FACE FACTS, HIGH LEV­ELS OF STRESS ARE AGE­ING US ALL

Warwick Daily News - - WEEKEND - – www.whimn.com.au

It’s safe to say we’re all feel­ing a rea­son­ably high level of stress.

Be­tween to-do lists and mak­ing money to tick it all off, down­time can be hard to pen­cil in – and 10 min­utes a week with a sheet mask on doesn’t ex­actly negate the six late nights you’ve had in a row.

And while we all know stress can make you look a bit fraz­zled, a new study says a high-stress life­style can make you look up to 3.5 years older thanks to “cul­tural stress”.

Led by der­ma­tol­o­gist Howard Mu­rad, re­searchers found that un­like reg­u­lar stress, cul­tural stress is con­stant, per­va­sive and ever-in­creas­ing – and do­ing our skin pre­cisely zero favours.

“It dif­fers from tra­di­tional stress, which I de­fine as stress caused by some­thing like a bro­ken leg or a death in the fam­ily. While this stress is painful at the time, it does even­tu­ally sub­side and our bod­ies are de­signed to cope with it,” Dr Mu­rad said.

“Cul­tural stress, on the other hand, is a type of stress that our bi­o­log­i­cal sys­tems are ill-adapted to han­dle. It has be­come in­creas­ingly preva­lent over the past decade and it has snuck up on every sin­gle one of us.”

So how ex­actly does miss­ing the bus each day make you look older? That would be thanks to cor­ti­sol, a nat­u­ral hor­mone that helps the body deal with stress and causes tis­sues to break down, in­clud­ing mus­cle, skin and yes, pre­cious col­la­gen.

In small amounts, stress and cor­ti­sol are a nor­mal and healthy adap­ta­tion reflex.

But to­day’s stress lev­els are high and con­stant and have caused an over­pro­duc­tion, lead­ing to many un­wanted side-ef­fects, in­clud­ing a com­pro­mised skin con­di­tion.

“Skin has its own stress-re­sponse sys­tem and shares a com­mon lan­guage with our ner­vous sys­tem.

“It can ini­ti­ate re­sponses and send out mes­sages through its own net­work. This helps ex­plain how psy­cho­log­i­cal and phys­i­cal stress trig­gers can have sec­ondary con­se­quences to our ap­pear­ance and health.”

Aside from high-stress pe­ri­ods trig­ger­ing ev­ery­thing from dry­ness and ir­ri­ta­tion to even red­ness, ex­ces­sive cor­ti­sol has the power to ac­cel­er­ate the age­ing process of the skin, caus­ing dry­ness and de­hy­dra­tion, en­hanc­ing lines, wrin­kles, age spots, skin dullness, and in­ten­si­fy­ing crow’s feet, puffi­ness and dark cir­cles around the eyes.

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