Stress Really Does Age You, Study Finds

Stress Really Does Age You, Study Finds

Posted Friday, February 24, 2012 by NewBeauty Staff

One of the most important factors in keeping your skin looking young and vibrant is good cellular health. Boosting or maintaining a healthy rate of cell turnover can mean the difference between dewy, fresh skin or a complexion that's clogged with dulling dead skin cells. Another important factor, how you respond to stress, has been found to play a key role in how your cells age, according to a study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

The scientists studied the effects of stress on 50 women, half of whom were under chronic stress due to caring for a loved one suffering from dementia. The caregivers showed the most significant signs of anticipation in the face of a stressful event, which was reflected in cells that looked older than the non-caregivers.

The telomeres, the protective ends of the chromosomes, in these women were shorter than others who experienced less anticipation of stressful events, like having to speak in public or completing math problems. Short telomeres have been associated with premature aging.

Beyond the effects to your skin, this type of cellular damage caused by on-going stress is also linked to health concerns, such as cancer and heart disease.

"Our goal is to gain better understanding of how psychological stress promotes biological aging so that we can design targeted interventions that reduce risk for disease in stressed individuals," the study's lead author Aoife O'Donovan, PhD, told ScienceDaily.

We all deal with daily stress, but with the findings in this study that chronic stress accelerates cellular aging, practicing stress-relieving habits may be more important than ever. Delegating tasks, eating well, meditating and getting regular exercise and good sleep are all proven ways to ease the stress load. What are some of your tried-and-true stress relievers?

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