What Are Stress Wrinkles & How to Prevent Them?

Wrinkles are kind of inevitable for all of us – it isn’t a matter of how you’ll get them, but when. Surely you can lather your face into all sorts of expensive anti-aging creams to delay the process but you will eventually get them. But we’re here to make sure that you don’t age before time due to the overwhelming stress caused by the pandemic.

Heard about stress wrinkles before? What are they?

When we’re stressed, we don’t get adequate sleep, we don’t exercise as often as we should, and our diet can suffer. All of those factors can contribute to negative affects to not just our health, but on our skin. “Stress wrinkles are thought to occur as a result of chronic stress—typically psychological stress—and environmental stressors (toxins, pollutants, sun exposure),” says First. “The facial region is typically where they are more common.” Both First and Friedman note that stress wrinkles are more prone to pop up in the forehead area and in between the eyebrows (also known as “worry-lines”)

Stress can stem from work, relationships, finances, and even physical environment, especially since the pandemic has overturned our life and all our plans for the year. But, what’s the actual science behind it all? The short answer can be summed up into one word: telomeres. “Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect our chromosomes—think of it like the plastic covering at the end of a shoe lace,” says Friedman. “When the telomeres shorten in length to a certain point, they can no longer replicate, and this will lead to the signs of aging.” She goes on to note that individuals who suffer from mental disorders, depression, anxiety, or trauma may have shorter telomeres compared with individuals who don’t.

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Now simply saying “avoid stress” is easier said than done. So we’ve compiled a list of helpful things you can adopt to prevent stress wrinkles from appearing:

  • Create a Routine: Implementing a stress-relief routine in your daily life—this could mean exercising, meditating, or journaling, or even baking.
  • Hydrate, Hydrate & Hydrate: When you are under chronic stress, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated, and this can compound the problem. Moisturize the skin externally and internally by drinking enough water.
  • Make Lifestyle Changes: The significance and importance of a healthy lifestyle cannot be stressed enough. What you eat and consume in a day affects the feel and look of your skin. Eating a well-rounded diet, avoiding smoking, and implementing breathing techniques often.
  • Get Enough Sleep: While this may seem like a given because you’ve practically heard it all your life – aim for eight hours of sleep, as this is an important time when the body repairs damage to the skin.
  • Wear Sunscreen: We cannot stress the importance of wearing sunscreen enough. Use a sunscreen daily that has an SPF of at least 30 (or products containing sunscreen) especially in the facial areas. And if you’re wondering that you don’t need sunscreen during the Winter season – YOU DO!
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