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A curious thing happens when we are stressed or tired. Our face seems to visibly deflate or fall. Why is this? As if feeling tired and stressed isn’t enough, now our face has to announce it to the world? It truly never fail us, our skin will always telegraph what is going on in our world – whether it is extrinsic or intrinsic. For this particular “phenomena” which many of my clients have asked about and noted in themselves I wanted to dig deeper to understand what exactly(!) is happening.

My first thought is dehydration. Surely many of us forget to hydrate or are so preoccupied when stressed and tired that we forget to hydrate properly. I did this just the other day! Dehydration results in our cells looking dull and dry. And without juicy, plump cells our skin will definitely lack bounce and vigor. But I knew there had to be more to this than just dehydration. The following explains what exactly is happening when stress makes a visit to our face. I have highlighted and underlined the points I think are most important.

Skin and its appendages translate our environment and can induce various immune and inflammation responses. Stress from lifestyle, circumstances or even from aggressive treatments can cause detrimental physiological and functional consequences in the skin. Stress has been shown to induce higher trans-epidermal water loss (loss of water through skin), lower water retention, decreased circulation to skin (stagnation) and impaired barrier function, “leading to moderate exfoliation and slight wrinkle formation.”

Not surprisingly, poor quality sleep also negatively affects skin aging. Studies found that poor quality sleep showed an increase in intrinsic skin aging including fine lines, uneven pigmentation and reduced elasticity.

Another compounding factor is gravity. Gravity is slowly but surely dragging us down (sorry for the pun). The following explanation came to me fortuitously and completes the puzzle.

“Every 7 weeks your body is completely new.” Our cells go through a continual process of death and rebirth. So why do we age if we are continually being renewed? The space between the cells changes, as gravity takes its toll on the human body. As space diminishes and cells deflate, the new versions of cells reflect the last shift.” When you experience an intense response (stress) and your body goes into a freeze state, it can dramatically shift the body as the cells crash and compress with exhaustion. This is why sometimes, after trauma for example, it can appear a person has aged years, seemingly overnight. This can be a physical trauma, but equally destructive are the emotional and mental traumas, as it comes down to how the breath responds to the impact of the energy received.”

I love that explanation. This is why regular fascia release, Manual Lymphatic treatments, exercise, and breathe work are so important to our overall well being. All of these can help to mitigate the affects of stress. In the treatment room Manual Lymphatic treatments, Fascia Release, LED Light therapy and microcurrent are wonderful for targeting signs of stress. And not to be forgotten, there is nothing like a skilled facial massage to re-invigorate skin, circulation and the soul.

I hope this helpful! I found it very interesting myself. If you have any question please send them my way. Your questions make me a better more informed esthetician.

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