The link to stress and skin

• When Rick Fried, MD, PhD, gave a talk at a dermatology conference seven years ago on the relationship between psychological and dermatological problems, at least one dermatologist in the audience was skeptical about the mind/body connection. Then another dermatologist stepped to Fried’s defense, telling her colleague that before he attacked Fried he should at least make sure his zipper was up. The skeptic’s fly wasn’t really down, but his deep blush vividly illustrated the impact that emotions have on the body’s largest organ — the skin.

• Dermatologists are much more accepting of the field now known as psychodermatology

• The role that stress and other psychological issues play in acne, psoriasis, eczema, itching, hives and other skin problems is being heavily researched

• Treating the social anxiety, depression and other psychological issues that can arise when people have overtly noticeable skin conditions.

• So to help the client deal with dermatological conditions or help people avoid melanoma and other skin problems in the first place



The Science

The parasympathetic nervous system is our calming system. When we activate this system we let go and relax something people mostly do only when they arrive at a holiday destination or in a massage room (and even then some don’t).

The sympathetic nervous system is the one that secretes adrenaline to deal with stressful situations like a lion coming out of the bush! Or in our day and age the urgency, overwork, panic and feeling of pressure. This sends a message to your body to use energy to get yourself out of the situation. There are two sources to get this energy – fat and sugar – and it will usually go straight for glucose. Thus you store fat rather than burning it and your clothes get tighter. Combine this with the fact that the energy you get from glucose is not stable and consistent and it creates highs and lows of energy until eventually your body becomes stressed, skin congested, your tired and/or overweight.

The Flight or fight response is designed to counteract danger by mobilising the body’s resources for immediate physical activity. As a result, the heart rate and force of contraction of the heart increases to provide blood to the areas that may need to response to the stressful situation. Blood is shunted away from the skin and internal organs, except the heart and lung, while at the same time the amount of blood supplying needed oxygen and glucose to the muscles and brain is increased, the rate of breathing increases to supply necessary oxygen to the heart, brain, and exercising muscle. Sweat production increases to eliminate toxic compounds produced by the body and to lower body temperature. Production of digestive secretions is severely reduced since digestive activity is not critical for counteracting stress. And, blood sugar levels are increased dramatically as the liver dumps stored glucose into the bloodstream to provide a quick and easy source of energy.

The pituitary gland (the master gland of the entire hormonal system of the body, which is located at the center of the base of the brain) is triggered to release a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) which causes the adrenals to secrete adrenaline and other stress – related hormones, like cortisol.


In a 2014 National Rosacea Society survey of 1,675 patients with rosacea — a condition that causes facial redness and related symptoms — 90 percent of respondents reported lowered self esteem and self-confidence, 54 percent reported anxiety and helplessness, and 43 percent reported depression, for example. More than half said they avoided face-to-face contact.


“Stress can affect our skin & body just like an overload of free radicals from food or our environment.”

How to minimise “OXIDATIVE STRESS”
• Protection from free radical damage
• Stress minimise
• Antioxidants daily
• Reduce Toxicity
• Reduce inflammation
• Stimulate energy production

Stress & Skin Microbiome

The excessive or chronic stress situation can have undesirable effects on the skin. Researchers are beginning to learn more about an important link between gut health and skin health, and how stress can play a prominent role in this connection. The gut microbiome, made of trillions of microorganisms along with chemicals they produce, is vital to our overall health. These microbial communities ideally live in harmony with one another, helping to provide us with vitamins, assisting in digestion, and regulating immune functions. Alterations, or unwanted changes, in the gut microbiome have been associated with being an important determinant of skin health.
Stress induced alterations in the gut microbiome may be one explanation for why you always seem to get a breakout during stressful events or in other demanding circumstances.
There is a well-established association between stress and worsening of skin diseases, and although the exact mechanisms are not clear, the link between emotional stress and the diversity and function of our gut microbiome appears true. Incorporating stress reduction techniques, such as exercise and meditation, can help improve mental health to possibly improve health of our gut microbiome as well as improve skin health.

