How Stress Affects Skin and Hair Blog graphic

How Stress Affects Skin and Hair

There’s no doubt that stress has been a part of our existence over the past few years. A global pandemic, among other things, have challenged everyone to cope in different ways. In this blog post, we’ll be addressing how stress affects skin and hair, and what you can do to deal with these challenges.

How Stress Affects Skin

How does stress affect your skin? When we are stressed, our bodies undergo many changes that impact our skin. Psychodermatology studies the effects of our emotional states on our skin. Hormones like cortisol and adrenaline activate our “flight or fight” response. This can cause an increase in oil production, leading to increased acne. Excessive sweating, and decreased blood flow to the skin can provide the ideal environment for fungal infections and other skin conditions. Stress has been shown to trigger outbreaks of eczema and psoriasis.

Rosacea is another common skin condition that causes facial flushing and occasional blemishes. Its etiology is not really known, but there are many triggers that can bring on a rosacea flare-up, like alcohol, excessive heat or cold, or stressful situations. It also tends to run in families.

How Stress Affects Hair

How does stress affect our hair? While the hair shaft itself is not alive, it is attached to hair follicles, which are impacted by environmental and psychological stressors. Ever notice how our U.S. Presidents appear to turn gray almost overnight? Many have attributed this to the responsibilities inherent in their office. One Columbia University study demonstrated that, when stress was reduced, gray hair reverted back to its original color. Lifestyle factors like extreme dieting, malnutrition and sleep deprivation can also impact hair production and quality. Dehydration can affect both skin and hair, leaving it brittle and dull.

Improving Skin and Hair by Reducing Stress

While some sources of stress are beyond our control, we can find ways to mitigate the negative effects of stress on our bodies. This can help to improve skin and hair, as well as our overall health and wellbeing. Here are a few ideas;

  • Practice mindfulness – whether it’s journaling, yoga, or TM, it’s important to connect with your inner superpower to get through the challenging periods of your life.
  • Connect with your “Tribe” – no one can get through life alone, so find time to connect with the people (and/or animals) that mean something to you. Purge negative people from your life if you need to; they will only sap your energy.
  • Eat clean and healthy – Our diets can serve to mitigate the negative effects of stress. Proper hydration helps our bodies remove toxic by-products. Too much sugar can decrease immunity and stresses the skin. Ample antioxidants like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, resveratrol and anthocyanins can neutralize harmful free radicals. Extreme dieting can exacerbate hair loss and leads to nutritional deficiencies. Incorporate lots of whole foods into your diet.
  • Get a good night’s sleep – The quality of our sleep is truly important in terms of our body’s ability to recover from stress. Things like avoiding blue screens late at night, comfort, a cool environment, progressive relaxation, and avoiding caffeine and alcohol will help you achieve deep, restorative sleep.
  • Keep moving – Our sedentary lifestyles don’t serve us well when it comes to stress. When our bodies move, we release endorphins (the “feel good” hormone”). Exercise can reduce blood pressure, improve circulation, and improve sleep. Whether it’s walking, yoga, or skateboarding, find a routine that you love and can maintain over time. That can include hobbies like gardening, cooking, painting or sewing. Working with our hands can be very therapeutic.
  • Find the self-care rituals that work for you – It’s important to find out what your skin responds to; when we’re living our best life, it often shows. For some it might be a massage or mani/pedi; for others, it’s lymphatic drainage or micro-needling. Or how about a bubble bath? Whatever you choose to do, make sure that it doesn’t stress out your skin and hair. Too much sun, bleaching and dermabrasion can leave skin and hair feeling dry and irritated.
  • Know what’s in your skincare and haircare products – More consumers are reading labels and that’s a good thing. It’s important to know what you’re using, in the event that you develop an allergic reaction, or if you have dry, sensitive or problem skin. Keep things simple and use one product at a time, if necessary, until you know how your skin and hair respond. Use products that include soothing ingredients like aloe, Vitamin E, castor oil, glycerin, allantoin and gentle oils and cleansers. If retinols are too harsh, try pro-retinol. Use a barrier sunscreen if you’re spending considerable time in the sun. Along with the previous steps, you’ll see (and feel) the difference during stressful times. To see our line of restorative skincare products, visit Our WEBA Naturals line.

