Young women and men today are showing harsh signs of skin stress
Long hours of work, night shifts, unhindered stress, loss of sleep are conditions in which many youngsters work today. While unregulated and tiring working hours have a negative effect on the body’s health, stressful work schedules also cause problems for the skin.
A large section of our young workforce today works in highly stressful fields involving late nights in media, creative agencies, BPOs and KPOs that cater to audiences in other time zones. In addition, there is the continuous stress of impending deadlines, multiple responsibilities and the other stress factos of urban life. Put together these issues have a devastating effect on the health of the skin.
Stress and Skin: While limited stress in general is not such a bad thing as it
offers a healthy push towards better management. However, chronic stress is very harmful to the body and skin. The hormone cortisol that is released in chronic stress affects the skin in several ways. It triggers a rise in blood sugar levels – an action that damages the skin’s collagen and elastin, causing premature ageing. It also interferes with the skin’s ability to retain water, thereby increasing dryness and wrinkling. If you are permanently stressed out, you will see the stress showing on your face in a wrinkled forehead and tightened muscles. Over the long term, this may lead to permanent wrinkles. Stress also triggers acne breakouts and may even cause rosacea.
Sleep and Skin: Sleep is very good for skin, a fact congealed by the oft-repeated phrase ‘beauty sleep’. As we sleep, our skin goes into repair mode. It works on repairing the damage caused to the cells during the day due to various reasons like sun exposure, free radicals or environmental onslaught. Long hours of work and night shifts often deprive the body of much needed rest. But it also deprives the skin of its much needed repair time. You must have noticed how even two days of sleep deprivation can result in dark circles and tired looking skin.
Unhealthy Eating and Skin: When you are working in highly stressful and maddeningly hectic work schedules your diet will be one of the major casualties. With little time to think about healthy eating, you are bound to gulp easily available fast food that is high on oil, calorie and salt, and low on fibre. You are also likely to drink several cups of coffees or smoking away a chain of cigarettes every day to relax your stressed out nerves. All these poor eating and drinking habits will have a negative outcome on your skin increasing the likelihood of acne, skin dryness and wrinkles.
What to Do?
This brings us to the next logical question as to what to do to counter the ill-effect of stress and long working hours on skin. While we cannot do away with our professions, we can certainly adopt some good practices to minimize, even eliminate the ill effects:
Manage Stress: Adopt practices that will help you lower your stress levels. Delegate half an hour daily to yourself at the end of your day, no matter how late it is. Exercise thoroughly or walk freely in an open space, perform yoga and meditation. Such practices help your mind release stress and relax itself.
Visit a Dermatologist: If your skin is showing signs of stress, you should visit a skin expert immediately to seek help. You might be needing medical intervention or just some quick skin treatments to fight the stress. Procedures like nourishing medi-facials, hydrating hydra facials, peels, laser rejuvenation, Botox and fillers etc can help limit the effects of stress. You may be needing some cosmetic help to treat your dark circles and breakouts. At the same time, the doctor may recommend supplemets of vitamin s and anti-oxidants to you to help fight free radical damage.
Get Your Sleep: Do not compromise with sleep. If you have limited hours off work, then cut on other activities like watching TV or spending time on the social network get as much sleep wherever as possible. If you have time on a two-hour road or air journey, doze off; do not mind catching sleep in office if you find half an hour of free time.
By: Dr. Chiranjiv Chhabra, Dermatologist, Skin Alive Clinics, Delhi & NCR