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Stress and Aging: Is Your Skin Paying the Price? (Plus What to Do About It)

Do you have a rigorous skincare regimen? Maybe you invest in high-quality products like cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and eye creams. And all of those are helpful—clean and hydrated skin is healthy skin, after all. But what about stress and aging skin? If you’re not managing your stress levels, you may be in need of organic skincare products.

Let’s face it: We live in stressful times. If we’re not navigating the politics and tragedies that seem to fill our news feeds all too frequently, we’re juggling the rest of our busy lives—work, family, friends, kids, home. It’s a lot. It’s a busy, stressful world, even for the happiest people.

And stress, whether we’re aware of it or not, takes its toll on our bodies, especially our faces. Not only can it make us irritable, tired, prone to binge eating, and lead to the overconsumption of alcohol, chronic sleep problems and increased risk of serious health issues, it can also make us look old. Or at least, older.

“When we’re under ongoing stress, it creates that fight-or-flight reaction in an unrelenting way, and as a result, stress chemicals are released into the body. What we know so far is that the release of those stress chemicals creates biological changes,” Dr. Vivian Diller, PhD, tells the Huffington Post. “It’s very possible that if you have a life filled with that constant stress, little by little the body is breaking down.”

According to Psychology Today, “the chemicals emitted when we experience continuous stress can lead our bodies to undergo internal changes, which can potentially promote the visible ones that we associate with aging.”

Of course, genetics, diet, and your skin (and hair) care routines play a part in how much or how little you will show the signs of stress. But we say, why risk it? Why not take steps to reduce your stress and keep your youthful glow as long as possible?

Need a little motivation to help you de-stress? Here are a few tips:

1. Exercise: It helps keep your body strong and healthy, and it’s a great outlet for reducing your stress levels. Take the steps at work, park furthest away from the supermarket entrance, and walk to work or errands when possible. Every bit helps.

2. Laugh: It is indeed the best medicine! Getting together with friends, spending time with kids or pets, or watching a funny show or movie can help keep your cortisol levels down.

3. Meditate: You don’t have to be a certified yoga or meditation instructor to tap into this free stress reducer. People who regularly meditate have also shown improved memory and other cognitive functions. Even 5 minutes a day can help.

4. Turn off your email: Or, rather, only check it at specific times throughout the day. If your inbox is open all day while you’re working, you’re more likely to respond to each one as they come in, rather than finishing your task at hand. And you know what? That’s actually stressful. Try checking them when you first get to your computer, again after lunch, and then again before the end of the day. And not all until the next morning.

5. Spend time in nature: For some of us, that’s easy as walking out our back door. But if that’s not the case, hit up a park or find a local trail and knock out some exercise too with a hike. Spending time with trees can boost mood and reduce stress levels. And the special time spent outdoors can be really quite inspiring.

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