Stress and skin

As the largest organ of the body and protective barrier from our environment, skin is our initial reflection of our health and vitality. Skin ageing is an internal and external process which is influenced by many factors, including genetics, hormones and metabolic changes, nutrient deficiencies, stress, lifestyle. Today, there is substantial evidence linking these toxicities or “stressors” that may play a central role in initiating an early ageing process of our skin.
In stress most common is an oxidative stress which is a major form of assault on the skin and our bodies. We are exposed to oxidative stressors daily through diet, our environment, by products of metabolism, and lifestyle factors such as smoking, alcohol and UV irradiation. Oxidative stress stimulates the production of unstable molecules known as reactive oxygen species (ROS) or free-radicals which are responsible for cellular damage, particularly targeting cells that are rich in unsaturated fatty acids (the cell membrane) and sensitive to oxidation reactions. The onset of accelerated ageing may occur when the body is chronically exposed to this type of stress and overwhelms our defense systems. Hence, it may denature proteins, alter cell cycles and influence the release of pro-inflammatory mediators (i.e: cytokines) that may trigger the induction of some inflammatory skin diseases. UV irradiation is a major source of oxidative stress on the skin. In addition to producing free radicals, UV irradiation negatively impacts the skin’s antioxidant defense enzymes leaving it further vulnerable to permanent cellular damage (accelerated skin ageing.) The concept of systemic photo-protection by dietary means is gaining momentum world wide as the skin is continuously exposed to UV irradiation and in the absence of topically applied SPF’s sometimes or for some of the body part’s then, the skin is dependent solely upon the endogenous antioxidant defense systems. There is a growing body of research proving specific micronutrients and antioxidants may potentially mitigate and destroy free radical activity produced by UV irradiation also.
Dr Deepali Bhardwaj MD(USA.IM), DVDL,M.Phil (Cosmetology), Allergy Fellowship Munich, Germany; Cosmetic surgeries, Iran. Honorary Dermatologist at President Estate Clinic in Rashtrapati Bhawan.
Clinic: D305 first floor, Defence Colony, New