UNDERSTANDING YOUR SKIN

The Skin-Mind Connection

Think about the last time you were embarrassed... Did a blush appear across the skin? Did you feel a sudden rush of blood and heat to the face? ⁠ A simple blush shows just how connected our skin and minds are.

We are increasingly gaining awareness of how our skin is influenced by our emotional wellbeing and vice versa. Your skin is so much more than just the surface that you see. It’s packed full of sensors that respond to the world around you and also what’s happening within; mentally and physically.

The more we tune into the health of our skin and our within, the better we can treat and care for them both!

At Pfeffer Sal, we’re lucky enough to have some brilliant experts on our speed dial who have kindly shared their knowledge with us over on our IGTV channel. So along with our advice on how to treat and care for stressed-out skin, we’ve also got some fantastic and practical tips from nutritional therapist and author, Eve Kalinik and leading life coach, Jaqueline Hurst.

SKIN

Our skin is a mirror of what is happening in our lives, and this mirror reflects our emotions too. Negative emotions such as chronic stress have a tangible effect on our skin’s health that presents as inflammation, breakouts, impaired barrier function, and exacerbating pre-existing conditions such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema. It can also reduce our immunity which can lead to flare-ups of herpes simplex virus (cold sores) and increase irritation.

When we are struggling with tricky times in our lives or experiencing skin conditions that are taking a toll on our mental wellbeing, there are many ways your skincare routine can help you and your skin feel better.

Take time with your routine – your skin is a sensory organ that responds to touch. Touch is such an important part of human life; a simple handhold or hug can make you feel connected and secure and you can incorporate the benefits of touch into your skincare routine. Spending time touching and nourishing the skin will help you connect with yourself. Facial massage has also been shown to reduce the heart rate and decrease stress levels. This simple act, done regularly is a little way you can show yourself some love and care.

Focus on reducing inflammation- stress and negative emotions increase inflammation in the skin so if your skin is showing the signs of stress, look for calming ingredients such as organic silicon, sea buckthorn oil, and chamomile as well as hydrating and barrier reinforcing hyaluronic acid and vitamin B. These will help to restore the skin and bring down any redness and discomfort.

Be kind to your skin – this is the most important one! Even when you and your skin are hardly on speaking terms, it’s so important to show your skin kindness. Step away from the stripping masks, stop squeezing and picking, and appreciate everything your skin does for you – it’s so much more than what you can see on the surface.

Essential Serum
Pfeffer Sal
Essential Serum
£85.00
de-Stress Oil
Synergie Skin
de-Stress Oil
£70.00

GUT

It’s not our skin that can be influenced by our mental wellbeing, our gut is too and interestingly the microbes in our digestive system produce 90% of our happy hormone, serotonin, so ‘gut feelings’ is not just a turn of phrase. We spoke to Eve Kalinik who's fantastic book Happy Gut, Happy Mind that explores this in much more detail.

Eve's Top Tips for a Happy Gut and Mind

Eat the rainbow – diversity in our diet is one of the simplest ways to improve our gut health. This way you will get many different types of fibre, promoting a diverse microbiome. Easy ways to do this is to make some seed mixes, changing up your grains, and trying lots of different fruits and vegetables.  

 

Get in touch with your Vagus nerve - The Vagus nerve is our body's communication highway and part of our parasympathetic nervous system. By stimulating the Vagus nerve, you can start to return to the rest and digest state and one way you can do this is through diaphragmatic breathing. Eve suggests a routine of:⁠

Breathe in for 4 / hold for 4 / breathe out for 4 / hold for 4. ⁠

This routine will help your vagus nerve bring you back to the rest and digest mode, reducing stress levels. ⁠

 

Phone off / Sleep on – spending so much time on our devices, especially in the evening has an effect on our sleep hormone, melatonin which can lead to fewer hours and poorer quality sleep as well as messing with our circadian rhythms. Not only can this affect our mental wellbeing and skin health, but our microbes are also affected by this change too! Eve suggests no devices 1 hour before bed to help you totally switch off and achieve restful sleep.

MIND

When it comes to creating a more positive mental state, and working on improving confidence, you won’t find many that match Jacqueline Hurst in terms of expertise. A leading life coach who’s treated over 6000 clients, we were lucky enough that Jacqueline shared some of her wisdom on how to tackle negative thinking and build a better relationship with yourself!

Jacqueline's Top Tips for a Healthier Mental State

Be aware of your thoughts and feelings – you are in control of your thoughts, so if you’re feeling sad/stressed/anxious try to locate HOW you are feeling and then WHY. This awareness will help you then take the right steps in working towards a better mental state.

 

If you wouldn’t say something to a friend, why are you saying it to yourself?We are most commonly our own worst critic. If you’re finding yourself consistently projecting negative thoughts about yourself or your skin, then ask ‘would you say this to your friend or family member’. The answer will be no! Any mean comments you wouldn’t say to others, don’t have a place in your relationship with yourself.

 

Remember- you’re human - We are living in a visual society that is mainly based on imagery that isn’t real. Don’t forget that it’s normal to have breakouts, it’s normal for skin not to look airbrushed and perfect! Don’t punish yourself for being human – show yourself some love instead!