Guest Post: The Depth of Skin Health: Going Beyond Skin Deep

 Just as complex as the soul that lives behind all of our eyes, is our skin and the messages that it communicates with us. What first might appear as a surface level, beautified infused practice, skincare holds the key to our overall wellness.

Our skin tells a story and as soon as we can learn how to interpret and understand what it is saying, the better we can understand how to help ourselves. 

The skin is our first immunity defense mechanism, protecting us from internal and external stressors. It has a deep connection with our blood to provide us with nourishment and our lymph to help us detox.

It regulates our body temperature and helps us adapt to new environments. It reflects and carries the years that we have been alive all while encompassing an entire ecosystem! If we can understand how to read our skin, we can use our skincare practice as a mirror to what our bodies are trying to tell us. 

There is a deep connection between our mind and body, and in our case today, skin! We call it psychodermatology and this refers to the way we think and how that makes us feel to the way our skin represents that and displays those messages. It starts and ends with our nervous system and cortisol levels. In this blog, I talk about the origin of our brain and skin and share some science around it. 

We know that our sympathetic nervous system is responsible for getting us out of stressful situations and our parasympathetic nervous system helps us relax, rest, and digest.

So, what happens when our body is constantly in a state of chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system and how does our skin try to communicate with us during these stressful times?

There are a handful of very common signs that our skin will use to communicate with us when we have had too much:

  • Poor wound healing, including healing from acne breakouts
  • And while we’re on the subject…increased acne breakouts
  • Increased redness and inflammation
  • Extreme polarizing cases of excess oil production or dryness
  • Increased hyperpigmentation
  • Thinning of the skin and a decrease in protein synthesis (aka: collagen) which typically shows up as increased fine lines and wrinkles
  • Eczema & psoriasis
  • Dull, lacklust appearance due to not being able to fully absorb vitamins & nutrients
  • Hives, rashes
  • Rosacea  

The way we think deeply influences the way our skin shows up and that is because, when we have certain thoughts, chemicals get released and communicate with the rest of our body (hello, hormones.)

This is why just thinking of something that stresses us out can immediately increase our heart rate, make our breathing shallow, and increase sweat production.

We are constantly surrounded by triggers that can stimulate the sympathetic nervous system such as poor quality foods, our daily environment, our jobs, money, relationships, etc. 

The thing to remember is when we feel out of sorts, and our skin starts to reflect our stressed state of being, the key is not to get frustrated and stress out even more. Our skin is our best friend and is reminding us that it is time to dive into pieces of life that bring us joy! When this happens, it is our job to figure out what we can do to tap into our parasympathetic nervous system.  

Here are a few ideas if you need help coming up with some ways to relax:

  • Surround yourself with nature: go the botanical gardens or your favorite hiking trail
  • Prepare a meal for yourself that makes you feel nourished and yummy inside
  • Do things to increase your confidence (boudoir shoots with Gabby, duh!)
  • Share your thoughts with your loved ones
  • Meditation and breathing practices
  • Biofeedback 
  • Go sit in a salt cave
  • Get a facial / massage / reiki / acupuncture session (allow yourself to receive love)
  • Take a nap
  • Find the root cause with the help of a naturopathic doctor (blood / hormone tests / etc) 
  • Read a book
  • Plan a vacation: go see new ways the world thinks and operates

The thing is, these things are not just a luxury. They are a necessity to maintain our health and increase our longevity. If we can take the messages that our skin gives us as cues that it is time to take a break, our quality of life can drastically improve.

Skincare can help us craft a life that fulfills us, keeps our nervous systems calm, and reminds us to do things that make us feel good. It teaches us not to listen to FADS that flood our phones and empowers us to learn that we have the resources within our grasp to learn, slowly but surely, how to take care of ourselves.

It celebrates the fact that we are all unique and teaches us to love our differences. Your skincare practice is an investment just like any workout routine, eating plan, or preventative measure you do for your health. 

The most important reminder, do not take yourself (or your skin) so seriously! Learn to approach your skincare with a curious eye and have fun with it!!!

There are as many ways to take care of your skin as there are people in this world.

So, have fun finding your own and don’t hesitate contacting a professional esthetician that can teach you how to interpret the signs your skin gives you.

If you’re in Denver, I’d love to meet you 🙂 


Julia McWilliams


[email protected] 

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