Cortisol, Collagen, and Self-Care

December 21, 2020

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Dr. Keira Barr

One of the main components of our skin is a protein called collagen – you may have heard of it before. 

Collagen makes up 30% of the proteins in our body and is responsible for maintaining the structure of our hair, bones, muscles, and skin. Think of collagen as the glue that holds these things together. As we age, our bodies produce less collagen, and the quality of the collagen we do make drops. This happens naturally, but there are more factors at play.

Fun fact: Estrogen is vital to collagen production and keeping your skin healthy, hydrated, and equipped to protect you as the barrier between you and the outside world. And then, there’s cortisol…

Have you heard of Cortisol?

Cortisol is a stress hormone that helps regulate our metabolism, immune system, and fight or flight response. That rush of energy you feel in challenging, or anxious, situations? That’s cortisol driving the release of adrenaline to increase your heart rate to help speed resources along so that your body can fight or flee. 

The energy has to come from somewhere. Cortisol triggers the production and release of blood sugar to free up energy for our bodies to use and if it doesn’t get used, guess where it ends up. Yep, that “menopausal muffin top”. When cortisol gets too high, it triggers inflammation, and impairs our skin’s ability to function as a healthy, protective barrier, and hampers estrogen production.  

Between lowered estrogen (courtesy of chronic stress and menopause), and increased cortisol production (more hot flashes. Yay.), not only is your skin dry and irritated, your symptoms spiral – only feeding the cycle of fatigue.

I know, it’s a lot. You might be sitting there thinking that your body really is out to get you. I mean, it certainly feels that way, but it’s important that you understand what the hell is happening so you can find a solution.

When you know what is really behind the headaches, insomnia, and itchy, tight skin, you can understand how – and why – taking a hormone informed approach flips the script. 

My Glowing Skin Cheatsheet shares nutritional information and eating advice to help break the cycle you’re stuck in. Not because I want you to go on a diet, but because food is one way to offer your body the support it needs to get back to balance. 

If you’re up for it, take a peek at your cheat sheet and make a mental note of any favorite foods you see on the list, or any recipes that come to mind while you’re looking. If my cheat sheet isn’t already waiting in your inbox, scroll down to the bottom of this page to sign up to receive yours now!

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Ready to dive deeper? Click here to book a free, 20-minute consultation with me!