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Stress and the skin...part one

Stress is a part of every-day life. Most people can relate to having a stressful situation occur daily (like running late for work and hitting every red light!) and although our world may no longer be a dangerous one, we do live in a stressful one. However, it is how we deal with our stress that impacts our lives (and skin) for better or worse.

This month, Dermalogica are previewing a brand new high performance product designed for high performers! With a preview in late March and launch in early April, this new product will be the first in a new “stress” category and will fit within the skin health sector of the brand.

Our lives have become time compressed with so much to accomplish and do and in this modern life, we are constantly moving forward, living life to the fullest. This fast paced life can be “stressful”. Many people believe that all this stress is bad, however, there is positive stress and negative stress.

Positive or good stress can be determined as a short or temporary response. It occurs when your level of stress acts as a motivator to get things done. Small amounts of stress helps our brain focus, increases memory recall, protects us from danger, raises alertness and has been labelled a “cognitive enhancer”. Some of your happiest times in your life were most likely stressful; like getting married, travelling for the first time, or being promoted in a new job.

Negative or bad stress occurs when a person feels they cannot handle distress which causes anxiety or concern that is outside coping abilities. This prolonged type of stress demotivates, causes over reactions to non-threatening encounters and wears the body down to become more susceptible to illness. An example of negative stress could be long term illness or injury.

We’ve all heard of the fight or flight response which is our bodies way to handle stress. When we are put in a stressful situation, our body is put on high alert by releasing hormones like Cortisol, one of our major stress hormones. Cortisol is released to increase energy to prepare your body to either deal with the threat or to run away from it.

The skin is one of the largest organs of the body and not immune to stress. How does stress affect the skin?

When Cortisol is increased through stress, inflammation is also triggered because it’s regulated by cortisol. Inflammation plays a key role in skin problems like eczema, psoriasis and rosacea. The key here is to reduce skin inflammation by avoiding triggers like stress and easing up on exfoliation. The use of anti-inflammatory ingredients like evening primrose oil, oats and chamomile act to heal and soothe the skin. Acne breakouts are common with stress as the adrenal glands hit overdrive which increase sebum and inflammation. To reduce the oil production, ingredients like niacinamide and yeast extract are excellent, while salicylic acid and lactic acid are used to help exfoliate and clear the follicle. To treat bacteria, tea tree is a good source, while  panthenol and oats help to reduce inflammation and are calming and soothing. Dermalogica’s Medibac range of products are perfect for acne breakouts as they are specifically targeted to control sebum, destroy bacteria and treat inflammation.

Redness can occur due to increased blood flow as a result of stress and the skin can feel dry due to its loss of ability to hold moisture. Dehydration from an impaired barrier makes you vulnerable to chemicals, allergens, pollutants, UV rays and skincare ingredients. If your skin is sensitised, then it’s important to help repair and reinforce the barrier layer of the skin. The Dermalogica Ultracalmingrange is formulated with the Ultracalming™ Complex, which contains active botanical extracts of oat kernel, ginger extract, chamomile and red hogweed to address the inflammation and reduce redness and irritation.

Cortisol triggers elevation in blood sugars which can lead to glycation, an internal chemical reaction within the body. Collagen and elastin are susceptible to this reaction, causing crosslinking and inflammation within the skin, the result is accelerated ageing. Ingredients that help to inhibit glycation include glucosamine, soy proteins and peptides. Antioxidants, like Vitamins A, C and E are also essential to prevent free radical damage. Stress can cause also dynamic lines from continued frowning and squinting. Target ageing with AGE Smart ® products which treat these age related skin changes. A favourite is MAP-15 Regenerator, a powder to emulsion treatment which delivers magnesium ascorbyl phosphate in high concentration, used where ageing is most prominent like frown lines!

With challenges thrown us at every day and in a world in which moves rapidly, it’s how we deal with stress that is key to our health and wellness. Dermalogica is taking the lead with next generation formulations by targeting positive stress within the skin…we can’t wait!

Stay tuned for the introduction of Dermalogica’s newest product...coming soon.

Yours in skin,

The Prodermal Team X

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