How stress is aging your skin and why you need to know about adaptogens.
If you have ever had the hunch that your skin seems to breakout or its condition worsens during periods of stress, here's why you're definitely onto something, why we wholeheartedly believe in our Mindful Of Beauty campaign, and then an introduction to how adaptogenic herbs offer another natural and holistic solution to reducing stress and boosting overall wellbeing.
Perhaps you're wondering, what does stress actually have to do with my skin though?
So first of all, here are just a few of the many ways stress has both a direct and indirect effect on the health and appearance of your skin.
- The stress hormone cortisol makes skin more sensitive and reactive to allergens, environmental pollutants or problematic ingredients in your skin care.
- Chronic inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea are known to be exacerbated by raised stress hormones.
- Stress drives the ageing process. Cortisol breaks down tissues such as collagen and the matrix of connective tissues that support the structure of our skin.
- Cortisol can make skin both dry and oily, by decreasing the production of hyaluronic acid which holds moister in the skin, and by increasing production of sebum which can block pours and lead to spots.
- When we're under stress we tend to feel both hurried and preoccupied, and so the ways in which we usually take care of ourselves become more of a challenge, or are neglected altogether, such as a nutritious diet, good quality sleep and nurturing body and skin care rituals.
We can't avoid stress, but before you stress about being stressed, rest assured there are ways you can support your body to respond and adapt in a healthy way and lessen it's impact.
Our mantra at Wild Source is Rituals Not Routines. The ethos behind our Mindful of Beauty Campaign centres around helping you to reduce stress and tension through developing a mindful approach to skincare.
We invite you to use this part of your day to slow down, breath deeply, bring your awareness to your body and pay loving attention to yourself for even just a few moments.
This kind of simple mindfulness practice has been shown to reduce stress levels, supporting mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Check out our campaign here to read more about exactly how you can bring mindful and intentional skin care rituals into your day.
Because we advocate holistic wellness, I want to share with you a wonderfully effective complement to mindfulness for lowering stress levels, which is the use of adaptogenic herbs.
Adaptogens are a group of well trusted yet very powerful plants used for centuries in traditional medicine, they work by regulating the bodies natural stress responses, improving mood, increasing energy levels and boosting the vitality of our whole body, including our skin! These herbs protect all body systems from the impact of stress by reducing the level of circulating stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
Here are just a handful of my favourites.
Stabilising cortisol levels, this increasingly popular ayurvedic root prevents stress related weight gain and gastric ulcers, studies have shown improved quality of life through taking ashwagandha due to improved resistance to stress.
With potent anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory ability, Gotu Kola is fast becoming a favourite among skin experts due to it's reported tightening effects, ability to speed wound healing and reduce the appearance of scars and wrinkles. Gotu Kola reduces stress and anxiety by lowering stress hormones and increasing serotonin and dopamine which help us to feel happy and relaxed.
Rhodiola is very effective for reducing levels of stress hormones, boosting energy levels and improving mood and concentration, it's also been shown to reduce fatigue and burn out.
Also known as Holy Basil, Tulsi has an uplifting effect on mood, it reduces circulating stress hormones, improves brain function and clarity of mind. It prevents sores and ulcers caused by stress. Due to it's anti-microbial action tulsi has a long tradition in ayevedic medicine of being used to treat skin infections.
Another potent antioxidant helping to reduce oxidative stress and free radical damage which ages skin. Moringa is classed as a superfood being packed with micronutrients especially vitamins A and C and minerals Iron and magnesium.
In addition to taking internally, adatogenic herbs can be used topically to sooth and nourish stressed skin so we are incredibly exctied to be launching Green Earth, our adaptogenic, clarifying face mask this summer!