Cortisol: The Low Down

Cortisol is in charge of your bodies response to stress. ⠀ 

In healthy adults, cortisol is at its highest in the morning, giving you the drive and energy to begin another internal cycle within the body at the start of a new day. It is also released whilst we exercise. Well balanced cortisol levels are vital for basic human survival, but when these levels fall out of whack it can have unfavourable side effects. 

Cortisol is a natural steroid hormone created in the adrenal glands, where it then gets into the bloodstream and travels around the rest of your body. Due to the very nature of the hormone and the fact that there are cortisol receptors within most of your body cells, it can effect everything: Skin, temperature, blood pressure, appetite, memory processes and many other things. Too much cortisol can overload natural body processes, and cause inflammation. 

 
Stress causes a chemical response in your body that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. This is mainly down to cortisol preventing the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation, and we all know what unwanted issues chronic inflammation can bring. ⠀

High levels of perceived stress and increases in cortisol have been found to lengthen the wound-healing time in healthy adults. It also interferes with the testosterone pathway, making sebum sticky and therefore more likely to trap any bacteria build-up in the pores and cause breakouts.  High cortisol levels can effect your stomach and gut too; stress plays a huge role in inflammatory digestive disorders such as IBS, causing bloating and cramps. 

Within the skin it causes irritation, redness and all over aggravation. Stress (cortisol) agitates skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis and eczema. Your emotions and mental health are so closely connected to your skin and in order to try to keep those levels of inflammation down, its important to take note of what might be causing those cortisol levels to rise, as well as looking into any topical treatments or products. ⠀

 

Ways you can try to keep those cortisol levels down: ⠀

Laughter

Having a good giggle has been proven to help keep cortisol levels down. ⠀


Music therapy & dancing

Get the tunes on and indulge in a cheeky two step if you're feeling a bit stressed.  They are both connected to the release of serotonin (the happy hormone) which in turn can help you feel less stressed. ⠀


Massage therapy

Pretty self explanatory really. If you can, this rather special form of self-care has been proven to lower cortisol levels.


Mother nature

Get outside, leave your phone at home and spend some time in the great outdoors. One of the most affordable, yet most effective de-stressing tools available, right?

 

Exercise

An hour of exercise a day helps to release endorphins around the body. It can also help reconfigure your metabolism, an element often affected by high cortisol levels. ⠀