Reference: https://www.insider.com/how-stress-hurts-your-skin-2019-5

Why Do A Nightime Routine Blog Post graphic

Why Do A Nighttime Routine?

You may love a good night-time skincare routine, but do you know what its benefits are? Read below to learn why a night-time routine can really benefit your skin.

What happens to your skin while you sleep

Your skin is the second-largest organ in your body, and as such it performs many functions. So what is happening to your skin while you sleep?

  • Your skin loses water – or “sweats” – while you sleep due to less oil production, which means that it’s important to counteract this moisture loss with a moisturizer. Oils like jojoba imitate the skin’s natural sebum, while oils like hemp and olive supply much-needed fatty acids to maintain elasticity.
  • Skin becomes drier due to this moisture loss, which makes an extra-emollient moisturizer all the more important. If your skin is normally dry, then slather it on!
  • Your skin needs the right amount of sleep in order to replenish itself. If you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter, you’ll notice that your skin is more sallow and your eyes are puffier. Lack of sleep also raises cortisol levels, which contributes to inflammation. Higher stress hormones can contribute to breakouts and other skin problems, as well. Hormones like Melatonin and Human Growth Hormone increase during sleep, making a good night’s sleep all the more important.
  • Skin is warmer at night, which can make it easier for skincare products to be absorbed. So why not take advantage of this and apply products like AHAs or BHAs to speed cell turnover while you sleep? Turnover tends to occur between about 11pm and 4 am, before body temperature drops to its lowest level during sleep. Skin is also more permeable, so products can be absorbed more easily.

What should your skincare routine look like?

We already know that a good moisturizer can counteract moisture loss while we sleep, but what else can we do to enhance our nighttime skincare routine?

  • Be sure to remove all traces of makeup and accumulated dirt gently before bed. A light oil-based makeup remover like Whole Earth Body Actives Facial Cleansing Oil and Makeup Remover is rich in Vitamin E and contains geranium oil to help balance sebum production. A gentle exfoliator will remove any dead skin cells.
  • Use products with ingredients like AHAs, BHAs, retinol and Vitamin C to help “detox” your skin, increase collagen production and reduce inflammation while you sleep. We like our Whole Earth Body Actives Age Defying Vitamin C Creme with Niacinamide. It’s gentle enough to use day and night for botanical-based antioxidant protection.
  • Get the best quality sleep that you can. Avoid electronic devices, caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals before bed. If you’re a side sleeper, a silk pillowcase can help prevent wrinkles while you sleep. Products like melatonin (which decreases as you age), or valerian extract (which can help you fall asleep) are non-habit forming and effective for some. Use a humidifier in winter and a dehumidifier/air purifier in the summer if needed to maintain a humidity level of about 45 percent and keep mucus membranes from drying out.

By spending just a little extra time at night, you can go a long way towards helping your skin to be its very best. And isn’t waking up to healthy skin worth it?

What to know about collagen blog post

What To Know About Collagen

What Is Collagen?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is the main structural protein in skin, hair, nails and connective tissue, but it is found throughout the body. It is the most common protein in our skin (70%) and its presence helps keep our skin supple and toned. It is also responsible for keeping our joints and ligaments flexible. Its amino acids (glycine, proline, arginine) tend to combine into long strands called fibrils which are very strong. Collagen is prevalent in the skin’s middle layer, or dermis, where it provides structure and support. There are over a dozen types of collagen, but the human body consists primarily of Collagen I, II, and III. Marine collagen is found to be rich in types I and III.

