Happy Chemicals" and the state of our skin
Our bodies are naturally equipped with chemicals that regulate our emotions. Responsible for motivation, relationship building, concentration and many other aspects of our daily lives, they ensure that we make the right decisions (most of the time) and avoid harmful behavior.
One group of so-called "happy" chemicals are neurotransmitters, responsible for transmitting messages between our brain and body, including the skin. Knowing how they work and how to regulate them can help us explore the benefits of wellness on the quality and condition of our skin.
The neurological system, supposedly complex, is developed in such a way as to simplify transmission. What starts as an electrical impulse in the first neuron travels through an axon to the second neuron which accepts or rejects it. It then communicates via a chemical link that sends the message to the neuron in our brain.
The 4 main "Happy Chemicals
The dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced by the hypothalamus. It is a crucial compound responsible for our reward and motivation. It helps us stay focused and productive on a task at hand, whether it be intellectual or physical. Studied in depth by behavioral psychologists, it is only recently that it has been deconstructed to help us understand that it is not the amount of dopamine that is important to our motivation, but the relative level compared to the standard level, as well as the subsequent drop in dopamine that we experience. Today, we are exposed to many more stimulants that can trigger dopamine spikes.
Every Instagram post we see, every readily available junk food or Netflix series we watch is responsible for immediate dopamine spikes. Binge eating, binge watching, or scrolling is the direct effect of this, as we naturally reach for more stimuli. No matter how much we consume, it never seems to be enough. In fact, our baseline dopamine levels are constantly adjusting and, if we are not careful, can lead us to recurrent dopamine crashes.
The serotonin is an extremely important neurotransmitter responsible for the quality of our sleep, appetite and mood; it is produced when we are satisfied. Sufficient levels of serotonin are necessary for a balanced lifestyle. It is made from the amino acid tryptophan, which can be supplied to your body through a healthy, protein-rich diet. Serotonin depletion leads to depression and mood swings, which affect your overall health, including the health of your skin.
Oxytocin is better known as the cuddle hormone, oxytocin is a neuropeptide responsible for transmitting positive signals related to relationships, such as trust, empathy or desire. Extensive studies have been conducted to link oxytocin levels to skin health. One of the most comprehensive results showed a direct link between oxytocin levels and skin age:
OCTOCIN LEVELS, SKIN AGE SCORE AND SUN EXPOSURE SCORE, BY PARTICIPANTS
The subject in the pilot study with the highest oxytocin level in the pilot study (306 pmol/L/24h) was a 57-year-old woman. She was accustomed to using only basic skin care and had a strong history of lifetime sun exposure (score of 5 of 7 possible). Her SAS score for skin age was 23, which is a 60% reduction from the expected score for her age and is consistent with her relatively young skin appearance.
EndorphinsThere are 3 endorphins produced by the human body: α-, γ- and β-endorphin. The latter is the most important for the condition of our skin. As another neuropeptide responsible for our well-being, its main functions are to reduce negative feelings of stress, hunger, pain, as well as to maintain homeostasis. B-endorphin, produced in the pituitary gland and in a variety of skin cells, promotes wound healing through the regulation of cytokeratins.
Practical stimuli for endorphin production include sports activity and sex. Thus, in general, activity that promotes the production of these peptides is crucial to maintaining healthy skin.
In conclusion, there are multiple hormones responsible for the well-being of our brain and, as many studies and experiments show, the presence or level of these hormones has a considerable impact on the state of our skin, as they act both as stress regulators and directly on the rejuvenating, healing or hydrating properties of our skin tissue.