trouble. The best option here would be to try calming exercise like sleep meditation and bedtime yoga. Clearing your mind by putting devices aside at least an hour before bed could also make a massive difference to both stress levels and sleep.
The stress-filled lifestyle
The lifestyle we embark on while stressed can also damage our skin. Coping mechanisms like unhealthy eating, alcohol, and smoking can do real damage. Fortunately I quit smoking about 9 years ago, but I’m sure the 15 years leading up to that took a toll. They can both make us feel and look physically worse, exacerbating the issue. While it isn’t easy, then, it’s vital to focus on living a healthy life, even during stressful periods. That means continuing to make time for exercise and eating the right foods. Though it may not seem like it at the time, this can actually help to alleviate stress. And, your wrinkle-free skin would undoubtedly thank you for it.
What’s your biggest stressor? Let me know in the comments below and thanks for reading!