Skin Stress

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

Best Future YouHarnessing Your Body’s Biochemistry to Achieve Balance in Body, Mind, and Spirit

My 13th book, Best Future You, is out!

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be posting excerpts from the book and blogging frequently about the main concept in the book – which is the idea of harnessing your body’s internal cellular biochemistry to achieve true balance in body, mind, and spirit – and in doing so, help you to become your “Best Future You” in terms of how you look, how you feel, and how you perform on every level.

Chapter 7 – Look Your Best

Skin Stress 

When we’re under any type of stress, our body’s secrete a higher level of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol isn’t “bad” in and of itself. It’s a normal part of our physiological makeup. The problem occurs when we’re exposed to too much of it on a chronic basis – a scenario that is all too common in today’s fast-paced, overbooked way of living.

Because of cortisol’s wide-ranging influence on other important aspects of metabolism (especially those metabolic pathways associated most closely with “aging”), it is often called the “death hormone” and is associated with a tipping of the turnover process described above toward the “breakdown” side of the equation. The “death hormone” description is a fairly accurate nickname because cortisol is a hormone that tends to increase with age, and our increased exposure to cortisol as we age has been linked to breakdown and dysfunction in every tissue in the body, especially connective tissues such as skin. This breakdown of our tissue does, in a real sense, bring us closer to death and age us unnecessarily before our time. So whether we’re talking about skin, or muscles, or brain neurons, it makes sense to address cortisol’s role in cellular stress and the metabolism of aging.

Since cellular stress is basically the driving force underlying several metabolic pathways, we need to control it in order to slow down the skin’s aging process, treat and prevent problem skin, and promote radiant, healthy skin. When we do this, we get unexpected perks: Controlling cellular stress also produces beneficial results in terms of weight loss, improved mood, and enhanced libido!

One major way that cortisol earns its nickname as the “death hormone” is through its destructive effect on collagen, the most abundant protein in the human body (about a third of all the proteins ) and the chief structural component of skin tissues (about 90 percent). Collagen serves as the primary framework on which all the major structures in our body, including our skin, are built. It’s what wards off lines and wrinkles, and it is about the closest thing we have to a fountain of youth.

The health of our skin is affected by how well we metabolize collagen – that is, how well our systems make collagen available to our bodies for productive use. Collagen metabolism can be influenced by our eating habits, exercise patterns, and lifestyles. When we are under stress, our cortisol levels increase, contributing to a faster breakdown of tissues that contain collagen, such as bone and skin.

Another source of collagen destruction is the drying-out process that comes with aging. However, there are ways to reduce this destruction and promote the synthesis of stronger collagen fibers. Most people try to do this by using topical cosmetics that deliver lubricants and moisturizers back to the surface of the skin in an attempt to slow the aging process. Some of these topical remedies are natural and work well with the body’s own self-healing tendency, but entire premise of this book is that the best, most natural way to care for every one of the trillions of cells in our body (including your skin) is to support the CDR pathways inside of each of those individual cells. This can greatly help bring the collagen-turnover process into balance, and it can even tip the scales slightly in your favor when it comes to repairing vital connective tissues and preventing (or at least delaying) some of the conditions that we normally associate with aging.

If you are still too young to require “anti-aging” advice and your concern is treating and preventing problem skin – for example, if your situation is not dry skin but the opposite: oily, acne-prone skin – then CDR activation (topically and internally) can also be the foundation of inside-out skin care while you are young. Since this is an approach that makes you feel better as well as look better, it can grow with you very comfortably through the years, so that when your skin becomes more mature, it will have the long-term benefit of healthy CDR balance.

Thanks for reading – be sure to tune in for the next installment about the “FACE Program” approach to controlling all of the major aspects of skin biochemistry.

Shawn M Talbott, PhD, CNS, LDN, FACSM, FAIS, FACN
Nutritional Biochemist and Author
801-915-1170 (mobile)


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The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy
Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic
The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House)
The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House)
Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House)
Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books)
The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)
A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)
About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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