Did you know that in the last 80 years antibiotic use has wiped out natural fermentation and microbial populations in the gut, killing off pathogenic species but also friendly beneficial bacteria and the pathogenic of course are the first to grow back. Seratonin, Dopamine and melatonin are all manufactured in relation to the gut microbiome. Various strains of probiotics can produce neurotransmitters that counter balance anxiety (GABA), stress (Cortisol) and depression. Therefore having a healthy gut means a clear dashboard of communication between our gut and our brain for mood and calm.

Mood Foods

There is a dietary link to depression. Put brain and our gut and our skin are all connected. People consuming a highly processed diet are more likely to have depression in the future. Thus the focus on wellbeing is a priority and regulating blood sugar, increasing amino acids are essential, increasing good oils and probiotics. Food can impact the way we feel…..what a fascinating notion!!!

The gut and brain are connected through the vagus nerve, which is why we need to focus on the balance of both areas as a holistic system influencing one other,The gut connection to mood is scientifically proven. Targeting your gut health can result in the  elevation of serotonin production (mood, sleep and feel good hormones) and can support hormone clearance and balance whilst increasing the production of progesterone (our relaxation and anti-anxiety hormone).


Let food be your medicine every chance you get.

The natural supplements I prescribe and have created through hand picked design are some of the richest medicines we have available to us on earth. These are called phytonutrients and are plants that create therapeutic change in the cells of your body. They support the natural mechanics of the body and mind and easy cellular availability because they are plants (they are easily recognised and absorbed by the cells of the body). They are delivered as a concentrated form of a plant ingredient (with an active constituent with scientific research behind it) placed into a vegetable capsule. Plant medicine is therapeutic medicine and is essential to balance bodily systems, and can be used instead of using pharmaceutical medications.


“ All the tiny decisions you make through out the day make your lifestyle ”

Consultation Process

What is your stress level out of 10?
Have you noticed your skin is worse with stress?
Is your skin worse around menses?
What habits do you have to reduce stress?
Are you on medications for stress?

Would you like to know how we can alter the stress levels and change the stress related breakouts or changes?


  • Lower the stress response through environment eg. Clearing Space techniques
  • Set up a space in there ecosystem where they feel tranquil and relaxed
  • Self Care rituals to appreciate the parts to there skin and body that they are grateful for
  • Give positive re-enforcement that there skin is improving
  • Prescribe the Nutrition to take daily (see Below)
  • Give them the PDF on anti-inflammatory foods ( see below)
  • Offer a service to lower stress – facial or massage once a month
  • Reassurance is the key from a place of authenticity “ Beauty is in the Eye of the beholder”
  • Movement – Breath. This is something that brings anxiousness to a hault. Deep Diaphramatic breathing awakens the Psoas Muscel which in turn calms the sympathetic NS down.
  • Exercises like Tai chi and Quigong & yoga asist this process and should be recommended
  • Encourage Sleep – healthy patterns of sleep repair the skin and balance stress

Eg. Chamomile tea before bed, Clean Tea before bed, lavender and vetiver on the soles of the feet or few drops on the pillow


Here is an Intro into Postural Breathing (Chiropractic)

This is about getting your feet bare in the earth, sand, dirt or grass.
Grounding is a practice some of us do naturally, or used to as children, but with the busy lifestyle of today we forget how to breathe in way that is life giving and instead we breath from stress and the sympathic nervous system.
I learnt this technique from Adrian Testa (a chiropractor and breathing coach) who showed me that when you encompass postural breathing with two senses (such as vision, sound, smell, touch or kinaesthetic) you completely relax and regenerate your nervous system. It’s almost impossible to worry or feel anxious when these elements are engaged together. Enjoy this practice as part of your daily rituals to lower your acidity, stress and worry.
…breathe into you body, as you breathe in feel you ribs expand and as
you exhale feel your abdomen rise and pull in, see the energy from your
breath shoot straight down to your feet – out through your feet and then into
the ground or earth or sand,
deep deep down into the earth and feel the
resonance of nature here and now, its strength, its calm.
Keep breathing.
Allow anything now you don’t want to think about fall away and then breathe up and from
the ground allow the earth’s healing energy come up through the soles of your feet coming
up up and through your body filling your body with a grounded life giving energy that extends
right through you body and out through your crown and out into the atmosphere.
Keep breathing in (ribs) and
out (abdomen). Feel connected and at peace to be right where you are exactly
as you should, everything is good here and now everything is as it should be
when you have your connection and grounding you are in touch with yourself.
You are breathing for your wellness and health.
SO off you go find some soil, sand or grass barefoot
and ground yourself with postural breathing.


