You’re stressed with work. Your friend suggests spraying your pillow with some lavender oil. You’re tired after a long week of partying and studying. Your yoga teacher recommends a nice ayurvedic massage. You’ve got a twinge of pain in your back muscles. Your mom hands you an ointment with some menthol in it.
Fragrances like lavender, eucalyptus and herbal oils have been helping us combat stress, fatigue, pain and even the blues for centuries, from ancient India’s ayurvedic practises to the Persian perfumes, from the far eastern healing traditions to the Romans and their scented baths. We’ve always known that these substances and techniques somehow send signals to our brain through the sense of smell or touch, cooling or heating, to relieve stress and invigorate our senses. The science behind their soothing, relaxing or energising effects is being explored on a deeper level now, and along the way, some surprising added benefits have been discovered!
The huge expanse of our skin protects our body. But it is also covered in sensitive nerve receptors that receive stimuli from inside or outside, and send messages about those stimuli to the brain. This happens when the receptors bind with tiny neurotransmitters and rush off to the spinal cord, via the complex pathways of the nervous system. The brain then sends a message back which helps to react to the stimulus, or to fix the problem, as the case may be. The bearers of these messages, the crucial neurotransmitters, help to modulate the responses of our bodies to any stimuli.
Once this was understood, skin scientists began to experiment with how we could influence or enhance this intricate system so that the brain could receive more beneficial signals and thus have a more positive effect on the skin. And the reverse was also seen to be true! If the skin’s nervous system – the receptors and transmitters could be impacted positively, if they could be soothed, the brain could feel good too!
What emerged from this was an exciting new development: clean beauty neurocosmetics. Extracted from natural sources, these products contain ingredients like beta-endorphins that mimic the body’s natural responses to good feelings. They optimize the effectiveness, or increase the production of neurotransmitters the body produces like oxytocin and dopamine that are our happiness spreaders, creating a feeling of well-being in the whole body and mind. Which means our mind-body balance is maintained and our mood is boosted by just applying a product to our skin! And the best part? They are great for the skin’s health, too!!
While creating harmony and balance in your mind and senses, these products reduce the production of cortisol, which the body produces when it is stressed in any way. They help to stabilize the body’s immediate reaction to stress. This is good news, because cortisol is a major cause of rapid ageing, inflammation and cell degeneration. It also affects the production of collagen, that all-important substance which helps our skin cells stay healthy and young. If our skin is healthy, then skin cells can be renewed at a good rate. By giving our skin this superpower, we ensure that it can protect itself extremely well against external factors like pollution and UV damage, and internal factors that might be impacting it like our mental stress, or bad diets.
Clean beauty neurocosmetics are almost miraculous products which just by applying on our scalp or skin, help us elevate our mood, while making our skin and hair look better too! Some ingredients plump up the skin, others reduce hypersensitivity. Yet others reduce dandruff, wrinkles and lines or redness and dullness.
When you look in the mirror, if you look good, you feel good, anyway. But these products add an extra layer to this: whether its stress, tension, fatigue, or just a plain old bad mood, they banish it, replacing it with energy, relaxation, well-being and radiance!