Let’s face it, COVID-19 is all anyone seems to be talking about these days, and words like ‘isolation’, ‘quarantine’, and ‘stay safe’ seem normal as part of everyday conversation. COVID-19 has become a global pandemic, affecting more than just our health. Jobs and finances have suffered, placing severe strain on families, bringing about enormous stress and uncertainty, and taking both an emotional and physical toll on the body. Now, more than ever we should be protecting the skin during stressful times.
It has been shown that there is a direct connection between the brain and the skin. Protecting the skin during stressful times means that the emotional and physical state of your body will in turn impact the health of the skin. Looking at how the body works allows us to get a clearer understanding as to why the skin is affected.
When the human body is stressed, the pituitary gland sends a hormonal message to the adrenal glands to secrete cortisol, also known as your stress hormone. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as Cortisol helps prepare the body for ‘fight or flight’ mode and provides us with enough energy to tackle the task at hand as the body is flooded with glucose. During this surge, the heart rate increase while arteries narrow, causing blood to pump harder and faster. As soon as the situation passes, normal hormonal levels return, and the system is once again stabilized. Ideally, this process is meant to be a short-term reaction, however, when you are overstressed for a prolonged amount of time, problems soon arise.
Over the long term, the over-production of cortisol will soon start to suppress the body’s immune system, opening a door to inflammation and equating to bigger problems for our health. Inflammation is the body’s natural response and defense system to threat, invasion, or injury, and plays a big role in the body’s overall healing process. Acute inflammation is supposed to be temporary and should ideally last for only a few days, however, when this inflammation is not switched off (for healing to take place), it becomes a chronic concern. This can go on for months or even years.
Being the largest organ in our bodies, the skin is very prone to the negative effects of Cortisol and inflammation – highlighting the importance of protecting the skin during stressful times.
Here are a few known skin conditions that can be noticed as a result of stress, causing increased cortisol & inflammation:
- Chronic inflammation causes the skin to become more reactive, especially in the presence of underlying conditions, making it more susceptible to eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis concerns. Chronic inflammation may even exacerbate and trigger the spread of vitiligo.
- The overproduction of cortisol can increase sebaceous gland activity, leading to an increase in oil production. This rise in oil production may lead to the formation of comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and may potentially trigger the occurrence of breakouts.
- Stress and cortisol have been shown to accelerate the ageing process. There are a few reasons for this:
Firstly, due to oxidative stress, there is an increase in free radical damage that leads to the breakdown of healthy cellular structures, and in turn causes skin degradation to occur.
Secondly, with cortisol comes a rise in glucose levels. This triggers the breakdown of collagen and elastin through a process called glycation which contributes towards the formation of lines and wrinkles.
Lastly, without realizing it, worry lines tend to form due to constant frowning. These lines will become more permanent with time.
Chronic inflammation does not only influence the skin, but it also takes its toll on the rest of the body, and has been linked to many illnesses including diabetes, arthritis, allergies, sinusitis, as well as some auto-immune diseases. It is important to remember that your diet plays a big role, and that a diet high in caffeine, alcohol, trans fatty acids and sugary foods will increase inflammation in the body.
During times of stress, it is important to:
- Fight the effects of stress on the skin by using suitable skin care products. DermaFix Cosmeceutical Skin Care provides a range of products helping to ease your skin through both the best and the worst of times.
- Incorporate a skin care product to soothe and calm the skin with anti-inflammatory properties. DermaFix CBD Lotion helps to calm the skin whilst providing skin barrier restoration and support.
- Boost the skin daily with topical antioxidants like DermaFix Ferulic + C + E, providing a high dose of Vitamin C that boosts antioxidant protection for up to 72hours.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet that contains leafy greens, probiotics, essential fatty oils such as omegas 3 & 6, as well as fresh fruits (especially those rich in antioxidants)
- Exercise, go for a walk, get some fresh air, or do other activities that help take your mind off things.
- Make sure to get a good night’s sleep. This helps to reset levels in the body and allows you to cope during times of stress.
For more information on the DermaFix Cosmeceutical Skin Care range, tips on protecting the skin during stressful times, or for any advice on what skin care products to incorporate into your routine, contact us directly on 0861282323 or visit www.dermafix.co.za.