  • ILLUMINATION – B vitamins lower stress and help adaption of the responses of feeling stressed or anxious
  • B12 Cyanocobalamin essential for normal cell function – DNA synthesis, benefits in times of stress (stress- inflammatory to the body and skin).
  • B5 Pantothenic Acid produces cellular energy (ATP-adenosyntriphosphate), assists normal hormone synthesis and adrenal support in stress, supports skin renewal and healing of minor wounds by supporting wound closure, acne control.
  • B6 Pyridoxine balances hormones, skin renewal, and assists the stress response. zinc & selenium are important for the neurotransmitters to balance and build these hormones that are in charge of balancing the normal stress response, magnesium although not in high dose will enable the calming oil the muscles and erratic changes that occur in the Nervous system when it comes to always being in flight or fight mode
  • Elevate – Withania – and adrenal adaptor to maintain a balance in the Adrenalin produced by the adrenals in times of stress. Withania
  • Good Oil – Nerve cells need fats to conduct messages to one another in a balance way. When we are deficient in these
  • Curcumin – stress has been known to create mild inflammation of the brain tissue in some cases which affects the proper building of neurotransmitters. Bringing down this inflammation can be a positive approach to lowering stress
  • Resveratrol – cuts into the stress response of the cell, supports brain activity

These foods are anti-inflammatory foods which means they bring down the active markers that puts our body into a zone of inflammatory response. This also means that there are certain medicinal foods that calm the system through therapeutic benefit Tryptophan – an amino acid, rich foods can be eaten towards bed-time like banana’s, turkey, chicken, yogurt and nuts and seeds to support melatonin production and therefore sleep.Oats (porridge) & Chamomile, are known for their calming qualities

Digest-Zen – essential oil blend Calm’s the digestion and for gut related problems from stress begins to restore balance in the digestion and gives support for building enzymes
Anti-inflammatory Foods
“ Stress creates inflammation in the skin and body”
Here are a list of your top 15 anti-inflammatory foods:
Green leafy vegetables, Bok Choy, Celery, Beets, Broccoli,
Blueberries, Pineapple, Salmon ( Fish oils ), Bone broths, Walnuts,
Coconut Oil, Flaxseeds, Tumeric (Curcumin), Ginger.
Digestion & Gut Health Promoting Foods
These foods support digestion which we know affect the health and
vitality of our skin and body. It is the core of our health.
Here are some outstanding foods to add:Pineapple, apple cider vinegar – lemon juice add to water in
the morning before meals, beetroot (Elevate Skin food powder)
,Barberry root (Clean Tea), Slippery Elm ( Elevate Skin Food powder), Curcumin,
ginger, peppermint (Clean Tea), bone broth (recipe on, kale & spinach (Elevate), Resveratrol (prebiotic)
Kombucha, artichoke, yogurt, onions, garlic, fibre rich foods and colourful root
vegetables(Elevate) are your mood foods. A habitually healthy whole food diet can diversify
the gut bacteria and the breaking down of fibre into bi-products that lower inflammation and
helps to keep the gut barrier in tack.
Our Gut Microbiota needs organic vegetables to use for energy and food to stay alive and grow to maintain gut health. We learn more about this in our next module on GUT. For now its all about the Influence our stress levels have on our skin and what we can so about this to have a lasting affect over skin conditions that are worse when stressed, and don’t improve because of external long standing stress.

When we fully immerse ourselves in anything we reap the rewards, wisdom and outcome we desire and often if we do ….. we experience outcomes that are unforseen to us in the beginning because it is only in expanding that we can truly see things arise from that new mindset and knowledge that was not visible before.