Can Stress Cause Wrinkles?
Let’s talk about stress. You have it, you feel it, but did you know you can see it? It’s a fact that a high-stress lifestyle makes you look up to 3.5 years older.* Aging isn’t the only stress side effect: stress-related skin conditions include everything from redness and extreme dryness to itching and breakouts.
Stress isn’t going anywhere, but there are ways to manage it. No one knows this better than Dr. Howard Murad, a pioneer in the study of the effects of stress on skin. We asked him to answer our big stress questions, like, how stress affects your face, and, “can stress cause wrinkles?” He also shares his renowned ‘inside-out’ holistic skincare approach that’s helped 50,000 of his dermatology patients stress less, be imperfect, live longer…and look better.
What happens to your body when you undergo stress?
“When undergoing stress, the body releases cortisol, a natural hormone that’s part of the fight or flight experience,” says Dr. Murad. “In small doses, cortisol helps the body manage stress. However, in our rapidly changing, always-on environment, cortisol is on a constant drip.” It’s this constant drip that leads to high levels of cortisol that effect every tissue in our bodies, including our skin.
Does stress cause wrinkles?
Yes, stress can result in collagen and elastin breakdown that can show as lines and wrinkles. But those aren’t the only stress-related skin concerns. Additional conditions include:
- Cell turnover becomes irregular, leading to dull-looking, tired-looking skin
- Skin’s barrier suffers and loses its ability to retain water, leading to dry and irritated skin
- Eye skin is thinner and blood vessels are more prominent, leading to under-eye circles
Is there such thing as a stress relief cream?
“There is now,” says Dr. Murad. “Intense Recovery Cream is our super-rich, super-soothing cream that can be used on the face and around the eyes to relieve visible symptoms of skin stress. Microalgae extract smooths the look of facial tension and stress lines, shea butter & macadamia oil deeply moisturize and comfort severely dehydrated skin, and mirabilis jalapa plant extract soothes irritation and visible redness. It delivers quick comfort, strengthens the barrier, calms irritation, and boosts skin’s resilience so skin can recover and come back stronger.”
How to manage stress for a happier life and healthier skin
While topical skincare with a stress relief cream can help soothe and relieve signs of skin stress, Dr. Murad always recommends an inside-out approach to healthier skin.
Beware of creating your own stress
Finding ways to de-stress (starting a yoga class when we’ve never done yoga, or finding time in an already packed schedule to start a hobby) can sometimes make us stress even more. Dr. Murad says the best way to alleviate stress is to find what works for you. For some it’s a cooking class, for others it’s a private walk with some soothing music. There’s no wrong way to de-stress as long as you’re doing what works for you.
Give yourself permission to be imperfect
The quest to be the fittest, the most successful, and the best at whatever we do can cause incredible levels of stress. “Trying to live up to standards of perfection only devalues or own gifts and accomplishments,” says Dr. Murad. “You don’t have to be perfect to be valued and loved.” Rather than measuring yourself against an imagined idea of perfection, reflect on what makes you special and what you bring to every situation that no one else does.
Take 5 for yourself
Skincare is selfcare: and developing a skincare ritual can be an essential part of your overall wellness routine. “Just take 5 minutes a day. One of my favorite forms of stress relief is with a facial,” says Dr. Murad. “It’s a form of selfcare one can give oneself. And, you can make it as much about skincare as it is emotional care by creating a relaxing environment.”
One of our fast and favorite de-stressing routines? Slip Revitalixir Recovery Serum™ into the fridge for 5 minutes, smooth the cool serum over your skin, then follow with a jade roller. Follow with Intense Recovery Cream to comfort, relieve, and encourage recovery of super stressed-out skin.