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The Skin-Brain Axis: Exploring Psychodermatology and Neurocosmetics with LUMI!

Have you ever considered that our skin is the main meeting point between the outside world and our inner selves? That our brains and our skin are connected in a multitude of ways, and through these connections, each can bring about incredible change in the other? Welcome to the world of psychodermatology!

Psychodermatology is one of the hottest topics to have come out of skin science in recent years, and the skincare world is alive with discussion on this new frontier of health. It’s a truly fascinating subject, and one that affects all of us every single day, whether we fully understand what it is or not!

“But how can that be?” We hear you ask! Well, whilst psychodermatology might be a relatively new field of study, the connections and consequences that it seeks to understand have been present for as long as there have been humans. 

Did you know, for example, that an estimated 30-60% of dermatologic conditions have a psychiatric component to them? And what are goosebumps when you’re scared, or blushing cheeks at the sight of a crush, if not an obvious connection between your thoughts and your skin?

Interested in learning more? Then read on, as we delve into the world of psychodermatology – what it is, why it’s important, and how neurocosmetics, a branch of skincare that embraces psychodermatology to its fullest, can help make our skin and our minds that much healthier!

And what’s more, we’ll even take a look at how LUMI are utilising neurocosmetics – including a sneak peek of a very special future project of ours. Let’s get started! 

What is Psychodermatology?

Broadly speaking, psychodermatology is the study of the connection between our skin and our brains. You might also hear this connection described as the ‘Skin-Brain Axis’. Psychodermatology looks at the interaction between dermatology and psychiatry, and tries to understand the two-way relationship that exists between skin conditions and mental health conditions.

The skin and brain are connected in multiple different ways. The skin relays messages to the brain, concerning temperature, touch, and pain, to name but a few, and the brain can send messages back, ordering the skin to behave in certain ways. 

This is why, as we mentioned in our intro, emotions felt by the brain may also manifest in the skin – goosebumps when we feel scared, blushing (caused by vasodilation) when we’re embarrassed, or sweating when we feel nervous.

When the skin or the brain are unwell or put under stress, because of the skin-brain axis, it is common for the other organ (and often more besides!) to be affected as well. If something affects both the brain and the skin through their connection, it’s often referred to as a psychodermatologic disorder.

What might a psychodermatologic disorder look like? Well, naturally, these issues can take many forms. Those predominantly based in the brain might be conditions such as anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and many others besides. These conditions, alongside other impacts, put the body under psychological stress.

Psychological stress can have a profound and lasting impact on the skin. By increasing the amount of cortisol, neuropeptides, and oxidation occurring in our bodies, stress can impact skin barrier function, regeneration, inflammation levels, oxidative damage, and also lead to increased pain and sensitivity.

As we mentioned, though, this skin-brain connection is a two-way street. Whilst the brain and its concerns can influence the skin’s functioning, the reverse is also true. Dermatological conditions such as acne, seborrheic dermatitis, and eczema can affect our mood and sense of self-worth, potentially leading to heightened anxiety, depression, or fear of socialising and being outside.

This interconnectedness between skin and brain, with concerns in one area affecting the other and vice versa, can lead to the formation of a vicious cycle, where a feedback loop is created: your skin is in poor condition, which affects your brain negatively, which in turn makes your skin worse, which makes your mood worse, etc.! As you can imagine, and may have even experienced yourself, this can make for an incredibly tough time that is difficult to resolve.

Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom. Just as the skin-brain axis allows for negative feedback loops to emerge, it also allows the opportunity for positive cycles of change. Imagine, if you will, skincare products that can not only improve the condition of your skin, but also have a sizeable positive impact on your psychological health, too. Well, there’s no need to imagine, because they already exist, and they’re called neurocosmetics!

The New World of Neurocosmetics

Neurocosmetics, put simply, are skincare products that use the skin-brain axis to positively effect our minds as well as our skin. 

By utilising nerve endings, Merkel cells (upper layers of skin that recognise touch and temperature), and the central nervous system, these compounds can elicit changes far away from where they’re applied. It’s a truly cutting-edge area of skincare science, and we can guarantee that you’ll hear a lot more about them in the second half of this decade!

Neurocosmetics can be designed to help improve our overall mood through sensory stimuli, or to address specific issues. By targeting nerve clusters, compounds can mimic sensations such as hot, cold, tingling, or pressure, and can use these pseudo-sensations to bring the mind to a happier, more soothed state. It has been shown in a recent study that even something as subtle as a change in product texture can have a recordable impact on human emotions.

Many neurocosmetics are used to treat the signs of aging. Wrinkles are in part caused by excessive stress on the facial muscles caused by neurotransmitters that tell the muscles to contract. By blocking the amount of these transmitters that reach our skin cells, neurocosmetics can relax muscles and soften the appearance of wrinkles.

Similar neurocosmetics have also been developed to make hypersensitive skin less reactive to environmental irritation, and to soothe and reduce inflammation, all by limiting the amount of information passed through and from the brain. These compounds are already showing the incredible promise of neurocosmetics, and they’re sure to be an increasingly vital element of the skincare industry as time goes on!

LUMI Leads the Way with Neurocosmetics!

As LUMI fans already know, we have a passion for capturing the latest achievements in skin science and are always at the forefront of innovation, often steps ahead of trends! Whether it’s using plant stem cells that positively affect the microbiota or algae-based silicon dioxide that captures rather than emits carbon during production – we are dedicated to sourcing research-based and organic skincare ingredients.

It’s no surprise that we were early adopters of neurocosmetics and plan to continue integrating these powerful new discoveries into our products!

LUMI introduced neurocosmetics back in 2016 with our SUPERBLOOM Vitamin C Night Serum. This formulation includes an organic microalgae blend that inhibits two major neurotransmitters, reducing the signs of premature aging and giving the skin a rejuvenated appearance. With consistent use, you might notice waking up each morning with healthier, more radiantly youthful skin!

Our ICONIC Overnight Peptide Treatment contains compounds derived from fermentation processes that regulate the neurotransmitters reaching the skin cells, helping to relax facial tension, mimic muscles, and the appearance of wrinkles. The night cream allows the skin to relax and initiate powerful recovery processes.

The TUNDRA Pimple Stopper, containing CBD and CBG, reduces stress on the skin like tightness, dryness, redness, uneven texture, and is suitable for anyone experiencing acne or occasional stress-related skin reactions.

MEN Honey I’m Home Balm not only soothes skin stress reactions with its name but also with its calming and redness-reducing ingredients, including LUMI favorites CBD and CBG, creating an immediate comfort on the skin that helps forget any irritated skin.

So, what does the future hold for LUMI and neurocosmetics? Definitely a lot! While we can’t reveal all our exciting plans right now, we can confidentially say that we plan to use plant stem cell technology even more! This is well reflected by Sunbrero, which quickly became a favorite for stress relief!!

Ready to embrace the power of neurocosmetics to give your skin-brain axis a boost? Click on the links above to be whisked away straight to the product you had your eye on. Or fancy picking up another of our all-natural, science-backed skincare solutions? Check out our entire product range right here!


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