Have you ever noticed how ‘well’ people look when they return from holiday or leave a stressful job? It is a fact that stress is very damaging for the body and can actually accelerate the ageing process. We asked Dr Tiina Orasmäe-Meder how does stress age the skin?
It is well known in the medical profession that stress is bad for the skin but all too often it is near impossible to eradicate stress from our everyday lives. When we are tired, or stressed, or just unhappy we might have our friends or family telling us that we don’t look well but how does stress age us? Physiologically the skin and the nervous system are ‘twins’ according to Dr Laurent Misery, the famous french neuroscientist.
All of our skin’s cells are spying and working for the nervous system and in actual fact the skin’s cells can be called ‘nervous cells’.Recent researches showed the amazing similarity between neurones and melanocytes, for example.
So, every time that we engage our nervous system, when you are angry, or sad, or unhappy, or just didn’t sleep well, this is transferred as a message to the skin. Unhappy ?Stop that as it damages capillaries and you get nice dark circles and deadly pale skin.Angry ?Stop that too as it causes inflammation and dilatation of blood vessel which will have you saying hello to puffiness and new red spider vein on your nose.
We have nailed it!
The best solution is not to be unhappy or angry, to sleep well, to meditate and to be a good person. Unfortunately this is also unrealistic. So how do we stop stress making us old? Well making the smallest of changes can make a big difference to how we age, try these:
DON’T DIET: Trying to lose weight is stressful, biologically and psychologically. Studies show that the more rigorous the diet, the shorter the vital telomeres protecting our DNA. If we eat on the run or while we feel stressed, the weight will go on to our midriffs (a fat belly is more indicative of future disease than a high overall BMI). It’s important that in times of stress, you eat healthily and regularly.
MEDITATE: Researchers have found that participants in a three-month yoga retreat had increased the level of telomerase in the bloodstream. Why? Yoga allows you to control your thoughts, not letting them spiral out of control. And if you feel more in control, you will be less stressed.
ENJOY YOUR EXERCISE: If you look at a person on the treadmill at the gym, her face is often contorted, the neck strained. If you don’t enjoy a workout, you will release stress hormones, which is counter- productive. But remember how you feel after a swim or walking the dog? Exercise should leave you feeling elated.
BE OPTIMISTIC: Research shows that pessimists have shorter telomeres than optimists. Of course, too much optimism can make us deluded, but we all tend to expect the worst much more frequently than we assume everything will be OK.
EAT THE RIGHT FOOD: Pistachios protect our DNA by lowering blood pressure. Studies have shown Omega 3s (found in oily fish) encourage our telomeres to grow. Cherry juice, almonds and mixed berry juice all act as anti-oxidants. And in a study, women who took multi-vitamins had longer telomeres than those who didn’t.
SLEEP MORE: Simple, but effective. Ooh, and have more sex. It’s good for the cells in the brain, apparently…
Forget expensive skin creams, facelifts, fillers and Botox (obviously not entirely….).
The most powerful tool in the battle against ageing is how we live our lives. Incidentally you can now increase the length of your DNA telomeres with a simple tablet, for more information or to ask Dr Tiina Meder and question email ASK@totallyaesthetic.com #behappy