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Stress is a feeling that we all face throughout many different periods of life. Medically, it causes tension in the body from either a mental, physical, or emotional factor. Although stress is something most of us do not want to face often, it’s a natural reaction from your body that will happen from time to time. Ultimately, stress can play a factor in the aging process, which is why it’s essential to understand the correlation between the two. 

Does Stress Make You Age Faster?

Scientifically, stress affects the cells in your body called the telomeres (ends of your chromosomes), which contain the genes. Over time, chronic stress can affect the telomeres by making them shorter until they eventually die. Those with shorter or fewer telomeres are more inclined to developing a disease.

Stress Affecting Your Skin

Fight-or-flight is a response to stress in the body that can cause adverse effects to your health, such as your skin. The shortening of telomeres from stress is believed to play a role in the thinning of your skin in the dermis layer. This is the middle layer of skin that is home to connective tissue (supporting all types of tissue in the body) that contains elastin fibers and collagen. The thinner this tissue becomes, the quicker your skin begins to age with wrinkles or become less firm.

Oxidative stress can also contribute to aging. Oxidative stress is when your body’s reaction causes an imbalance in the oxygen reactive species (ROS), generating free radicals. Free radicals are atoms that can cause cell damage and aging. 

Common Signs Stress is Leading to Aging

Wrinkles – As mentioned previously, cell and tissue damage can occur due to stress. This can make you more prone to wrinkles at an earlier age. Stress can also cause tenseness in your facial muscles (forehead in particular), leading to more noticeable wrinkles.  

Gray Hairs – It’s normal to start to see gray hairs at any age, depending on your genetics, but it is most common in your late 30’s or early 40’s. Gray hair at an earlier age can be a sign your body is experiencing unhealthy levels of stress. 

Skin Rashes – Stress can weaken your immune system. A common sign of your body’s reaction to this can be a sudden or mysterious skin rash appearing. Consider this type of reaction if you have been experiencing high levels of stress.

Sleeping Poorly – Stress often prevents those dealing with it from getting the proper amount of sleep. Sleep is essential to your health, and without it, continuous fatigue can play a huge role in aging. 

If you believe you are experiencing unhealthy levels of stress or if stress is significantly affecting your body in any way, it’s important to talk to a health expert on ways you can lower these levels. There are many ways to deal with stress and work towards improving your health to fight premature aging. 

For related questions, contact a Starks professional today!


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