Is your bad mood hijacking your skincare routine?
Why you really need to stop neglecting your mental wellness when it comes to skincare (and everything else).
The words ‘great’, ‘finally’ and even ‘about damn time’ come to mind when I think about the fact that the conversation about mental health has started to move into mainstream culture. It goes without saying that our mental health is as important as our physical health. Some may even argue it is more important, but we’ll leave that argument for the experts.
The truth is, our mental health and skin health are intrinsically linked. We often tend to think of our brains, ‘insides’, and skin as separate entities, operating exclusively of one another. This segmented approach leads to us “spot” treating individual components in the hopes of a miracle, when the most effective approach is often an integrative one.
Much like when you’re feeling embarrassed your skin flushes, or when you have the stomach flu you feel anxious – our thoughts, emotions, physical feelings, and external appearance reflect one another.
“Believe it or not, this connection is actually formed before you were born,” Josie Howard, MD, a psychodermatologist trained in both dermatology and psychiatry discusses for a Well+Good article. “The mind and skin are intimately connected from the very first weeks after the sperm and egg come together.”
With all of that said, why in the heck do most skincare products only offer topical solutions, while completely avoiding the undisputed connection with the mind?
There are three layers of skin: the epidermis, the dermis, and the deeper subcutaneous tissue known as the hypodermis. If you think for one second that your inner wellbeing; the health of your inner organs, gut, and brain don’t directly affect each of these layers, think again. So, while lavender scented creams may attempt to aid in providing you with inner calm, a more integrative approach is needed in our skin care routines.
There are many extremely high-quality topical products available, from eye-creams, to serums, to masks, and even topical non-invasive procedures such as … that truly make an impact on the epidermis, but how long do those benefits last and how much long-term good are they actually doing?
We need to go deeper.
If you suffer from serious mental health issues, doctor prescribed medications and therapy should always be your first step. That said, a shocking number of people suffer from non-clinical daily stress and anxiety, which compounds overtime and shows up on our skin whether we like it or not.
As described by Dr. Joy Howard, “This ranges from pro-inflammatory stress hormones to chemicals (like neuropeptides) that are released by the nervous system in response to stress, which directly affects your skin’s health.”
Life happens, and we can’t always avoid stressful situations or events that trigger our anxiety. t’s important to find the time and resources to work through these emotions and experiences, and sometimes we need more immediate and ongoing support to stave off the repercussions of stress on our skin.
“Stress, especially, can leave a mark.” Chai Woodham mentions in a U.S. News article. “Bodies under stress produce more skin sebum, oily discharge that can contribute to clogged pores and aggravate acne. Stress can also increase inflammation in the body.”
So, what can we do?
To paraphrase the famous Theodore Roosevelt quote, ‘nothing worth having comes easy’. Transformation takes time, commitment, and effort, but by incorporating the following into your lifestyle, you may just get the leg up in truly transforming your skin and life, from the “mind-side” out.
You’ve heard it once, you’ll hear it again, but finding even thirty seconds each morning or night to focus on your breathing, and consciously release tension will make an impact on our overall well being.
Creating a sacred morning and night routine gives you the opportunity to set yourself up for success at the start of your day, and a chance to reflect and reset before going to bed. Creating specific and empowering rituals in this time can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve your sleep-wake cycles.
Supplementing your diet with plant-based ingredients that offer synergistic benefits to improve both your skin and mind, such as Gotu Kola, Hops Flower, and Astaxanthin, found in The AM+PM Beauty Set, can make a profound impact on both your skin’s appearance and your overall mindset.
You don’t need to throw away your topical skincare products, but amplifying your skincare routines with active supplements that go beyond the surface and incorporating powerful rituals such as meditation will help you bridge that mind-beauty gap and curb the damage being caused by neglecting your beautiful mind.