We all know that stress can play havoc with your overall health and wellbeing but did you know it can also affect your beauty! I’ve found out the hard way!
For the past 18 months my weight has fluctuated, mainly upward! I’ve also experienced substantial hair loss (as well as being dry and brittle) and have noticed new and more pronounced laughter lines (my way of avoiding the word ‘wrinkles’), not to mention being excessively tired. Reflecting upon all that has happened over the last 18 months (selling my business, starting up another, hubby made redundant, house renovations, selling house and forthcoming move to Auckland (more on that later)), I can now confidently put it down to high and prolonged periods of STRESS!
Short bursts of stress are ‘normal’ and lead to the production of two stress hormones, adrenalin and cortisol, that both play a key function in maintaining balance within our bodies and helping us through difficult times.
Cortisol influences, regulates and moderates the resources within our body. If the body is receiving stress signals, it goes into survival mode, shifting resources towards this need and away from repair and rejuvenation. That’s okay in short bursts and when the body has time to recover but think about the impact when that stress is prolonged, imagine what happens to less important areas of the body that need those resources as well, e.g. skin repair and hair growth!
And when we’re stressed, we often opt for things that make it easier or better for us, temporarily at least - caffeine, alcohol, easy meals & snacks (processed foods) and we may even crave junk food. Stress can also lead to sleep disruption or insomnia.
So, being short-changed of vital nutrients, essential in the repair and rejuvenation of the body, together with higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol in the bloodstream, and perhaps bad eating, drinking and disrupted sleep, is it any wonder our good looks suffer!
Chronic Stress can lead to:
- Weight gain, and sometimes it might be more pronounced around your middle - I’ll leave Dr Libby to explain this.
- Hair loss, thinning and/or it may be dry and brittle. In extreme cases, it may lead to Alopecia or Psoriasis. You may even lose your eyebrows or parts of.
- Poor skin - looking dull or lack lustre; dryness which can lead to the likes of eczema and the onset of fine lines and wrinkles; pigmentation or acne.
- Dull eyes
- Dark, puffy circles under your eyes
- Brittle nails
- Sores may take longer to heal
- Interrupted Beauty Sleep - they don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing. Sleep is important in the restorative process of your skin, hair and your body in general.
If this isn’t reason enough to get you to act on lowering your stress levels, I’m sure you’re fully aware of other possible affects including depression, high blood pressure, fatigue, impaired cognitive function, heart attack, stroke…
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