Monday, November 14, 2011

What Stress And Lack Of Sleep Can Do To Our Skin

We spend a lot of time focusing on the effect that the sun and environment have on our skin, but few of us stop to think about the detrimental effects that our modern lifestyle—and its stress and lack of sleep—has on our appearance. Most of us are familiar with dark circles after a late night out, but more and more research is showing that lack of sleep and stress have far-reaching skin implications.
Both lack of sleep and stress prompt our bodies to produce a hormone called cortisol, which causes blood sugar levels in our bodies to rise. This can lead to weight gain, heart problems, and now recent research is shedding light on the connection between cortisol production, stress and lack of sleep—and the effect this has on our skin.

Cortisol Effects on Skin

  • Wrinkles: Cortisol-caused blood sugar increases can accelerate the aging process, since excess sugar can compromise the collagen in our skin and lead to wrinkles.
  • Acne: Acne can also be exacerbated by cortisol that’s released when external factors affect our bodies.
  • Dryness: Research has also shown that these hormonal surges can impair our skin’s barrier as well, leading to dryness, irritation and inflammation—which, as we know, are less than desirable when it comes to our skin.

What You Can Do

So what can you do to minimize cortisol production caused by stress and lack of sleep?
  • Sleep: Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. 
  • Avoid caffeine
  • Eat Healthy: You should also try to eat a healthy, low-sugar diet, and remember that starchy vegetables like potatoes are ultimately converted into sugar when they are processed by our bodies.
  • Go for Omega-3s: To keep inflammation under control, make sure you get enough omega-3s, either from the foods you eat or supplements. (For skin inflammation, look for soothing ingredients like feverfew, chamomile and salicylic acid). 
  • Relax: Lastly, slow down! Set aside some time for yourself every day to do a good-for-your-mind-and-body activity like meditation, exercise or a pampering bubble bath. And don’t underestimate the power of aromatherapy. Research shows that a little lavender essential oil can go a long way for relaxation. Believe it or not, your skin will thank you!
This article was written by Leslie Baumann, MD. The skin expert guru.


Renee Sullivan said...

This is an excellent post!! I take Omega 3s every day. Another good recommendation is non-gmo soy protein.

Your Resident Health Nut,

sazamom said...

Getting enough sleep is very important.This is so true.My children and I take naps daily.

Sadi said...

This is an awesome post! This is so true. And as we get older, it becomes more evident when we do not take care of our bodies. Thank you for the information. Please visit my blog!

Enjoy your week!

All Natural Katie said...

I always notice my cheeks getting irritated and dry when I am stressed out.

I am your newest follower coming from the Monday Mingle Blog Hop! Great to link up!

a mommy's lifestyle said...

Thanks so much for posting this! I wish the sleep part was easy for me. haha!

Nekky said...

Though the importance of good sleep can not be over emphasized, most people still over look it. Thanks for the reminder.

chin said...

highly informative article.keep it up pappy.

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