As the largest organ of the body and protective barrier from our environment, skin is our initial reflection of our health and vitality. Skin ageing is an internal and external process which is influenced by many factors, including genetics, hormones and metabolic changes, nutrient deficiencies, stress, lifestyle. Today, there is substantial evidence linking these toxicities or“stressors" that may play a central role in initiating an early ageing process of our skin.
In stress most common is an oxidative stress which is a major form of assault on the skin and our bodies. We are exposed to oxidative stressors daily through diet, our environment, by-products of metabolism, and lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol and UV irradiation. Oxidative stress stimulates the production of unstable molecules known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) or free-radicals which are responsible for cellular damage, particularly targeting cells that are rich in unsaturated fatty acids (the cell membrane) and sensitive to oxidation reactions. The onset of accelerated ageing may occur when the body is chronically exposed to this type of stress and overwhelms our defence systems.Hence, it may denature proteins, alter cell cycles and influence the release of pro-inflammatory mediators (i.e: cytokines) that may trigger the induction of some inflammatory skin diseases. UV irradiation is a major source of oxidative stress on the skin. In addition to producing free radicals, UV irradiation negatively impacts the skin’s antioxidant defence enzymes leaving it further vulnerable to permanent cellular damage (accelerated skin ageing.) The concept of systemic photo-protection by dietary means is gaining momentum worldwide as the skin is continuously exposed to UV irradiation and in the absence of topically applied SPF’s sometimes or for some of the body parts then, the skin is dependent solely upon the endogenous antioxidant defence systems. There is a growing body of research proving specific micronutrients and antioxidants may potentially mitigate and destroy free radical activity produced by UV irradiation also.
Nutrition and Skin Ageing
Nutrition is the foundation toward optimal health. Antioxidants help us to up-regulate and maintain a healthy defence system to ward off stressors (such as free radicals) that accelerate the ageing process. Antioxidants found in the diet, particularly in beans, deep-coloured fruits and vegetables, green tea, garlic, and herbs such as turmeric, cinnamon or rosemary work synergistically to support immune defences against oxidative stress. Being slow or fast acting, antioxidants through diet must be obtained on a daily basis as they are quenched quickly and absorbed by the potentially damaging free radical molecules.
Although we aim to achieve all nutrients through diet like strawberries, prunes, plum, broccoli, cherries, tomatoes, fish liver oil, garlic the inconvenient truth is we are often challenged with this on a daily basis. To complement diet, antioxidants in functional foods, beverages or supplementation are becoming a critical component in professional beauty and anti-ageing programs.Coined and myself being a believer of "beauty from within", nutricosmetics offer formulations that target oxidative stress to help protect the skin internally from damaging free radical activity. Combined with topical treatments, supplemental nutricosmetics help to bridge the gap in nutrient deficiencies to ensure the body can best defend itself from oxidative stressors.
Specifically, Nutricosmetics work to:
- Increase ROS scavenging activity
- Reduce inflammation
- Stimulate immunity
- Inhibit hyper-pigmentation associated with UVR exposure (through tyrosinase inhibition—an enzyme that stimulates melanin production)
Stress and hair
Women dream of lovely long tresses and men live in mortal fear of baldness. Shed hair entangled in the hairbrush is a sight that most of us dread but face at least one time in life very deeply about. While in some cases hair loss has a genetic basis, often the causes are treatable and relate to stress. Why does stress lead to hair loss?
Reducing hair loss
If you feel that stress is the causing of your hair loss, you need to cut it out of your life. The most important thing, of course, is to first identify the cause of the stress. Cutting down on your workload and practising simple relaxation techniques can help. Yoga, meditation, listening to music, or just some “me” time may help you overcome work-related stress.
While some stress can be a good motivator to get things done, too much stress can be a huge problem for your body both inside and out so learn to unwind for the love of your tresses!
Easy tips for coping with stress.
- Breathe and Visualize- When you're feeling stressed take a few minutes to stop everything and breathe. The objective is to inhale calmness and exhale stress and tension. When doing the breathing technique you should be taking deep breathes so you'll inhale for eight counts and exhale for eight counts.
- Once your body is good and relaxed, close your eyes and take yourself to a happy place in your mind. Think of a place that makes you feel calm. Perhaps it's the beach, on top of a mountain, or in the midst of a beautiful colourful garden. Wherever you need to go to feel better is totally up to you. Open your eyes slowly, but don't allow your mind to go back to that stressful place. Try to stay in the moment and if you need to visit that place again, then feel free to go as often as you need.
- Get some rest- Lack of sleep can make you more vulnerable to stress. Situations that you would normally be able to handle could become a stressor when you're sleep deprived. Being well-rested allows you to stay emotionally balanced.
- Laugh- When you're feeling stressed, laughing is probably the last thing on your mind.However, laughing causes a positive more pleasurable change in your body's chemistry. This is going to take a little effort on your part. You'll need to watch a funny movie or television show, or go visit a friend that always has a way of making you laugh. When feeling stressed, laughter may be the medicine you need to feel better I believe in as a Doctor.
- Music- Music can have a calming effect on our body. You'll probably hear a soft tune playing in the background. This is to create a more pleasant and calming environment.
- Organization- A lot of times stress is self-induced because of poor organizational skills.When that important phone number or email comes up missing, then your natural reaction is to stress. Being organized will help to alleviate a lot of stress that you could experience during the day.
- Leave Early- Road rage is an extreme form of stress.
When it comes to stress it's all about taking charge. Take charge of your emotions, take charge of your time, and take charge of your problems. Learning to take charge will do wonders for your health and for your skin.