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How Stress Affects the Skin

Stress isn’t just an unpleasant emotion: it’s the cause of a complex set of physiological changes in the body that can result in everything from dull, lifeless skin to acne flares, premature wrinkling and an increased risk of heart disease.

The effects of stress on the skin begin with adrenaline. When confronted with a stressful situation, the body produces this “fight or flight” hormone. Adrenaline prepares the body for action in emergency situations, boosting the supply of oxygen and energy-giving glucose to the brain and muscles. At the same time, however, adrenaline re-directs blood flow away from the skin, thereby decreasing the skin’s supply of oxygen.

When this happens repeatedly, such as through the chronic stress induced by ongoing tension at home or at work, the skin doesn’t receive the nourishment it needs. This can result in dull skin tone, loss of elasticity and overactive sebaceous (oil) glands, leading to acne breakouts. Over prolonged periods, stressed skin often shows signs of early wrinkling and discoloration when internal regenerative processes break down. Stress also slows the skin’s rate of cellular turnover, so it takes longer for fresh, new skin cells to reach the skin’s surface.

Aside from eliminating the source of stress, easy ways to mitigate its effects include reducing caffeine intake, increasing consumption of antioxidants and supplementing skin care regimens.

Like stress, caffeine elevates adrenaline levels by altering the chemistry of the brain. It does this by inhibiting the action of adenosine.

Stress can also weaken the immune system and inhibit the important work of antioxidants, which slow the creation of damaging free radicals in the body. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules responsible for everything from killing harmful bacteria to increasing the risk of cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and skin problems. Eating foods rich in antioxidants can help boost the body’s ability to prevent free radical damage, countering the effects of stress.

Perhaps the easiest way, though, to reduce the effects of stress on the skin is to boost the skin’s nutrient levels from the outside in. For example, Novaurora’s Organic Rejuvenating Face Cream contains antioxidants that enhance the skin’s ability to produce collagen and elastin; both the Face Cream and Repairing & Toning Lotion contain carboxymethyl beta glucan, an immune-stimulant that is known to increase the production of epidermal growth hormone (EGF). Natural EGF production, the ground source of collagen and elastin, is challenged by age, stress and exposure to sun, wind and airborne pollutants.Two of the most important of the skin’s building blocks, collagen and elastin are necessary to help prevent the development of wrinkles and healthy EGF levels are essential to combat other skin challenges, like acne and sunburn. As levels of these substances decline with age and stress, skin develops wrinkles and other imperfections more quickly.

Have a question about what types of products you could use to counteract these effects? Email us and we’ll tell you how to re-energize your skin on the cellular level.



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