As we age, collagen production slows. Lifestyle factors like smoking, excess sugar consumption and exposure to UV light can accelerate breakdown. The result is sagging, wrinkled skin, graying hair, brittle nails and stiff joints. Therefore, although older adults tend to experience collagen reduction, lifestyle factors can accelerate collagen breakdown at any age.

How Can You Increase Collagen Production?

We can’t turn back the clock on aging, but there are a number of ways in which we can boost our body’s collagen production; 1) with collagen supplements and 2) with a diet rich in amino acids; 3) with collagen fillers; 4) with skincare products. We will explore all of these below.

  • Collagen supplements – with all of the hype regarding collagen powders, it’s hard to know which products will really deliver. Collagen is broken down in the intestines into its component amino acids, where the body takes what it needs. There are also concerns about possible heavy metal and other contamination from questionable animal sources. Finally, there are companies that make marine collagen available, which may have its own contamination issues. The supplement industry remains unregulated, so let the buyer beware. The best course of action is to choose organic powders that have been tested for contamination. Most effective is hydrolyzed collagen – or collagen peptides – which have been broken down into short-chain amino acids that dissolve more readily in water. These are often called collagen peptides. They are usually tasteless. While there are few studies confirming the benefits of taking supplements, many anecdotal studies have shown some benefit to be derived from ingesting collagen peptides as a supplement to a healthy diet. It remains to be seen whether or not enough human studies will be done to verify its efficacy. If you’re looking for a supplement to try, visit Organic Authority’s list of collagen supplements here.
  • Diet – A healthy diet can go a long way towards providing the necessary building blocks that the body needs to build collagen. Just as there are 9 essential amino acids that our bodies must obtain from food, there are also non-essential amino acids that are needed to build collagen. Here are some foods that provide these amino acids:
  • Glycine – found in meat and fowl (particularly the skin), fish bones, and dairy products
  • Proline – found in meat, fish, gelatin and egg yolks
  • Arginine- meats, dairy, pumpkin seeds, beans, peanuts
  • Hydroxyproline – Found in meats and sometimes used in skincare products

Clearly, by eating a healthy, varied diet, you can provide your body with all of the building blocks that it needs. Vitamin C is needed in order for the body to produce collagen. It also helps prevent free-radical damage. Zinc and copper are also nutrients essential for collagen synthesis. Citrus fruits, nuts, seeds, fish and other foods will boost your body’s store of these nutrients.

  • Collagen Fillers – If you have decided to visit a dermatologist, they will sometimes recommend collagen or hyaluronic acid fillers to fill in deep wrinkle lines or to address other skin issues. This is a pricey commitment, as these fillers are temporary fixes. However, a visit to the dermatologist can help you pinpoint what your skin’s needs are so that you can make an educated decision as to which treatments are effective.
  • Skincare Products – Collagen-boosting skincare products are big business, with many people swearing that they are effective at plumping up the skin. And for vegans who cannot find a suitable collagen supplement, it may be a viable method that avoids animal products. Whether or not they are actually causing a significant increase in collagen is up for debate. However, there are a few ingredients that have been shown to stimulate collagen production in the dermal skin layer:
  • Vitamin C – At the right concentration (10-20%), Vitamin C, or Ascorbic Acid, has been shown to encourage collagen production. In fact, it cannot form without it. This vitamin is also involved in tissue repair and protection via its antioxidant activity. It is highly unstable in solution, however, so including it in your diet is always a good idea. There are also more stable forms of Vitamin C. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, found in our Age-Defying Vitamin C Crème, allows us to use less thereby minimizing sensitive skin reactions.
  • Vitamin B3 – Niacinamide has demonstrated effectiveness in promoting collagen production, as well as ceramide and keratin (found in hair, nails and skin). A 5% solution has been found effective at stimulating collagen production, resulting in less wrinkled, more supple skin.
  • Keratin – Many haircare products contain keratin, which when combined with collagen forms strong, supple hair strands. It is generally derived from animal products like sheep wool and silk.

