The cause of stress wrinkles stems from long periods of time when cortisol, the stress hormone, is activated in frustrating situations. As a result, this affects your skin’s elasticity and collagen.
There are, however, ways to prevent these premature signs of aging from developing into something larger than they already are.
Knowing how to prevent stress lines with self-care remedies is a good first step to keeping your skin healthy as you age.
What are stress wrinkles?
Stress wrinkles, also referred to as expression lines or static wrinkles, are those that don’t disappear when your face is relaxed.
They are caused by muscle tension and skin creasing that results from making the same facial expressions repeatedly.
This can be anything from frowning, smiling, or squinting, to even sleeping on your side (and waking up with pillow marks across your face).
Unlike other types of wrinkles which appear over time with aging skin, stress wrinkles tend to appear suddenly and become deeper and more pronounced with repeated muscle movements.
The best way to reduce their appearance is to relax the muscles behind them, which will also help prevent new ones from forming.
Why and how do we get stress wrinkles?
When you’re stressed out, your body produces extra amounts of cortisol, a hormone that helps your body deal with stressful situations.
While this can be helpful in the face of danger, long-term stress can cause overproduction of cortisol, which leads to muscle tension that causes wrinkles to form on the skin.
Stress can also lead to poor sleep. Your body needs healthy sleep patterns in order to repair its cells and mitigate the effects of aging.
When you don’t get enough sleep because you’re stressed out about something or when you have the wrong mattress, it shows through your skin in the form of wrinkles and dark circles under your eyes.
Finally, many people eat unhealthy food when they feel stressed out. Foods that are high in salt or sugar can make your skin puffy and wrinkled.
Stress-Related Wrinkles vs. Age-Related Wrinkles
The difference between the two is that wrinkles caused by aging occur due to the decrease in collagen and elastin, which causes the skin to appear thinner and more transparent. This can lead to visible lines and folds, especially around the eyes and mouth area.
In comparison, stress wrinkles or expression lines may not be as deep or pronounced but will often appear earlier than those caused by aging.
They are mainly due to years of repeated muscle movement or expressions, leading to creasing of the skin.
While this might seem like a minor detail (they both look similar anyway), what makes stress wrinkles different is that they may accompany other premature signs of aging such as pigmentation and under-eye circles. On top of that, they can also make you look older than your actual age.
How do you prevent stress wrinkles?
If you experience frequent stress and are worried about the health of your skin, here are some helpful tips that could help:
- Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can lead to increased cortisol levels in your body, which can damage your skin.
This can also lead to other health issues like a poor immune system and even back pain.
- Drink water. Drinking plenty of water can help keep you hydrated and flush out toxins in your body caused by stress.
- Eat a healthy diet. Stress may cause unhealthy eating habits, but a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can help keep your skin healthy and glowing!
- Don’t smoke. Smoking robs your skin of oxygen and can accelerate the aging process, causing wrinkles to form at an earlier age than normal.
Not to mention the health risks that come with this terrible habit.
- Practice stress management techniques. Strategies such as meditation or yoga reduce cortisol levels in your body.
Other forms of physical activity are also effective in coping with stress.
- Cosmetic treatments. If all the above doesn’t work or you need immediate results, you can always go for cosmetic treatments such as a facelift.
Even if stress is a completely normal emotion, too much stress in our bodies can negatively impact our skin and physical appearance.
This is why it’s essential to have healthy coping mechanisms as early as you can such as exercise or a proper diet.
This way, you can maintain both your skin health and overall well-being. If you want to get a facelift for your stress wrinkles, visit your dermatologist beforehand.