What’s stress doing to YOUR face? Shocking pictures reveal the damage it could wreak in 10 years time
Stress – and the many unhealthy ways we deal with it – can severely age us
Research shows it can cause premature grey hairs, lines and wrinkles
Plus jowls, redness, sagging of the skin and bloating due to poor diet
Journalist Anna Magee was worried about the effects of stressful lifestyle
Asked forensic artist Auriole Prince todepict how she may look in a decade
MailOnline got three more people to take the test, with worrying results
ByANNA MAGEE FOR MAILONLINE
PUBLISHED:08:33, 7 November 2014|UPDATED:17:55, 7 November 2014
A stressful day at work can drive even the calmest of us towards the wine bottle or a nice sugary treat.
But how many of us ever stop and think what long-term damage we might be doing?
Over time, every glass or every cigarette is slowly chipping away at our looks – and our health.
Anna Magee, a 45-year-old journalist and editor of thehealthista.comwebsite, was worried about the effect stress was having on her body.
She decided to enlist the help of forensic artist Auriole Prince to get apicture literally of what her face will look like in 10 years if she remains under her current levels of stress.
MailOnline also asked three brave volunteers to take the plunge to see how they too would be affected, based on their current appearance and how they deal with stress.
The results were alarming.
Now: Anna Magee, 45, is worried what her stressful lifestyle is doing to her health
A decade on: Grey hair, spots and redness will all develop if Anna doesn’t take time out to deal with stress
I’m a full-time health journalist for national newspapers and magazines with about two deadlines a week. I also edithealthista.com.
Outside work, I am rebuilding my kitchen and bathroom, showering in the gym (due to being shower-less) and eating take-away off my lap most nights (due to being kitchen-less).
Each day I wake up between 4.30am and 5.20pm to start the day. Its safe to say I am stressed.
One U.S. study found that women who were most threatened by the anticipation of stressful tasks looked older by as much as 10 years.
Yes, I go to the gym most days, but I barely do any yoga practice (I used to do it daily).
Where I used to practice a little mindfulness meditation, now I just cant fit it in.
I barely take time out to breathe.
And as the co-author of a book called The De-Stress Diet, I know what I should be doing.
*Taking regular breaks(I am currently working through lunch)
*Having time out(I work seven days a week)
*Doing regulardeep breathing(forget it)
*Eating well(doing my best but until the kitchen is finished its looking like one Indian take-away after the other)
This week, Auriole Prince, a forensic artist I have worked with before, got in touch.
Auriole is an ex-FBI forensic artist. In the past, she has worked with investigators on ageing images of missing persons in order to release pictures of what they might look like today.
She now runs a website calledchangemyface.comthat provides ageing software so people can see their faces in the future.
Cravings: Many of us turn to junk food when stressed, which wreaks havoc with our skin and blood sugar
She has, for example, created the app Drinking Mirror which allows you to see the effects of cutting back on alcohol on your skin in ten years great motivation.
She mentioned that it was National Stress Awareness Day and did I want her to doctor an image of my face to show what stress might be doing to it.
Did I ever. One of the best motivators for me is, after all, vanity.
Today, Auriole has aged my face according to what I will look like if I continue under my current levels of stress. It makes for sober viewing.
This is me now. I am 45.
According to Auriole, I am already showing the effects of stress on my face.
Bags under my eyes from lack of sleep, crows feet and skin that sags around my cheeks.
I can already see from your image that you have slightly dark bags under your eyes, this can be a real sign of stress and not sleeping properly or in your case, not sleeping enough.
‘These will get much worse over the next ten years, she explains.
Stress has a dehydrating effect on skin because when youre under stress, the body takes blood flow away from peripheral organs such as skin to provide muscles with energy.
This is for the fight to flight response that stress requires from our bodies. Its perfectly natural. But its meant to be over quickly.
Think about it. When we were cavemen fighting off predators we would fight or flee from the threat and then rest and recuperate.
Worrying: Pictured left is Anna, now at 45 and stressed already showing the effects on her face, according to forensic artist Auriole Prince. Right is Anna in 10 years if she continues under her current levels of stress
Today, our threats are deadlines, bathroom and kitchen renovations, social media overloads and websites to run.
And if its not one thing, its something else pressuring us to perform or deliver or decide.
Unlike our cavemen sisters, except for a few weeks holidays a year, our stress doesnt end. That means we are always and forever in this state of flight or flight.
The result, our peripheral organs especially the skin, but also our sex organs suffer the latter is why stress affects fertility so profoundly.
Heres what will happen to my skin in ten years if I continue under this amount of stress.
YOUR FACE ON STRESS – WHAT’S GOING ON?
More grey hair This is no myth, research last year found that high levels of stress hormones in the skin can cause hair follicles to be stripped of a type of stem cells that give hair its colour.
More spots Acne and stress are directly related so if youre experiencing adult acne, whatever your age, look at your stress levels. Stress causes an inflammatory response in the body and leads the pores to become clogged and break.
When this happens you get redness and pus a pimple. Moreover, under stress your adrenal glands (two small kidney shaped organs that sit on top of your kidneys administering stress hormones cortisol and adrenalin) go into overdrive.
Premature ageing: Stress makes us more prone to bags under the eyes, grey hair and wrinkles
This leads to the release of more androgens make hormones from your sex organs and more androgens leads to pimples. In women this effect is magnified as we have more androgens made in our darnel glands than men do.
