The Great Skin Aggressors: Stress and Sleep Deprivation

The Great Skin Aggressors: Stress and Sleep Deprivation

In our recent post on “inflammaging” (accelerated aging caused by inflammation), we talked about the role of chronic stress and its harmful effects on our body and skin. Stress shows on your skin—this mind-body-skin connection became even more apparent during the pandemic, and long after it. 

Inflammation is a silent killer—one of the leading causes of disease—and it comes as no surprise that problematic skin, like most health conditions, is linked to poor health, including poor gut health.

If you ask any skincare lover what their worst fear is, the answer is pretty predictable: dryness, pimples, spots, wrinkles…the list goes on. We slather products on our faces in an attempt to come close to the gods, only to be met with the reality that our “mortal” skin has actually been aging since birth!

Dramatics aside, it is important to stay ahead of the inevitable and manage what we can. With the stress that comes with your 9 to 5, or the sleepless nights that accompany a student’s (or mom’s!) life, our skin gets vulnerable and easily weakened as we get older. 

Although a scary thought, the key to combating these challenges is by educating yourself on how to help your skin get friendly with Father Time, and defend against damage and premature aging.

Stress and your skin 

Inflammaging according to professionals at Dermamedics describe it to be “the slow but progressive aging process caused by chronic inflammation”, the result of a dysfunctional immune system.

“Your body’s innate immune system is a fairly non-specific, early warning defense system that recognizes foreign objects, or pathogens, like bacteria and viruses, and rapidly responds to rid the body of these invading organisms before they can cause serious harm. But as good as the innate immune response is, there is a danger inherent in this protective system. If this inflammatory process is not carefully controlled, runaway inflammation can occur that can seriously damage normal tissues, and that runaway inflammation is what causes inflammaging.” 

You may be wondering how this differs from any other skin condition that comes with age. Wrinkling inevitably makes its way on our foreheads and laugh lines crease beside our smiles. But inflammaging is much more detrimental than just that. 

It damages the skin on a foundational level–causing the aging process to progress at a much faster rate than normal. Due to its deteriorative nature, it causes the skin to have less protection against bacteria and viruses, lowering its immunity as a whole.


What causes inflammaging

Although research is still being conducted, professionals have marked it down to the simple concept of stress compounded by other factors. Apart from age-related, insufficient sleep, sensory overload, physical inactivity and most importantly, harsh chemicals, are only a few contributing factors to inflammaging. 

In short, if you are not taking care of yourself and looking at what you put in and on your body, the more vulnerable you are to it. 

What are some symptoms of inflammaging? 

The symptoms of inflammaging are silent killers—they stealthily make their way onto your skin and before you know it, your skin barrier is being attacked with redness, enlarged pores, volume loss, darker under eye circles and acne. The first signs of inflammaging are subtle and look like the everyday struggles of your skin; a pimple here, a little redness there. That is what makes it so hard to catch.

A good night’s sleep: the antidote to aging 

Beauty sleep is real and science-backed! The way to well-aging is through a good night’s rest. When your body gets the proper amount of sleep it needs, it has the ability to rebalance and reset. 

Chronic, oxidative stress leads to an inability to get enough sleep, and this sleep deficit will eventually come up to the surface. When our immune system is compromised by lack of sleep, skin immunity is naturally affected. 

With a weakened skin barrier which serves as skin’s first line of defense, it will manifest itself as skin symptoms and conditions: dryness, redness, acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea are just a few examples. 

Unless you address stress that causes sleep debt and deprivation, your body can never truly restore itself. 

It is important to keep in mind that at its core, inflammaging is the result of an overwhelmed immune system. And unfortunately, an unhealthy interior always bleeds into the exterior.The real key to protecting your skin is to naturally nurture your body. The more chemicals, the more stress, the greater the risk of inflammaging. 

Best practices

The best way to prevent this condition is to minimize its triggers. Stick to good habits, and have good skincare sense. By doing so you simultaneously improve your skin health by fortifying your skin barrier.  

Like your gut, look for ingredients that aid in balancing your skin’s microbiome and in turn, enhances the skin’s immunity. Protect your collagen and elastin at all costs. Both of these proteins play an essential role in keeping your skin plump and healthy. Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid and Niacinamide are ingredients especially helpful in keeping and boosting your skin, keeping it firm and smooth. 

Set yourself up for better sleep. Some helpful tips from sleep doctor and author of Beauty Sleep: Look Younger, Lose Weight and Feel Great, Dr. Michael Breus, include consistency, self-regulating, sleeping only when sleepy, avoiding naps, and paying close attention to your sleep environment. 

Want to learn more and be a step ahead of inflammaging? Join our Skin & Soul workshop, “Well Aging through Deep Sleep” Experience how to sleep your way to better skin and health! Learn habits that set yourself up for recovery sleep, and discover hardworking, multi-tasking, microbiome-friendly products in your armory. Be well on your way to aging gracefully. 

Email us to reserve your slot!

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