woman with glowing skin
Featured Products
The Honest Youth™
The Honest Youth™
Collagen + Skin Support
Mind Over Matter®
Mind Over Matter®
Focus + Cognition Support
Chill the F* Out™
Chill the F* Out™
Stress Support

Communication between the brain and skin is a two-way street

The mind-body connection has been recognized as an axis of health since antiquity, from the ancient Greeks to traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. Only in the last few decades has modern medicine begun to rediscover the validity of these holistic concepts, as research evidence begins to validate the science behind mind-body health. An offshoot of this research has uncovered what psychodermatologists (brain and skin experts) term the brain-skin axis.1 The brain and the skin are interconnected and communicate through a bidirectional pathway. This means that stress and other psychological factors can affect skin health, and conversely, skin health can affect our mental state.

How stress shows up on your skin

As the largest organ in the body, the skin is the first line of defense as a protective barrier against the external environment, but it also outwardly reflects a multitude of internal processes, from liver health to mental health. Mental stress can increase skin irritation, inflammation, redness, dryness, and itching, impair wound healing and skin barrier function, and even suppress immunity, as some immune cells are present on the skin2. Beyond stress, other changes in mood or mental states can also show up in the skin. It’s no coincidence that when your vibe is low, you may also notice an acne flare-up, facial puffiness, or dark circles under your eyes. Neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, which are known to play a role in mood, also have some involvement in skin health3. Herbs that support a balanced stress response and healthy moods can have secondary skin health benefits. Reishi mushroom, for example, can nurture healthy skin both by supporting a healthy stress response, and also by providing skin nourishing factors such as beta-glucans. Reishi can be found in these stress and skin-supporting herbal formulas: Mind Over Matter®, Chill the F* Out™, and The Honest Youth™.

Stress triggers inflammation

Inflammation is your body's natural defense mechanism, but too much of it can wreak havoc. Chronic stress can rev up your body's inflammatory response in counterproductive ways. Mental stress activates the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis—a trio of glands that handle the body’s stress response. These glands release hormones like cortisol, which can trigger systemic inflammation and exacerbate skin woes. High levels of cortisol can activate mast cells, a type of pro-inflammatory skin cell, which can contribute to skin issues like itchiness and irritation4. Stressors which increase systemic inflammation, can be reflected in the health of your skin. Inflammation can exacerbate skin irritation, redness, and dryness, which impairs the epidermal barrier function, reducing your skin’s ability to protect itself from environmental stressors. Because the skin is constantly exposed to the outside world, and ever-changing environmental variables, including UV radiation and temperature variations, it’s more susceptible to environmental stressors than any other organ. Environmental stress that disrupts the epidermal barrier can impair the skin’s ability to lock in moisture, and can also prolong repair processes in the epidermis. Time-tested natural ingredients like reishi and tremella mushrooms, found in The Honest Youth™ can help boost collagen, fortify skin, and lock in moisture for a healthier glow. Stress, whether environmental or psychological, can increase reactive oxygen species that cause free radical damage linked with inflammation. In addition, antioxidant-rich herbs like Japanese knotweed, and herbs high in vitamin C, like amla and acerola, also found in The Honest Youth™ can help neutralize free radicals that cause oxidative damage and inflammation, to help reduce premature skin aging.

Beautiful skin begins within

Overall wellbeing, including your mental health, is reflected in your skin. Likewise, skin health can affect overall health and mental health. A healthy glow really does come from within. Mind-body practices, such as self-care routines and rituals, can have dual benefits for mental health and skin health. Managing stress can work wonders for your skin and overall health, along with adding skin-loving formulations like The Honest Youth™ to your self-care routines for inside-out beauty. When you look good, you feel good, and when you feel good, you glow from the inside out.

  1. https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/ben/iadt/2014/00000013/00000003/art00005?crawler=true

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8480446

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6490488

  4. https://doi.org/10.2174%2F1871528113666140522104422

Vanessa Mardones, PhD

Written by Vanessa Mardones, PhD

Herbalist & Ethnobotanist