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When stress becomes chronic, it has biological repercussions which impact on the skin, notably accelerating skin ageing: duller, thinner, less supple skin with the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots, sagging…
Stress and blood circulation
When you are under stress, the blood backs up in your vital organs to give them more energy and oxygen and to give you the means to react quickly to the situation which you have to face. On the other hand, because the skin is not a vital organ, it finds itself less well irrigated and ‘nourished’ by your blood cells. The skin then becomes dull and regenerates less easily.
The role of cortisol
When a stressful event arises, the body reacts immediately. The suprarenal glands start to produce cortisol, a hormone which leads to the release of sugars intended to meet the sudden needs of the body. But the production of cortisol in the long term also provokes skin inflammation which manifests itself in the appearance of spots, fine lines, wrinkles and by and finer and duller skin.
Further collateral damage caused by cortisol : the reduction in the quantity of collagen produced by fibroblasts. The skin therefore loses its suppleness and wrinkles set in more quickly.
Finally, it should be noted that cortisol inhibits the production of melatonin , the sleep hormone, which considerably reduces the capacity of the skin to regenerate.
Stress also causes an increase in free radicals which, when they are produced in too great quantities, attack the healthy skin cells and even destroy their membrane or alter their DNA. These deteriorate and quickly die, without being able to be renewed as quickly as they should. The skin sags, wrinkles and brown spots appear.
Stress and expressions wrinkles
If one can have some sort of affection for crow’s feet - these wrinkles which reveal that we have laughed a lot in our life - the same cannot be said for the ‘lion’ wrinkle or the transverse wrinkles of the forehead, the very visible marks of our worries. Stress provokes facial expressions, like frowning, which, when repeated often, marks the skin with wrinkles that we would have preferred avoiding.