Researchers are still working to understand the many ways in which stress affects our bodies. It’s generally believed that small amounts of stress can be beneficial, pushing us to improved performance levels. However, there’s a fine line between “healthy” stress and the dangerous levels that many modern adults experience due to their hectic and demanding lives.
We take on so much with the goal of having it all. We work, raise children, and try to keep up with the Joneses, but all the demands on our time can leave us anxious and worn out. This can lead to a number of detrimental outcomes. Stress is not only linked to anxiety, depression, irritability, and other mood disorders, but also physical symptoms like fatigue, headaches, indigestion, sleeplessness, and more.
Stress can have wide-ranging effects, even impacting the state of our skin. Persistent stress can cause damage at the cellular level, accelerating outward signs of aging and making you look old before your time. What can you do to fight this? First, you need to understand how stress affects the skin. From there, you can take steps to turn back the clock, rejuvenate your skin, and prevent further signs of aging.
Stress and Aging
There are two main ways in which high levels of stress affect the health of our skin: oxidative stress and chromosomal damage. Oxidative stress occurs when the way our bodies process oxygen is altered. Typically, oxygen helps to repair the cells in our body, but when we’re stressed, free radicals damage cells faster than they can be repaired. This state of oxidative stress can lead to premature aging.
The other correlation between stress and skin health centers on our chromosomes, or more specifically, the caps at the end of chromosomes, known as telomeres. As cells age, these caps naturally become shorter, but stress can accelerate the process, causing signs of aging.
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The good news is that understanding these changes in our bodies gives us the opportunity to make changes that slow the aging process. What can you do to reverse the process?
There are a couple of good ways to reduce the aging effects of stress on your body. First and foremost, you need to reduce the stress in your life. This is easier said than done, of course, but if you’re concerned about the side effects of stress, you need to take action.
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Eliminating stressors is step number one. If your job is demanding, try to set limits, or consider seeking other work opportunities. If the dozens of activities your kids are involved in are leaving you with little time to sleep, or take care of yourself, cut back on activities or reach out to other parents for help with carpooling. Take a yoga class, meditate, read a book, regulate your sleep schedule, speak with a counselor, or simply block out time for yourself to alleviate stress.
As for turning back the clock on aging, consider procedures designed to treat sagging and wrinkles, boost collagen, and generally rejuvenate your skin. With help from Dr. Beverly Fischer and the expert team at the Advanced Center for Plastic Surgery, you can reduce signs of aging and prevent further harm. It’s never too late to refresh your appearance. Contact Dr. Beverly Fischer today at 410-308-4700 or online to learn more.