Fourth Quarter 2010, Volume 24, Number 1

Reducing the impact of stress on your skin


Reducing the impact of stress on your skin

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Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

Medical advances benefit the consumer

We all experience stress. Sometimes your body is in the midst of a flight or fight response, while other times it is a constant feeling of uneasiness. This prolonged or chronic stress is the most damaging to your skin.

Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones and tensing various muscles. These can cause acne flair ups and may speed the aging process. While you cannot eliminate all stress, you can work on how you respond to stress.

Check out the following positive steps to manage your stress effectively to help minimize the impact on your appearance.

Check your attitude. People who “go with the flow” and are resilient can manage stress better.

Be flexible. Sometimes, it is not worth the stress to argue. Give in once in awhile or meet people half way.

Squint or furrow less. Are you aware of how often you furrow your brow or squint your eyes? These repeated muscle contractions can cause premature wrinkles. Temper these reactions and adapt new habits to reduce the muscle tension. Botox is also an effective way to reduce unwanted muscle contractions that lead to creases and wrinkles.

♦ Get organized. Write a to-do list and prioritize your items.

Set limits. Don’t be afraid to say no to requests for your time and energy. There are only so many hours in the day. Set limits for yourself and others.

Become a problem solver. Make a list of things that cause you stress. Figure out which problems you can solve now and which are beyond your control or the moment. Start by solving the little ones. Learn how to calmly look at a problem, think of possible solutions, and take action to solve the problem. The confidence that you build by solving the little problems will help you tackle the big ones—and this will go a long way to helping you feel less stressed.

Take deep breaths. Slow down and take a few deep breaths; this will help your muscles relax.

Stretch. Stretching can also help relax your muscles and make you feel less tense.

Get enough sleep. This helps you recover from the stresses of the day; most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night to feel rested.

Eat right. Fuel your body with fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

Get moving. Getting physical activity help relax your tense muscles and improve your mood.

Share your stress. Talk with friends or family members about your problems. Not only can it help you feel better, but also they may provide a different perspective on the issue and new, possible solutions.