Mind-Body-Beauty Connection

” Beauty comes from within” is an adage we have all heard. As a beauty expert, I spend my days discussing concerns about appearances and addressing them with various devices and injectables. I’ve treated men and women from all over the country, and I am here to tell you that beauty definitely comes from within. Yes, we can reduce wrinkles and enhance lips. We can clear up a whole host of skin concerns. But at the heart of it is the confidence, the smile, the zest for life, and the vibrant health radiating from within that makes a person truly beautiful. In this article, I will discuss some strategies for harnessing the mind-body-beauty connection.

Sleep Hygiene
Celebrities often cite sleeping and drinking lots of water as their secret to beauty. It is true that eight hours a night of good, consistent sleep is ideal and allows for the regenerative process of the skin to be optimized. Regeneration of all of the body’s cells is thought to occur during the night. We all know how difficult it can be to get uninterrupted sleep. We cannot always control our worries, but we can attempt to stack the odds in our favor as much as possible. Good sleep hygiene means that we limit caffeine to the morning hours, wind down in the evening with minimal screen time just before bed, steady temperature and humidity control in our bedrooms, and take melatonin sleep supplements. Sheets that wick away moisture and low ambient light—perhaps a motion sensor night light instead of one that stays on—are hacks for uninterrupted sleep.

Stress Management
High cortisol levels and stress make every skin condition worse. And going into prolonged “emergency mode” due to high stress or illness puts our bodies on reserve mode. In that state, the body reduces keratin production and shunts resources to vital organs. This means that skin and hair cell turnover, i.e., hair growth and skin renewal, are reduced. Similar to good sleep, stress management is an enigma for
many. Besides trying to put things in perspective, the strategies my patients have found helpful are yoga, meditation, counseling, acupuncture, and Reiki healing. Indeed, relaxation while tapping into the spiritual aspects of our nature is helpful in reducing stress.

Joyful Pursuits
The world is opening up (on and off), and it’s time to get back to socializing. Studies show that centenarians often live longer because they have a rich social network. They laugh, support each other, play games, and dine together. This is an important aspect of life that has been hindered lately. It is best to make a standing “date” with friends so that something is on the social calendar when you get to the end of your week. Remember that these social gatherings don’t have to be large, fancy, or involve excess drinking. Fun is free and safe and available to you now!

Limit Limiting Beliefs
If you love to sing, sing! If you love to dance, do so! There is an epidemic of limiting beliefs with ideas such as “I’m too old to start now” and “I’m not good at that.” It doesn’t really matter whether or not you are a professional at something you enjoy. Whether it be dancing, singing, gardening, or sewing, you should do it if it makes you happy. After all, a smile on your face makes you beautiful.

Exercise
Exercise increases stamina and blood flow to the brain and organs. It flushes the body through sweating and releases endorphins for a feeling of well-being. The benefits of exercise are innumerable. Exercise can be walking and talking, tennis, yoga, intense cardio, or dancing. It can be structured or unstructured body movement, but it should be done consistently. Yoga has the benefit of increasing flexibility, balance, and muscle strength—all while reducing stress. I personally love yoga the best.

Massage
Massage and body treatments increase blood flow to the skin and create an opportunity for deep relaxation. It is at the times when we are most stressed that we “need” a massage, and yet, that is the time when we are least likely to schedule one. It’s important during high-stress times to carve out that hour or two to get a reset.

Learning a New Skill
It is therapeutic to learn a new skill. How do you make wine? Can you learn the cross-stitch? Have you ever gone wakesurfing? Do you know how to use your iPhone to take professional photos? Can you read tarot cards? Can you bake sourdough bread? The world is full of wonders waiting for you to explore. If you are in a rut, find a sweet new hobby and try to refine it. In the process, you will be stimulating and renewing brain cells and gaining precious life moments.

Self-care
Self-care can be a slippery slope when you don’t feel good. This is when consistency is key. Don’t think; just do. If you neglect yourself, you will find yourself feeling worse and worse. Things become chaotic and out of control. Rather than deciding to do your morning and evening regimens, just do them automatically at the same time as you brush your teeth. Active ingredients in products are important, but the aspect of valuing yourself enough to do self-care is key.

If the external form is not radiating beauty from within, we are looking at a veneer or a shell that can only sustain attention temporarily. I have seen firsthand what stress and illness can do to the skin. We have all noticed the four-year transformation of practically every president in office: Time-zone changes, sleep disturbance, stress, and extreme responsibility can accelerate aging. Hopefully, some of the strategies I mentioned here are helpful to you—for your mind-body-beauty connection.

The statements in this article are for general informational purposes only and do not substitute for individual medical advice.

By Anna Guanche, MD, FAAD
Board-Certified Dermatologist
Bella Skin Institute