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Stress eating? Go herbal, discover adaptogens

Posted By May
The mind-body connection affects the skin too. Our skin reacts and changes detrimentally when the stress hormone (cortisol) is released. Although it isn't a cure-all, evidence points to adaptogens' strong ability to help prevent/alleviate stress and keep skin healthy.


How the skin reacts to stress

According to Dr. Abram Beshay, a dermatologist from the University of Utah, our skin reacts to the stress hormone cortisol through the following changes:

  • Increased inflammation
  • Impaired wound healing
  • More oil and sebum production
  • Impaired resistance to infection



Because of the above skin reactions from stress, Dr. Beshay (2021) said that it can exacerbate the following skin conditions:

  • Acne
  • Hair loss (Alopecia areata)
  • Hair thinning (Androgenetic Alopecia or Telogen Effluvium)
  • Eczema (Atopic dermatitis)
  • Psoriasis
  • Rosacea
  • Scalp rash(Seborrheic dermatitis)
  • Hives
Aside from those skin reactions and conditions, stress-induced behavior can also indirectly affect the skin, such as touching the face more often, not eating healthy, losing sleep and other related behavior.

With science clearly establishing the evident impact of stress on skin, let's look into adaptogens and how this ingredient can help reduce stress and give you healthier skin in the process.




Adapto-what?

Like our muscles need training to increase physical endurance, adaptogens are taken to train your body to be more resistant to emotional/psychological stress and fatigue.

They are plants/herbs, usually roots like ginseng, that increase stress resistance and help you regain balance.


Adaptogens are said to be:

  • Anti-stress / Anti-fatigue
  • Anti-depressive
  • Neuroprotective
More scientific research is needed to concretely prove all claims for adaptogens. But so far, scientific evidence is strongly pointing towards adaptogens' positive and therapeutic effects. 

It adapts your system to combat stress and fatigue, hence the name adaptogen. It's balancing in a way that it calms us down when we're restless, and picks us up when we're feeling sluggish:

  • "Induces increased attention and endurance in situations of decreased performance caused by fatigue and/or sensation of weakness.
  • Reduces stress-induced impairments and disorders related to the function of stress (neuro-endocrine and immune) systems (Panossian, et. al., 2010)."

Goji Berries
Adaptogenic goji berries

Moreover, adaptogens are said to:

  1. Increase stress resistance;
  2. Have a normalizing effect on our bodies' response to stress and fatigue; and  
  3. Are therapeutic (Panossian, 1999 in Wynn, et. al., 2007).

Adaptogens and effects

Here are some specific adaptogens and their potential benefits:

Adaptogen Potential benefit
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) Boosts working memory, reaction time, calmness, and immune system
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Reduces stress and anxiety
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) Combats fatigueTrusted Source
Cordyceps (Cordyceps militaris) Boosts stamina
Goji berry (Lycium barbarum) Boosts energy, physical and mental performance, calmness, and sense of well-being, and can also improve sleep
Eluethero root (Eleutherococcus senticosus) Improves focus and staves off mental fatigue
Jiaogulan (Gynostemma Pentaphyllum) Reduces stress and boosts endurance
Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Reduces stress
Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea) Staves off physical and mental fatigue
Schisandra berry/Magnolia berry (Schisandra chinensis) Boosts endurance, mental performance, and working capacity
Tulsi/Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum) Reduces physical and mental stress, stress-related anxiety, and depression
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Boosts brain function and reduces depression
*Source: Healthline.com


At the end of the day, you know your body best. Research the specific adaptogen/s that might fit your lifestyle the most, figure out the proper timing to take it, and consult your doctor -- especially if you are on medication.

Our ESK advisors and dermatologists are also at your beck and call for whatever you need regarding stress and its effects on skin health. Give us a call or message us today, and we'd be happy to guide you through products and services that best fit your lifestyle.
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