Is there a connection between skin, stress and how can adaptogens help with it?
Imagine this scene: We woke up late. We hit major traffic on our commute, knowing this will make us even more late. And then we hit a pothole, leaving us with a flat tire. Stress-inducing? Yes. Heart racing? Yes. Time to reach for a donut to eat through our melt-down? NO. Instead of reaching for sugary relief. It's time to reach for the adaptogens.
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are herbs, roots, plants, and mushrooms that help us fight our fights without putting too much strain on our adrenal system. They help with aiding and recovery when it comes to our stress-inducers, including short term and long-term bouts of physical and mental stress. Think of them like our cellular bodyguards. Research shows that they provide anti-fatigue, reduce anxiety as well as depression.
We think everyone can all agree that current times are deeply steeped in stress and anxiety. Harvard-trained Leslie Korn, PhD, says “As women living modern lives, we are going to have plenty of stress, but if our body and mind has a biological boost, like adaptogens, in order to cope better with this stress, then we will be less likely to get sick.” Because inflammation and disease tend to be outcomes of our stress responses, adaptogens are used to enhance our ability to achieve balance.
How do Adaptogens Even Work?
When life hands us a stressful situation our body proceeds to enter a three-step process called General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS).
Adaptogens help us tackle this process by boosting our energy so we maintain our resistance phase for longer, holding off the inevitable exhaustion. Exhaustion leads to many detrimental side effects like lower immune system function, rapid aging, poor gut health, and more.
Because our adrenal system is on high alert so much, our levels of the stress hormone cortisol are also increased. It allows us to battle against stressors but too much of it, can actually lead to weight gain. Unfortunately it's also the harmful weight stored around the stomach that boosts our risk of premature death, even in "normal" weight people.
Stress reactions have a domino effect on many systems in our body. Digestion, cognitive function, circadian rhythms, even our skin appearance. Adaptogens have the ability to help these reactions indirectly by staving off their exposure to cortisol and inflammation, reducing the potential for long-term disease.
What many people don't talk about is the anti aging benefits of these types of supplements. When we are exposed to long-term stress, our skin is one of the first impacted by the resulting inflammation, disease, and exhaustion. A simple mantra to follow is anti stress is anti aging.
Which Adaptogens Do You Need?
The type of adaptogen you take depends on the types of issues you're dealing with. Here is a list of our favorites for you to tackle whatever comes your way. Our friends at Apothekary have developed a line of powder supplements that are based on Ayurveda, TCM and Japanese Kampo Medicine, rooted in over 5,000 years of science and tradition.
- Apothekary Siberian Ginseng: Enhances general well being, strengthening Chi or "life force" in Traditional Medicine. Ginseng helps support blood sugar levels and stress/anxiety support. This root is a beautiful addition to green smoothies and yogurt parfaits.
- Apothekary Ashwagandha: Supports the body's reaction to stress and helps the body fight adrenal fatigue. Perfect for your evening warm beverage to unwind before bed.
- Apothekary Cordyceps: Used for muscular endurance, stress relief, and especially popular for focus and cognitive function. Boost your morning cup of coffee with this brain tonic to start the day.
- Apothekary Astralagus: Supports long-lasting energy while helping the body’s ability to repair itself. This is the perfect adaptogen to add to soups and stews. Your go to winter herb!
These herbal supplements are USDA Organic Certified, Fair-Trade, and Non-GMO. Prior to launching, all of Apothekary's ingredients went through a 12-month sourcing process and are wholly Founder-vetted. No fillers, chemicals, none of that funky business.
Traditional herbal medicine is the first ever documented form of medicine. Known for its ability to unite the mind, body and soul into balance, using preventative forms of treatment, vs just primary and reactionary care, often when it's "already too late". The health benefits of preventative care versus reactive care means starting younger will allow you to live a longer, more vibrant life.
The Connection Between Our Skin and Stress
For many people, they understand the correlation between high-stress living and the condition of their skin. But they don't know the actual science behind it. Here's a little simple skin science to help you better understand why stress is such a skin killer.
When our BFF cortisol gets released into our bodies, a number of systems are impacted, especially from long-term exposure.
- Our immune system becomes bogged down and inflamed, unable to optimally defend us against aggressors like viruses, bacteria, and free radicals. Remember our skin is one of our first lines of defense against these types of invaders, so if our skin and our immune system are compromised, we are creating a recipe for sickness and injury.
- When the cortisol and adrenaline from our fight or flight response enters our blood, our skin releases extra sebum which can cause congestion and breakouts.
- Stress leads to flare ups in chronic inflammatory conditions like eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and rosacea.
- Stress also leads to generally more skin picking, which sets off a whole cycle of breakouts leading to more breakouts.
The use of ingestible adaptogens is an incredible foundation to help your body defend itself and to also set your skin up for prime health. Here is a list of our favorite skin adaptogen protectors.
- Apothekary Glow Getter: Glow Getter's unique anti-inflammatory combination of cooling yin properties from Tocotrienols and He Shou Wu will cater to your complexion’s all-weather needs. We’ve pulled in both Organic Goji Berry, a powerful superfood for a vitamin C boost and Maca which is a natural mood booster to lift the gloom of grey days.
- Nature's Vine Chakra Balance Herbal Tea: This herbal blend is known as Kadha, an Ayurvedic healing botanical featuring Tulsi (Holy Basil) that protects the immune system. Support your body during any season of the year with this powerful tea formula.
- Blume Adaptogenic Milk Blend: This rich nut-milk contains over 10,000mg of a proprietary blend of reishi, lion’s mane, cordyceps, and chaga. Formulated to help you find center and balance.
- Sprayology SleepEase: Temporarily relieves the common symptoms of insomnia, including wakefulness, restlessness, emotional stress and anxiety featuring Passionflower.
- Circcell Abo +|- Serum: The luxury of a luminous glow, regardless of environmental changes and time zones. This trans-formative, silky serum breathes new life into the skin, instantly addressing visible signs of aging.
Whether internal or external, adaptogens are an easy, plant-based way to help your body, mind, and spirit defend itself against attacks from stress, free-radicals, and disease.