Did you know that psychological stress directly affects skin ageing? This is a subject I spoke about recently at the Global Dermatology summit in Edinburgh, (see the video clip on the left).`
A recent study showed that more than a third of us feel stressed for one full day a week, and women are more likely to suffer. This can lead to sleeping problems, poor diet, anxiety and low esteem. Psychological stress not only affects how we feel but also impacts skin’s ageing process by causing inflammation which can accelerate wrinkle formation, hyper pigmentation and loss of elasticity. This inflammation happens as a direct result of raised cortisol - our body's stress hormone - which halts activities such as lipid production and rejuvenation in skin cells, and makes us more reactive to sunlight. In some cases a stress rash similar to hives may occur.
We can't see stress and how we deal with it is genetically predetermined, so I use a holistic consultation with each client to assess lifestyle and health to help identify any key stressors, not only to give me the information I need to create bespoke aesthetic and dermatology treatment plans, but also to maintain patient safety as certain aesthetic treatments can be more risky when carried out on those with raised stress hormone levels. So how can you make sure you’re protecting your skin against stress-induce ageing? A tailored skincare plan is key, alongside lifestyle and dietary changes - reducing, caffeine, alcohol, sugar and dairy intake in some cases. Lifestyle changes take a lot of commitment, there is no quick fix for stress and burnout, but there is evidence that better nourished skin leads to better and prolonged aesthetic injectable results.
And how can I help my clients to feel more relaxed when visiting my clinic? One study showed that burning lavender oil is proven to hep reduce stress caused by having Botulinum toxin injections into the frown lines, (yes really!) so I always have this in my clinic locations, and I often give out some lavender-scented Emma Coleman Healing Night Balm to clients to use post-procedure, as this helps speed up the healing process.