Research conducted under a grant from the National Rosacea Society shows stress is more likely to trigger an episode of rosacea than just about any other event. Long-term stress—the kind so many are tortured by these days—has been shown to lower the immune system while elevating inflammation, shortening chromosomes, damaging genes and devouring proteins in muscles, organs and skin.
In fact, stress is insidious, affecting every cell in the body, not just those on the surface of the skin. According to a report on ScienceDaily.com."Stress causes deterioration in everything from your gums to your heart and can make you more susceptible to everything from the common cold to cancer.”1 Stress, of course, shows up in the skin; As an aestheticism I believe more than 80% of my clients seek help for conditions linked to stress. These conditions range from well-known stress-related diseases, such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, and dry, itchy skin.
Stress also appears to be the second greatest factor in skin aging. After numerous studies examining the stress-skin connection, researchers now believe the actions of hormones, neuropeptides and other signaling molecules released during stress may be second only to ultraviolet (UV) light when it comes to tearing down the skin and speeding up the aging process. 2 Because, similar to UV light, stress takes its toll on the epidermis and the dermis, their proteins and even the DNA inside individual skin cells, quickening the aging cycle by as many as six years. To make things worse, for some reason still unknown to researchers, women are much more likely to show signs of aging under the influence of chronic stress than men.
Because most don’t think of stress as having anything more to do with skin than its well-known connection to acne, its impact is often missed on those who don’t suffer from the skin disease. This is especially true nowadays with stress levels at record highs and caring for health at record lows. All the measures taken to keep yourself in shape, such as eating healthy and exercising, goes by the wayside when chronic, unrelenting stress enters your life. You feel out of control—drinking too much, eating the wrong things, not getting enough sleep—all of which exacerbate stress instead of helping regain the balance that is craved.
Yet, say psychologists, that’s exactly the time a routine of personal care should be adhered to that really is, well, personal. You need to eat your veggies, steer clear of sugar and empty carbs, take moments to focus inward, paced with slow, gut-level breaths, maintain your skin care routine and be sure to make quality time for family, friends and, most sacred of all, yourself.