Lack of radiance this occurs because my blood flow has slowed down and blood is being pumped into my muscles to rule my fight or flight reactions.
Accelerated ageing – One US study found that women who were most threatened by the anticipation of stressful tasks looked older at a cellular level, some by as much as ten years.
Bags under the eyes in my case, this is because I dont sleep enough and have an obsession with waking up early to get a headstart on the day. I know I dont sleep enough and according to Auriole, the effect isnt reversed by weekend lie-ins.Other people might wake in the small hours because of their stress load. Its all the same stress is the enemy of sleep.
Increased jaw size this comes from tooth grinding, typical of stressed out Type-As like myself.
I now have a mouth guard but according to my dentist the brilliant James Goolnik at Bow Lane Dental, I need to find a way to deal with my stress because a mouthguard could stop my teeth wearing down but it doesnt stop the grinding itself.
Sagging skin the result of decreased blood flow and dehydration from stress leeching the vitamins, blood and moisture from my skin and focusing it on the muscles.
Fine lines and dry skin stress reduces the skins own protective barrier made of healthy oils known as lipids, causing them to evaporate. This rich, moist barrier is hard to replace, even with the best creams, which is why stressed peoples skin always looks so desperately dry.Time to learn those breathing techniques
Redness Stress is also a key element in inflammatory skin conditions such as rosacea, which is exacerbated if youre dealing with stress by using alcohol (red wine increases the likelihood of rosacea and broken capillaries).Moreover, other inflammatory skin conditions including eczema and psoriasis are directly linked with stress.
SO WHAT COULD STRESS BE DOING TO YOU?
MailOnline asked three brave volunteers to also take the test. The results are based on how they deal with stress.
Fresh faced: Olivia doesn’t usually smoke, but will have up to 10 cigarettes a day if stressed, and drink more
Puffy: Auriole Prince says excess alcohol will cause dilated blood vessels to form on Olivia’s cheeks, while takeaways will cause her face to bloat.The acne is due to insulin spikes from a poor diet
She says:I never smoke normally but if Im stressed can easily make my way through a pack of ten cigarettes in a day.
I also like to drink wine (red or white) which doesnt always seem to help, as I get more stressed when Im drunk.
Not a big lover of chocolate but if Im feeling stressed or down I tend to go through a day of not really wanting to eat, then a day of eating all the worst foods like pizza and take-away curry.
To combat stress I sleep a lot. Im really bad – anything less than six or seven hours and I get really grumpy the next day and cant really function properly.
I also go to the gym. Running on the treadmill and doing weights means my mind empties and I think of nothing.
Or. I completely zone out by watching some trashy TV on Netflix has to be something really mindless so that I can totally turn my brain off.
Auriole Prince says:Olivia drinks when she’s stressed, so will start to form dilated blood vessels on her cheeks which become permanent.
She often binges on takeaways and fast food, so will start to bloat around her cheeks and jaw line.
She has a stressful job, so frown lines and bags under the eyes will appear.
Due to hectic lifestyle her skin and hair will become lack lustre.The acne is due to insulin spikes from poor diet.
Mindful: Sam admits alcohol such as beer and wine is his crutch when stressed, so has tried to cut back
A shadow of his former self: Stress means he at risk of developing jowls, plus general office stress will give him a grey pallor and extra wrinkles
He says:I used to drink to excess – mainly beer and wine – but was worried about the health implications so I have cut down. Alcohol is the thing I still tend to turn to when stressed, however.
It also means I eat badly the next day.
Now to try and combat stress I I exercise frequently, which I find a massive help.I also use breathing techniques and positive reinforcement and try and get enough sleep.
Auriole Prince says:For Sam, general stress in the office means deeper wrinkles.
Drinking alcohol such as beer and wine is calorific – not to mention the hangover food the following day, hence some bloating of the face as a result.
The slightly dark bags under the eyes are due to work stress, but he sleeps OK, which is why they aren’t worse.
The slightly grey pallor to his skin is due to his hectic work lifestyle, while the slight redness on the nose and cheeks is a result of the drinking.
Clear skin: Deni currently tucks into chocolate when stressed and smokes four cigarettes a day
Wrinkled: Deni’s frown lines are due to stress at work, but the lines on insides of her eyes due to smoking
She says:I eat lots of chocolate mainly high quality dark stuff smoke about 3/4 cigs a day, drink about 5 glasses of Prosecco and 3 gin and slims a week
I drink about 3 coffees a day a soya latte and then Americanos/macchiatos (generally no dairy)
I like to chill/sleep to deal with stress – and the gym helps massively.
I work out three times a week for two classes at a time, generally, I also do yoga twice a week, weighlifting one a week, three lots of cardio and one set of circuits.
Auriole Prince says:Deni’s frown lines are due to stress at work, but the lines on insides of her eyes due to smoking.
Meanwhile the dark circles under eyes and sagging of skin to do hectic lifestyle.
The dilated blood vessels on her cheeks are due to drinking, and there is some acne due to sugar spikes from chocolate and drinking.
However there is no weight gain as she does tons of exercise.
Anna Magee is the co-author of The De-Stress Diet: The Revolutionary Lifestyle Plan for a Calmer, Slimmer You with nutritionist and stress expert Charlotte Watts
For more information about forensic lifestyle ageing visitchangemyface.com