When emotions run high, your skin can and will freak out. Neuropeptides, which make the skin feel sensitive and reactive, are partly to blame. What is a neuropeptide?
First, a peptide is a compound that possesses at least two amino acids that are linked by a peptide bond, which is a link that forms when two molecules undergo a chemical reaction. Meanwhile, neuropeptides are a specific kind of complex peptide containing up to 30 or 40 different amino acids. Neuropeptides are found throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. The “neuro” in neuropeptides tells us the function of type of this particular peptide. Neuropeptides act as either hormones or as neurotransmitters (NTs). Neurotransmitters are small molecules that send signals from neurons to other cells located across the junctions, between the cells. Essentially, neuropeptides are like tiny information superhighways for the cells in your body. In terms of inflammation, neuropeptides can be either pro-inflammatory or anti-inflammatory.
Obviously, we want the latter of the two. Studies have shown that stress, (the inflammatory neuropeptide harbinger), increases trans-epidermal water loss in the skin. The upper layers of the skin become dehydrated, cells that were once plump and tightly pressed against one another shrivel and shrink. The gaps that form between cells invite irritants, suddenly making you a hivey, rashy, or even zity scarefest. Worried about someone making a comparison between the cranberries on the table this Thanksgiving to the spots on your skin? Terrified of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" on your face? YET ANOTHER REASON TO DRINK MORE WATER!!!! In the meantime here's some other tips...
• Take your supplements and eat well. Get the intake of these as much as you can in your diet, but add to it too! Take ALL of the omega fatty acids (in fish, flaxseed, and evening primrose oils), particularly the evening primrose if you are a woman. Helpful hint: double your dose around "that time of the month". This will be your insurance against nasty hormonal breakouts and the need to harm someone. Silica, cranberry and vitamin D³( the D especially if you are an eczema and psoriasis suffer). These are crucial for repair and the care and keeping of good skin generally.
• Avoid things that overstimulate the skin, like retinoids, acids, harsh scrubs, and heavily fragranced products. Use only mild, hydrating cleansers with soothing ingredients, like licorice, willowbark, green tea, red tea or white tea extract. A word about "scrubs"- you are NOT a tub. Do not scrub. Lightly buff. Please.
• It is somewhat ironic that the time of year, known for wreaking havoc on our skin, has the best fruits and veggies helpful to reversing the damage. SO TAKE ADVANTAGE. Make some homemade facial masks. I will be sharing some on this blog, but I have video tutorials (youtube, my website and fb) and written recipes on facebook too.
• Moisturize. Hyaluronic Acid is wonderful. Humectants are your friend. Humectants draw moisture to your skin. This will help protect and repair that precious outer barrier of your skin. Please read your ingredients, make sure they are good for you. Google, get a cosmetic dictionary, read some of my posted notes on fb. Educate yourself.
• DON'T PICK! (swats hand away from your face) You are spreading the evil bacteria EVERYWHERE. Feel the need to attack any little flake or bump? STOP. Do so by safely smoothing and deep cleansing your skin with a clarasonic facial brush. This way will satisfy your urges and fulfill your needs to get rid of the "ick". Still want to pick? Occupy your hands. Get some stress toys, or buy a new app for your phone and play with it when the need arises.
• CHILL OUT. Seriously, this is crucial. YOU DO HAVE 10 minutes in your day. Find them. I don't care where. Take a walk, do some yoga or deep breathing exercises. Remember breathing? Oxygen intake? It misses you too! Get in your tub and take an epsom salt bath (drink lots of water while you're doing it.) No tub? Run a hot shower, (but keep your face out of the direct stream of water, protect those capillaries!) and add a few drops of a high quality essential oil like peppermint or lavender... Still freaked out? Have a glass of a good red wine. 1 glass guys, not the bottle. AND be sure to drink lots of water! I repeat myself, I know...