Skincare products also utilize ingredients that work with these to exfoliate, brighten and plump up skin. For example, AHAs like lactic, malic and glycolic acids are used to help exfoliate and brighten skin. (Choose pure glycolic acid, not a combination product.) Hyaluronic acid and glycerin work by drawing moisture into cells, thereby plumping them up. Some experimentation is required in order for you to find which ingredients work for you and whether or not your skin is sensitive to them. Try them one at a time so that you will know which one works and which one you should eliminate. With a little trial and error, you can find the product(s) that provide your skin with desired benefits.

Want to check out our Age Defying Face Creme? Click here.

References:

Why is Vitamin C the Wonder Vitamin?

Why Is Vitamin C The Wonder Vitamin?

Why Is Vitamin C The Wonder Vitamin?

Vitamin C, or Ascorbic acid, has been the subject of much conversation in the healthcare and beauty industries and is often touted as a “wonder” vitamin. Of the 13 essential vitamins that the human body needs (because it cannot manufacture them), Vitamin C has gotten more than its share of attention. How did a water-soluble micro-nutrient present in citrus fruits and other foods come to be found in our beauty products?

Vitamin C and your health

Citrus fruits were found to cure scurvy in sailors long before they understood why. Basically, Vitamin C is needed to make collagen, the most abundant protein in our bodies. It is found in everything from skin and bones to nails, hair and tendons. Without Vitamin C, sailors developed weakness, gum disease and skin ailments. Vitamin C was also studied for its possible benefits in treating infection. Some studies show that large doses of Vitamin C can shorten the severity and duration of the common cold. It has been found in high concentrations in certain immune cells, which need the vitamin in order to function properly. For this reason alone, many find Vitamin C supplementation an essential part of their daily diet. While supplements many have their place in cases of deficiency, they have been found to be less useful in normal, healthy individuals. Being water soluble, excess Vitamin C is excreted in our urine. Too much of the vitamin can, in fact, lead to kidney stones. Exercise caution and take it only when your body is under stress or in the case of a deficiency. Your physician can provide guidance on the proper dose to take in these cases.

Vitamin C and Your Skin

Perhaps the most interesting uses for Vitamin C have been in the beauty industry. As a potent antioxidant, the benefits of Vitamin C cannot be overstated. It is a potent free-radical scavenger that can help to treat damage from excessive sun exposure, which can make you look older. This makes it a desirable ingredient in skincare products. However, pure Ascorbic acid is unstable and oxidizes quickly, so it’s important to look for products that use stabilized or alternative forms of Vitamin C. For example, while L-Ascorbic acid is the purest form of Vitamin C, it is highly unstable (e.g. sensitive to light, heat and air) and requires a very low pH to work, making it more irritating than other forms of Vitamin C. This is often experienced as a “tingling” feeling.

Some forms of Vitamin C have been formulated in the lab to make them more stable and more effective at lower concentrations than L-Ascorbic acid. Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, for example (found in our Age-Defying Vitamin C Face Creme ), is water-soluble, more stable and gentler than L-Ascorbic acid. This is helpful for people with sensitive skin. When combined with other ingredients like Vitamin E and Niacinamide (Vitamin B3), Vitamin C can impart real benefits to skin ravaged by sun damage and environmental stressors. Combined with a diet consisting of whole foods rich in Vitamin C, your body will have what it needs to maintain healthy cell function and collagen formation. We truly believe it to be a “wonder” vitamin! So try a few products out for yourself and see if you don’t agree.

(Disclaimer: We are not health professionals. The views expressed here are our own and do not constitute medical advice. Please see a physician if you have questions regarding Vitamin C deficiency or any medical condition.)

References:
Healthline.com article about Vitamin C
National Institutes of Health article on Vitamin C deficiency
National Institutes of Health article on Vitamin C and immune function