Clear Healthy Skin:

How to Have Clear, Healthy Skin

Part 2

By Dr. Ben Kim

In part one of this series on How to Have Clear and Healthy Skin, we reviewed the makeup and functions of human skin, and presented 9 natural ways to promote healthy skin.

This article looks at the powerful influence that your emotions have on the health of your skin.

How Your Emotions Influence Your Skin

Consider the experience of feeling embarrassed in front of others and instantly feeling your skin turn warm and red. Blushing is one of many examples of the ongoing powerful connection that exists between your emotions and your skin.

Your emotions exert ongoing control over the tone of your autonomic nervous system, which in turn, exerts ongoing control over your skin's blood supply. As mentioned in part one of this series, the quality of blood supply that your skin receives is a chief determinant of its ability to be nourished and cleansed from the inside out.

Because of the ongoing influence that your emotions have over the health of your skin, it's quite possible to have a skin condition worsen or enter a chronic state due to feeling anxious about the skin condition. For example, developing acne on your face may cause you to feel self conscious about your appearance, which activates your body's stress response system via your nervous, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems; this will likely cause the acne to heal more slowly and maybe even result in new acne formation. This cycle can repeat itself many times over if you don't break the anxiety-stress response cycle.

So your skin is no different than all of your other organs in that its health is partly determined by your emotional health status. The more balanced, peaceful, compassionate, and confident you feel, the healthier your skin is likely to be. And if you are currently feeling anxious about a skin challenge, you can significantly improve your chances of healing by working at feeling emotionally balanced and strong. For some suggestions on how to do this, please view:

How to Overcome Chronic Fear and Anxiety

An excellent book that covers a number of exercises that can employ your mind-body connection to create clear and healthy skin is:

Skin Deep: A Mind/Body Program for Healthy Skin - this is the book that introduced me to the idea that our skin, more than any other organ, is a window into our emotional health status. I consider it a must-read for anyone suffering with a chronic skin condition.

Suggestions for Addressing Common Skin Conditions

Eczema - In adults and children alike, the most important recommendation is to avoid all pasteurized dairy products, and in most cases, to even avoid raw organic dairy products as well. My experience has been that for many long-time sufferers of eczema, following this guideline alone can result in a full recovery. Of course, it's important to differentiate between food allergy-related eczema and contact dermatitis that is caused by external contact with an irritant like perfume, a detergent, or certain types of fabric.

Melasma - Melasma is a hyperpigmentation condition that typically involves the formation of dark spots on the forehead, cheeks, or upper lip area. It’s often triggered by taking oral contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, or other circumstances that involve significant changes in one's endocrine system, such as pregnancy, menopause, or a period of significant emotional or physical distress.

Though melasma sometimes regresses on its own, healing can be accelerated by limiting exposure to mid-day sunlight and following my guidelines on addressing estrogen dominance.

If regular exposure to mid-day sunlight is unavoidable, it may be helpful to use a natural sunscreen, one that contains a physical blocker like zinc dioxide.

If uncomfortable symptoms such as muscle weakness, chronic fatigue, unexplained headaches, and achy joints accompany hyperpigmentation, it's important to get evaluated by a physician to rule out Addison's disease.

Tinea Versicolor - Tinea Versicolor is a yeast infection that results in patches of white skin, usually on the trunk. It is best addressed by following a plant-based diet that is low in refined carbohydrates, especially sugar and sugary snacks.

Please note: If you would like to see more specific guidelines on other common skin challenges, please let me know via the comments section below. In most cases, beyond working on your emotional health status and following the natural skin care tips found in part one of this series, there are other specific natural therapies that can help facilitate healing, such as intake of various herbs.

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