Before we dive into understanding Cortisol and how it impact the health of our skin, we first need to find out all about stress.
We all deal with different types of stress, whether related to our jobs, multitasking with toddlers, our families, the cities we live in, or the other constant struggles of fast-paced modern lifestyles.
So, what is Stress? Stress is a specific response by the body to a negative stimulus like pain or fear. This response interferes with the body’s normal physiological balance in order to prepare the body for fight or flight.
In a perfect world we’d have short bursts of stress response and then overcome the stress and return to normal. And that’s perfectly fine. However, a lot of us these days do not live in a perfect world. Sometimes we have no choice to take on stressful jobs and situations daily, or even continuously. If you are stressed repeatedly for a long period of time the fight or flight changes in your body can create a vicious cycle that keeps you out of balance and wears you out.
Another interesting thing is that sometimes your body is stressed even when you may not even be consciously aware of it. For example, when running late for an appointment, lack of good nutrition, or eating food your body is intolerant to also creates a stress response. A cherry on the cake is a particularly busy day, when we skip a meal, eat junk food or end up drinking lots of coffee , creating additional stress in our bodies.
So, now we know all about stress and the reasons behind it, its time to move onto understanding the next big culprit, called Cortisol. To keep it simple, whenever our body is stressed for a long or continuous period, it releases a hormone called Cortisol. Normal levels of short episodes of Cortisol isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It helps fuel your body for “fight-or-flight response in a crisis. Think of cortisol as nature’s built-in alarm system. It’s your body’s main stress hormone. It works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear.
It is a hormone that can be classified as a “steroid hormone” or a glucocorticoid. It is produced in the adrenal glands (the ones right above your kidneys) and released into your bloodstream, which means it is transported throughout your body.
As part of the stress response, cortisol and other related hormone levels rise to prepare the body for a stressful experience. The reason cortisol can have a major effect on us is because nearly all of our body’s cells have receptors that can absorb cortisol. Too much stress, or long & continuous episodes of stressful situations can really do a lot of damage to our skin’s health.
Link between Fast Lifestyles, Cortisol Levels and Skin Health
Fast lifestyles has its pros and cons when it comes to skin’s health. One of the biggest cons is the lack of time to feed your skin with right ingredients both internally and externally. It’s no surprise that Londoners are among the worst affected. Long commutes and hours in the office, quick or missed meals, and late nights combined with environmental pollution can play havoc with your skin.
Some of the indirect impacts of cortisol on the skin is through our eating habits and daily multitasking stressful routines. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast sources of energy, in turn stimulating insulin release to maintain blood sugar levels. This end up with an increase in appetite and increased cravings for sweet, high fat and salty foods. The combined effect can lead to weight gain and poor skin conditions. The hormones generated in a stressful environment speed up the activity of sebaceous glands in the skin, leading to higher than normal levels of oil, blockages in the pores and acne breakouts.
At the same time, the aspects of modern life such as ever-present technology and social media comparisons are pushing our cortisol levels up to consistently chronic levels.
How cortisol affects our skin health
When your body starts producing excess cortisol, it loses its ability to retain water. This is what leads to dehydrated, flaky and tired-looking skin.
Moreover, when your cortisol levels go up, it prompts your skin to produce excess sebum (our skin’s natural oils = sebum). Too much oil production in our skin can clog our pores and lead to breakouts. New York City-based dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, MD. explains “As a side effect, these hormones lead to an increase in oil production in our skin promoting breakouts. They can also interfere with wound healing, prevent the skin from repairing itself, and could potentially be associated with premature aging.”
Other ways cortisol shows up on our skin is through signs of aging, as cortisol can breaks down elastin and collagen. People with sensitive skin conditions, and eczema and psoriasis should specially avoid stress as it can cause adverse flare-ups.
How to avoid Cortisol and maintain healthy and youth-full looking skin
Instead of putting a topical solution on breakouts, we should work to attack what’s causing the breakouts. However, we all know that sometimes that can be unavoidable, specially when life gets in a way. Therefore, our focus should be on products and quick remedies that help reduce the level of stress, thereby, preventing our skin from signs of pre-mature ageing and common skin irritations, such as acne, clogged pores, skin sensitivity including redness.
At beauty cleanse skincare, we are committed to creating high-performance natural skincare that simplify beauty routines, is kind to planet and address skincare challenges of a conscious urban dweller who wants to make informed choices for the health of the skin and planet. Our New Carrot Algae Marine Drops are created to help stressed urban dwellers unable to cope with an ever expanding agenda; it is designed to prevent and relieve signs of fatigue & stress-related skin irritations. Combining technology-backed Natural Active (Micro algae Plankton Extract) with nature’s high performance & regenerating plant oils, this multipurpose serum is designed to strengthen skins resilience to modern lifestyle stressors. This wonderful Micro Algae blend uses its relaxation action to help reduce the effects of stress on your skin, giving a relaxed and energised skin appearance. It also help prevent those unexpected stress-related breakouts which are a result of hectic, busy days.
Its synergistic molecules restore the homeostasis of the skin by protecting it from inner stress signals, Cortisol & Adrenaline, restoring its natural circadian rhythm. At the same time, Carrot seed oil may help stimulate the growth of new tissue, thus promoting a clearer, brighter, evenly toned complexion.
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To summarise, always find ways to avoid stressful situations as too much cortisol can wreak havoc on your skin, immune system and even on your physical and mental health.
Some of the best remedies to reduce Lifestyle Stress are;
Having a consistent & relaxing Sleep Routine,
Face Massage for relaxed & energised skin appearance,
Diet rich in antioxidants & essential nutrients,
Exercise, Yoga, Relaxation & Mediation activities…