Fall, for many of us, can be described in a single word: stressful. And stress, especially when it spikes, then remains sustained, can take its toll on the skin. Here’s what you need to know about how the holiday season can lead to sagging, stressed skin.
What stress does to your skin
When you’re stressed, your body copes by producing extra cortisol, which triggers an inflammatory response. That’s fine, for a while. But inflammation that continues for weeks or months becomes chronic—and that’s bad news for the skin. Why? Well, if your skin cells are constantly grappling with inflammation, that means they don’t have the time or energy they need to do the other things that are necessary for good skin health, such as building and maintaining collagen and elastin. And without sufficient collagen and elastin, skin loses its structure and elasticity…and starts to sag.
How to minimize the impact of stress on your skin
So yes, holiday stress can be bad for your skin…if you let it. Here are ways to mitigate the damage, and keep your skin looking healthy and youthful.
Eat to reduce inflammation.
Eating anti-inflammatory foods can help counteract the impact of stress by tempering the inflammatory response in the body. What constitutes an anti-inflammatory diet? A lot! Olive oil; fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines and mackerel; fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, oranges and cherries; nuts such as almonds and walnuts; and leafy greens such as spinach, kale and collards all help dial down inflammation and enable your cells to get back to the important work of creating collagen and maintaining elastin.
Up your antioxidant intake
Antioxidants (e.g. vitamins C, E, A; resveratrol; glutathione; CoQ10) combat the free radicals that cause or exacerbate inflammation. And while there is currently no recommended daily allowance of antioxidants, most experts say a smart strategy is to eat an abundance of fruits and vegetable (five or more servings a day) in a spectrum of vibrant colors (red, blue, green, yellow, orange) to ensure you get a variety of these skin-protecting nutrients. In addition to fresh produce, you can also find potent antioxidants in nuts, fish, red wine, and flaxseed, as well as in a variety of supplements. Finally, applying an antioxidant topically can help fight collagen-damaging free radicals. All of Neolastin’s skincare formulas contain polyphenol molecules, antioxidants that scavenge for free radicals, trap them and prevent them from invading skin cells and causing damage.
Consider a collagen supplement
After the age of 30, we start to lose up to two percent of our collagen every year. Add to that the collagen-degrading impact of stress, and it may make sense to think about augmenting the collagen you currently have in your skin with a daily oral dose of collagen-enriched powder, capsules or gummies.
According to researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, regular exercise (30 to 45 minutes of moderate cardio three or more times a week) has been shown to encourage the production of a protein called IL-15, which helps to boost collagen production. Also, anything that elevates your heart rate boosts your immune system—and that reduces inflammation too.
Apply products that boost collagen and elastin in the skin