Psychodermatolgy is an emerging field. Interestingly one of the first dermatologists to present his findings was approached by a sceptic who was told his fly was down- this simple cognition of making a mistake caused a great flushing of the man’s face thereby proving the dermatologists’ point! Emotions can and do affect the skin. Common dermatological issues documented to be made worse by stress are psoriasis, rosacea, acne itching, eczema and hives.
Psychologists with a special interest in psychodermatology include imaging, meditation, and hypnosis in their arsenal. Dr Grossbart, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School states “the key is to help patients focus on an image associated with the desired change, whether its warmer, cooler, dryer, moister or less itchy skin…a patient with eczema, for instance, might zero in on the image of a tropical rainforest to counteract the drying the condition brings”. In one of his findings, his patients who listened to a mindfulness meditation programme while undergoing phototherapy treatment for psoriasis needed 40 percent less exposure to UV light than others.
The Use of Aromatherapy for Skin Treatments
What you can do for yourself is to create a facial ritual of emotional aromatherapy for a little home help. It’s important to give yourself some time to help calm your nervous system from sympathetic dominance, or the flight fright response that is ever present in our world–this subject requires a whole new blog so stay tuned!
Aromatherapy has been around for a very long time, in fact since 3500BC. Experts think aromatherapy activates the smell receptors sending messages through your nervous system to the brain such as the limbic system, an area that plays a role in your emotions. It is thought to also impact the hypothalamus, which may react by secreting serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical. Benefits of aromatherapy include easing of stress, anxiety, depression, improving sleep, fighting bacteria when placed on the skin, easing certain types of pain including kidney, arthritis in joints of the knee, and easing some side effects of some cancer treatments such as nausea, pain and stress.
The Weekly Emotional Skin Routine
So, let’s get cracking and create a ritual to help you, your mind, and your skin. We will start with a weekly routine so as not to create a time stress problem.
We like to use organic and wildcrafted where possible with 100% eco certified approved ingredients so we are particular regarding brands we use. We will just cover one item to start, a simple ritual of a Wild Berry beautiful honey-based cleanser, exfoliant and masque all in one, full of antioxidants and the purest New Zealand halloysite clay. Crushed hibiscus petals and the enzymes from the honey dissolve dead skin cells and gently exfoliate while halloysite and zeolite clays remove toxins. Maqui Berry counteracts pollutant induced skin damage. The aromatherapy ingredients include grapefruit, lavender, wild orange and neroli-one of my favourites!
Grapefruit – The Oil of Honouring the Body – Grapefruit teaches true respect and appreciation for one’s physical body.
Lavender – Aids verbal expression and calms the mind. Lavender encourages emotional honesty and insists that one speaks their innermost thoughts and desires.
Wild Orange – The Oil of abundance fosters creativity and supports a positive mood. It reconnects you with your inner child and supports spontaneity, fun, joy and playfulness.
Neroli – Unifying and stabilizing it is particularly helpful for calming troubled hearts in relationship conflict. Promotes harmony in relationships.
Keep this masque on for at least 10 minutes and to maximize the calm, listen to music that gives you joy and lie on a large blanket roll that runs up and down your spine, bending your knees, slow deep breathing from your abdomen, opening up your chest- this all helps calms the nervous system. When done, wet a face cloth with warm water, and deeply inhale as you remove the masque. We like to follow this by using Bakuchiol, a plant-based Vitamin A product with the same benefits without the drying, sensitivity, or photosensitivity.
Most importantly, take care of yourself and ask for help if required.