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Stress & Aging: What’s the Connection?

Image of a young woman stressed out with a christmas tree in the background.

Most people are aware that when they’re stressed out, their skin can take on a dull, tired, and worn down appearance. It can cause reddened skin, acne, over active oil production, and even dark circles under the eyes. Stress not only affects our appearance, it can also wreak havoc on our overall health, doing all sorts of things from running down our immune system, causing us to be more susceptible to getting sick, & causing things as severe as cancer to form within our bodies. Today, Lionesse would like to talk about the correlation of stress and aging, and what science has learned from the study of the two combined.

What Studies Have Shown
Many medical studies have been done on stress and the aging process. All of the findings show that prolonged, chronic stress – that is, those who lead stressful or overly stressful lives, whether due to job related stressors, family related stressors, or other factors – is capable and very responsible for aging the cells within the body.

How Stress Affects the Body
When cells are not regenerating as they should, and are actually killed off by the stress, many different things take place within the body. Not only are you more susceptible to getting sick as your immune system is weakened, but your organs are also impacted as well and could even cease to function properly. This is a scary fact that everyone should be aware of. All of the tissues within the body will also fall short of their abilities, aging and deteriorating rapidly. Prolonged stress has prolonged effects. Essentially, long bouts of stress will ultimately lead to the destruction of the body – and could even lead to death.

How Stress Affects the Appearance
When skin cells are not receiving adequate oxygen or the ability to regenerate as rapidly as is necessary to maintain a healthy balance and prolong a youthful appearance, many different things begin taking place within the body. Skin appears more dull, fine lines and wrinkles begin to appear, age spots can appear, and other skin maladies can also occur, such as dryness, redness, rosacea, eczema, and dark circles under the eyes. Stress can affect hair growth, and can cause the hair to become dry and brittle. Graying hair can be seen in individuals who are under immense amounts of stress long before their time for graying has come. With all of these findings, it’s important to note that minimizing stress in whatever healthy way is possible is essential to maintaining or restoring a sense of youth.

Although stress can sometimes be unavoidable, it’s important to note that each of us processes different stress factors differently, and each of us have individual needs and methods that work in alleviating the stress factors within our lives. Whether it’s spending time applying makeup, exercise, a healthy diet, finding quiet time for ourselves throughout the day, a phone call with a friend, or a relaxing night with a book or movie, finding ways to cope with the things in our lives that cause undue stress and dispel them from our minds – even for a little while – is important to overcoming and making it through stressful situations.

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