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How does stress affect the body? The effects of stress on skin problems, health concerns and inflammation

Have you ever noticed worse breakouts, darker dark circles and seemingly sped up signs of aging during a period when you are run off your feet? This is no coincidence.

What is ‘stress’?

With our constant frowning at endless emails, late nights and little time to ourselves it almost seems that stress is an accepted part of modern life. But the stark reality is that stress is our body reacting to perceived danger.

This fact alone should be enough to motivate us to view stress management as an integral part of looking after your body, mind and skin. But I know there is just always so much to do that it probably isn’t! So let me tell you more.

In the days of hunter gatherers, the fight or flight response, in the short term, allowed us to hone our senses; heart racing, brain alert, muscles ready to react, to get out of the way of to dangers in our environment. In the modern world this response tends to be triggered by the ping of an email notification or a car pulling in front of us without indicating!

How does stress impact our health?

When a stress reponse is dragged out, over days, weeks or months it changes all processes within our body. Levels of important hormones change and this impacts everything from how we store and burn energy, to how we fight infection and heal and how our mind processes information.

To give you an idea of why you should never underplay the impact even low level stress has, here are some issues that stress causes;

-              Reduced immunity, more low level illnesses

-              Slower healing and recovery

-              Faster visible signs of aging

-              Poor sleep

-              Low mood and anxiety

-              Low energy and poor concentration

-              Slower metabolism

-              Reduced libido

- Increased strain on our heart and high blood


I know, this is EVERYTHING.

How does stress age skin?

Our skin, being the largest organ in our body, really reacts negatively to all this.

When it comes to signs of aging, we see this happen quickly due to more than the impact of the constant frowning. There is faster breakdown and  reduced collage repair throughout the body. In the skin this leads to lines and wrinkles and laxity.

Breakouts hit harder and last longer as the skin cannot heal as well and other inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea and psoriasis flare. Dark circles build as we aren’t sleeping and the delicate skin in that area is deteriorating. And this is all likely compounded by us reaching for a takeout or an extra night cap to cope with it all.

Easy ways to manage stress and the impact of stress on skin.

I am very passionate about telling all of you guys that the way you forge your lives and lifestyles IS the first and foremost way you can proactively look after your health, reduce aging and help skin concerns. Whilst I can tell you some simple tips, everyone is different and finding ways that work for you is the most important thing.

Top tips I have learned to live by;

  • choosing foods I enjoy AND are healthy so meal times are a pleasure rather than a necessity

  • Taking time to change my scenery when I eat

  • Making sure I get out for even just 5 mins each day to walk or move

  • Finding a balanced approach to movement so I can fit it in during the week; walking to school, work or the shops counts, it doesnt have to be a heavy work out

  • Agreeing with my partner that I need a few minutes before my or the kids bed to do a manageable self care/skin care routine

  • Learning when to switch off, say no to things and avoid devices

Want more tips for a healthy lifestyle or bespoke skin care routine?

I really love aesthetics and skin as a speciality and I am very lucky to be able to merge this with my over decade experience of general medicine. Why? Well, it isn’t the fact that I can give you a magic cream to solve it all (though with the right routine you can really give your skin a helping hand!) but because skin confidence it is so deeply intertwined with how good we feel about ourselves and directly related to how healthy our body is.

Even if you simply take 5 minutes in the evening for your self, to wash your face and apply a moisturiser, your skin will benefit and that act of self care will feel good too. I see so many patients who say they have no time, then with the magic of simple but tailored skin care routine a snowball effect of positive change then starts in the rest of their lives. Skin, body, mind all benefit in one continuous cycle.

If you would like support forging a healthy lifestyle and learning how this and products can help your body and skin age well head to arrange your consultation.

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