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STRESS. It’s a six-letter word that means something different to each of us. Stress is probably inescapable in that we will all feel its effects at one time or another. In fact, did you know that stress even impacts our skin? Becoming stress free in today’s world is probably impossible; it seems to have become a fundamental part of our lives. To slow down takes conscious effort and to prescribe one simple stress management tool for everyone is impossible. What I will say however is this: managing your stress is essential if you want to look younger and stay healthy.

I see stressed out clients all the time and many of them have serious issues with their skin. Although I am in the industry, I want to share with them that it wouldn’t matter if they purchased all the best skin care products in the world because without making a conscious effort to manage and maintain their emotional health, not one will make a lasting difference. That’s why today I want to share with you how chronic stress can affect your skin. I want to help bring “klarity” to the topic and more importantly, to help guide you with some tips and tools on how to manage both your stress levels and your skin care routine.

 When we are under constant stress it raises our cortisol levels and decreases the amounts of hyaluronic acid in our system. Cortisol is a hormone that is actually called the “Stress” hormone. It influences, regulates or modulates many of the changes that occur in the body in response to stress. Too much will be a problem (leading to things like excess oil production) as will too little. Hyaluronic acid is the skins natural moisturizer. It impairs lipid barriers, leading to water loss, then dry, dull, lifeless skin. If you consider that we lose 1% of collagen every year after the age of twenty – without the added stress trigger – you begin to see the necessity of both good skin care and the effective management of stress.

 Here are the most important things you need to remember about stress:

Excess cortisol can stimulate oil production and we all know what that means. Think back to those teen years when everything from exams to fitting in had you stressed out. Too much oil production leads to acne breakouts and clogged pores.

Cortisol can also trigger the elevation of blood sugar. In turn, this causes glycation and glycation damages your collagen and elastin. The end result of this stress trigger – fine lines and eventually wrinkles.

Cortisol also can result in a weakened immune system, making your skin less protected from the damaging effects of UV light. This in turn can result in pale skin, more prone to the damaging influences of the sun.

Stress also accelerates collagen loss as we just mentioned and the result of too much collagen loss is saggy, thin and unhealthy skin.

So, as you can see, stress wreaks havoc with our skin, potentially causing a lot of damage. Now, I may not be an expert when it comes to controlling stress, but I do know a thing or two about skin. Here is my perspective on what might help you to obtain clear, radiant skin while also managing your stress levels.

 How to manage stress to create skin that helps foster a younger, healthier looking you:

In order to reduce stress, strive to take charge of your thoughts and emotions rather than letting them take charge of you.

Be realistic about what you can or cannot change or control. If stress is being caused by something you cannot change or control, you need to make a conscious effort to stop trying.

Wherever possible, try to avoid stressful situations. If unavoidable, shorten your exposure in order to reduce the intensity of the experience.

Make lifestyle changes that you know you can commit to. Don’t try to take on too much all at once but make every effort to eat well, sleep for a specified time each night that’s realistic for you and

be sure to make some time for exercise. Even 20 minutes a day is well known for reducing stress in our lives.

Surround yourself with positive, happy people.

Consider writing a journal or do one of my favorite things, take a long walk in a park or on a local trail system. The benefits of the outdoors cannot be overstated!

Meditate. Even 5 minutes a day at the start or the end of your day can help your body and mind to de-stress.

Remember, the skin is the largest organ on your body and stress will cause wear and tear. Our body and our feelings are not separate from one another. Each will impact the other. So if you want to achieve greater “klarity” of skin and greater “klarity” in your life, you must make that conscious effort to slow down. Learn to navigate life with strength and ease and you just might find that radiant, glowing skin is the side effect!

Remember to take the time to take good care of yourself and everything else will surely follow. Have a beautiful day and for all your skin concerns, message me, klara@healthybeauty.ca

Klara - Brining "Klarity" to the science of understanding your skin!

Klara Zaeni is a Skin Care Professional with over 13 year experience researching, working with and understanding the science behind healthy skin. Cutting through jargon, Klara brings "klarity" to helping women over 40, offering sound advice that's based on scientifically proven medical products and expertize. Klara accepts no money from cosmetic companies, personally selecting only those products she is 100% confident in using. Choosing to empower and educate her clients, and as a woman over 40 herself, Klara is the "real deal" when it comes to understanding how to help you both look and feel great.

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