Our skin can often reflect other aspects of our wellbeing, from diet, to pollution and even stress. However, could yours be trying to tell you something about your emotional health?
That itchy rash or annoying breakout may be a sign that your skin is also fed up with whatever is stressing you out. Irritated skin usually sends people running to the chemist for quick relief, but a rising trend has some heading to dermatologists who specialise in psychodermatology.
Are the brain and skin really linked?
The field of psychodermatology examines this fascinating connection, and how by addressing mental barriers and issues, we can potentially help to improve our skin. In our hectic, modern world, our skin flaring up could be yet another reminder to slow down, breathe and appreciate life, principles encouraged in yoga and meditation, as well as mindfulness.
While the effect of emotions on our skin isn't perhaps a new discovery, it remains something that is a challenge for many to grasp as a concept.
"How amazing is it that a simple cognition can cause virtually every blood vessel in the skin to instantaneously open up, causing a blush or flush?" said Dr Rick Fried, a psychologist and dermatologist from Yardley Dermatology Associates. "That's pretty amazing evidence that the mind and body are linked."
From acne breakouts, to rosacea flushes to eczema flare-ups, stress is the fuel to the fire of inflammation lurking in these conditions.
Stress is more than skin deep
Imagine any of these scenarios: back-to-back exams, a messy divorce, unexpected health issues, even being stuck in traffic when you’re already late. Does the mere thought of these send stress signals down your spine? It doesn’t take scientific evidence for us to realize that the kind of stress driving us to the nearest pub — or reaching for the bowl of chocolate-covered nuts — isn’t good for our skin (and neither are those coping choices!). But the effects of psychological stress on our skin may be more serious than we realize. Scientific evidence has shown us that stress equates to inflammation, and this can cause havoc on the skin. From acne breakouts, to rosacea flushes to eczema flare-ups, stress is the fuel to the fire of inflammation lurking in these conditions. What’s more, stress not only triggers or exacerbates particular skin diseases, it can also lead to dehydration, lines, blotchiness, hair loss and brittle nails for those without an inherent condition.
On the flip-side, the distress these stress-related skin conditions causes is also very real, feeding a vicious cycle. Getting that awful pimple before your date, or the significant hair loss after a traumatic event — these can in turn cause psychological distress, even to the point of creating a psychiatric condition such as depression and anxiety. The statistics are telling: people with the most visible skin conditions (vitiligo, psoriasis) have much higher risk factor for developing anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts.
A mind body approach
In a world-first, GINGER&ME In-Clinic (Spa) treatments are designed to treat the skin and mind simultaneously in the knowledge that beauty comes from more than just a healthy skin but also a healthy mind. In this crazy, busy world, skin is subjected to more than just physical skin stressors. New age stressors including (but not limited to) anxiety, depression, time poor, use of mobile phones and lack of sleep are all triggers for inflammatory responses leading not just to problematic skin but to poor skin health too.
With this in mind, the in-clinic only GINGER&ME Neurocosmedics Mindfulness Sessions were created to support healthy skin and empower a healthy mind. A skin treatment combined with a guided POWER-TUDE Mindfulness Session where guests can put on their GINGER&ME Headsets, forget the noise of the outside world and focus on a mindfulness journey that will calm, refresh and ultimately inspire them to ‘choose their TUDE’ and never forget “they are worth it”.
The concept covers three key points: Skin, Mind and Power-Tude.
Skin: The acknowledgment that the skin is the largest organ in the body and deserves the utmost attention for its preservation. The blessing that modern day, high-tech actives used in skin care (when used in their functional dose) can trigger a physiological difference and support skin health and cellular behaviour.
Mind: The realisation that modern living; the fast-paced world we live in, juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, the pressure of social media (the list does not end here) is challenging our mental health. The fact that whilst we may be physically present in a moment; mentally we are not. Mindfulness gives the opportunity to stop and pay full attention, to observe your thoughts, feelings, the sensations of taste, touch, smell, sight and sound and to be fully aware of your surroundings.
Power-Tude: The power of being aware of your personal needs and nurturing them, fitting your oxygen mask first so you are better equipped to helps others. The strength of inner-peace; that allows you to be in control of your behaviours, reactions and actions.
The opportunity to choose your TUDE; your attitude, your altitude, your level of gratitude and ultimately your beauty-tude; putting you in life’s driver’s seat, taking the controls so that you may be the best version of you, making the most of life’s blessings.