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How stress affects the skin and can cosmetics help?
elena lezhneva
How stress affects the skin and can cosmetics help?

Have you ever heard about "skin immunity"? It's a complex system that maintains a certain balance of acidity, skin oiliness and microbiome - a community of good bacteria. For example, when your skin is threatened by infections or fungus, the body sends out lymphocytes, macrophages and other components of the immune system to eliminate the bad guys.

Cortisol is one of the hormones that's released during stress. With chronic stress, it suppresses the synthesis of cytokines-peptides, essential for the correct work of inflammatory reactions. This is very important because without inflammation the body doesn't resist the enemies - and this opens the gate to infections.

Of course, scientists have been always trying to understand why there is such an obvious "bug" in our immunity system: the main barrier organ (skin) turns out to be disadvantaged in the face of danger, although it should be protecting us. Why is this happening? There is still no definite answer to this question.

Stress contributes to inflammatory, allergic, infectious diseases of the skin, causes hair loss and slows healing of wounds. For example, in 40% of cases, it precedes the first appearance of psoriasis. Atopic dermatitis appears due to stress in 70% of cases.

Acute stress often leads to the worsening of allergic dermatitis and small itchy rash and sometimes even provokes its relapse.

Why is this happening?

Skin and melanocytes (skin cells responsible for the production of melanin pigment) and the nervous system develop from ectoderm, and the bond between them is very tight. Therefore, the skin reacts to any changes in the environment and, of course, to stress. It has receptors that are sensitive to all the hormones that are involved in stress.

As a result, the skin becomes more oily, inflammations and wounds appear easier, heal more slowly and worse than usual. Acne eruptions appear and skin diseases such as allergies and dermatitis worsen. Because of the increased testosterone, hair can begin to fall out on the head, and on the contrary, grows more on the body and face.

The connection between the skin and the nervous system is so strong and complex that there is even a special direction of psychodermatology, which considers both the influence of the psyche on the skin and vice versa.

What cosmetics to use if you have stress?

Water naturally evaporates from the surface of the skin, which is absolutely normal. This is called transepidermal water loss (TEPV). But if this loss is too much (this happens with chronic stress), the skin is threatened with irritation and dryness because water is needed to maintain barrier functions. 

It is worth choosing the products containing components with the natural moisturizing factors. Simply put, substances that retain water in the skin. For example, emollients (fats and fatty substances) create a film that delays the evaporation of water. These are some natural oils, silicones, mineral oil. There are also emollients that hold moisture; for example, lactic and hyaluronic acid. They have occlusive (blocking) action. In cosmetic products, they usually use both moisturizing and occlusive emollients. 

Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence Intensive Moist

Lysates(the products of bacterial digestion - prebiotics and probiotics) reduce the inflammation on the sensitive skin. This is a relatively new and very popular direction of cosmetology. There are now formulas-synbiotics combining pro and prebiotics for complex action. 

Of course, the skin must be always protected with sunscreen (select mineral filters for the sensitive skin). Sometimes it's necessary to add the products with antioxidants, especially during active sun exposure in summer or on vacation and during the stress period. 

Eleven Huesday PHA Refining V.Ceramide

By the way, cosmetic procedures are also the stress for the skin, but controlled stress. They are used in our interests: by damaging the skin, cosmetologists start the renewal processes. As a result, the complexion improves, the relief is leveled, and elasticity is improved. But when you have a high level of stress, don't perform aggressive medical and cosmetic procedures. They can result in scarring, inflammation, pigmentation, because the protective forces of the skin are already weakened and the extra load increases the likelihood that something will go wrong. 

What else can you do?

  • Avoid badly ventilated places and try to spend more time outside;
  • Use effective moisturizing and nourishing skin care products;
  • Stay away from tobacco smoke, alcohol;
  • Use ionizers, purifiers, and humidifiers in your office;
  • Drink enough water;
  • Eat healthy food without preservatives, dyes, taste enhancers and other artificial food additives, with a predominance of fresh fruit and greens in the diet;
  • Use environmentally friendly household chemicals.

- Korean Kiwi Beauty 

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