How Stress Can Damage Your Skin

stress skin damage overworked bulldog imageReducing overall stress may play a significant role in improving the health and condition of the skin (1).

Perhaps the most documented mechanism of stress on the health of the skin is free radical damage. While the sun may be the biggest source of free radical skin damage, research has shown that emotional stress can also muster up significant free radicals and damage the skin (1).

Researchers have found that when antioxidants are combined together, they have a synergistic effect yielding skin-protective benefits that are better than when individual compounds are taken alone (2).

In a double-blind randomized, placebo-controlled study, a combination of two common Ayurvedic herbs, Amalaki (Phyllanthus emblica) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera, also spelled Ashwagandha), were administered and the effects were measured.

The results showed that Ashwagandha and Amalaki in combination inhibited certain enzymes that break down collagen by 54%. Collagen is a critical protein required for the elasticity and structure of the skin.

This combination also showed an inhibition of certain enzymes that break down hyaluronic acid by 86%. Hyaluronic acid is considered the skin’s natural moisturizer (3).

Ashwagandha and Amalaki are commonly used for stress. Amalaki is touted for its natural free radical protective properties, and Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which helps the body cope with stress.

1. Psychiatr Danub. 2008 Sep;20(3):415-8.
2. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2002 Sep-Oct;15(5):307-15
3. NutraGenesis LLC. Data on file, 2008
Unleash Your Skin’s Internal Defenses. Rona Cherry. Life Extension Mag. July 2010.

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