Emotions and thoughts are all energy. We recognize the influence of energy on our lives – the careers we choose, our lifestyle and our relationships. Energy also impacts the body inside and out – and nowhere is that more obvious than the skin. As a skin care professional, there’s a real opportunity for a holistic approach that helps your clients understand the importance of mind-body healing – treating the root cause and not just alleviating symptoms.
Ayurveda, one of the most ancient mind-body health systems in the world, maintains that holistic health is achieved through the balance of the five elements—space, air, water, fire, and earth—as evidenced by the three doshas: vata (air/space), pitta (fire/water) and kapha (water/earth).
How can you help your clients find their balance? A simple starting point to look at where they may have lost it. Rashes, skin irritation, flakiness and breakouts are all clues that the mind-body needs support. The skin is your blueprint to reading your client’s overall health. Over time and with practice, you can listen to what your client’s skin is telling you – going deeper than the epidermis to the heart of the problem.
The following are simple examples of skin conditions and ideas on what they may be communicating. As the expert, you can demonstrate to your client how to listen to what their skin is saying to them while keeping track of changes that influence like diet, lifestyle, stress, hormones, age, the seasons, and climate changes.
Dry/dehydrated/premature aging: Dry, dehydrated, flaky skin may indicate an excess of vata energy that manifesting externally. Vata is dry, brittle, light, and airy with the propensity for lots of movement and a restless nature. Routine is strongly recommended to bring the body into balance. If skin is tight, rough in texture or dehydrated, encourage your clients to incorporate routines that support hydration, flexibility and relaxation.
Inflammation/Irritation: This skin type or condition may have an excess of pitta that shows up on the skin. Pitta rules digestion (digestive fire). That fire must cooled or it will manifest as redness, rashes and blemish-prone. Advice for this client? Slow down, eat cooling foods, manage moods and stress.
Congested: Oily skin with clogged pores, skin that appears thick and smooth but lacks a “glow” may be an excess of kapha manifesting through the skin. Kapha types tend to be stubborn, slow moving and do not like change. Restoring balance for kapha overflow include letting go and going with the flow. Simple cleansing, exfoliating and daily exercise will help as well.
The skin is part of the total mind-body ecosystem. So, it makes sense that what is happening on the inside will show up on the outside. Ayurveda says, “The physician is within.” The best way to treat the problem is to understand what is causing it. Part of the practice of holistic esthetics is going beyond treating just the skin symptoms and addressing the cause. If a client is plagued with frequent or constant breakouts, facials and skincare products will only take them so far if their lifestyle remains unhealthy.
The best place to develop an understanding of what the skin is telling you is with yourself. I’m reminded of the quote: “A healer is one who has made a life-long commitment to their own healing.” The more we explore, the better we can help our clients listen to what their skin is telling them, and how to heal it.