Monday, 18 Jun 2018

Emotions. Beauty of Your Face & Health of Your Skin

emotions

In order to see your face in terms of the rest of the body, you have to reassess how your body has affected your face. Factors like smoking, a poor diet, a lack of exercise, overworking and under sleeping would have to be addressed as, if your body is at all weak, under-nourished or exhausted, it is going to show it on your skin.

BEAUTY FACE & NATURAL AGING

Before getting too far into lifestyle, it is important to clarify that there are many aspects of changes to your skin that you have no control over as you age. Your skin will change over time due to the reduction in elastic fibres and dermal bulk which will make your skin thinner, drier and more lax. It is perfectly normal and trie as you may, you can delay it, but you cannot avoid it.

Skin changes

TISSUE

The connective tissue under your skin is made up of cells and protein fibres in a syrupy mixture known as ‘ground substance’. The most common type of fibres are collagen fibres and as we age these fibres increase in size and number and together with elastic fibres, cross link making them much less flexible and easy to fragment and lose shape.The amount of water in the surrounding ground substance also drops which makes the fibres denser and restricts the movement of cells and substances from moving through the tissue. This means that less nutrients are available to supply the tissue.The above two changes drastically reduce the elasticity of the skin and can lead to wrinkles.

The connective tissue under your skin

SKIN

The top layers of your skin become thinner because the cells which usually are active in multiplying and replacing other cells (known as basal cells) become less active.

There are also often changes in the pigmentation of your skin due to a disruption in melanin production. Melanocytes, which are the cells that produce melanin, decrease in number steadily as we get older, making your skin paler. Some of the remaining melanocytes overproduce melanin causing age spots to form on the skin’s surface.

Melanin production and its influence on skin

BONE AND CARTILAGE

Your nose and ear cartilage are less affected by the aging process but appear larger with age either due to continued growth or because of the loss of tissue mass in the rest of the face make them appear larger.

Bone mass reduces and cells called osteoclasts begin to break down more tissue in bones than are being created, causing them to lose some of their shape. Changes of these kinds are totally out of your hands and are influenced by your genetics, ethnicity, hormones and physiological changes. Your lifestyle can make these changes more pronounced, but they would be there anyway no matter how you led your life.

The aging process

FACE MAPPING

The ancient Chinese saw the face as one of the main health beacons of your body. They believed that it showed all manner of things related to the state of your health and wellbeing, so much so, that they developed facial mapping ideas which meant that your whole life, year by year, was quite literally on your face. Horizontal lines or distinctive marks would be interpreted as the face showing a traumatic event that happened around the age that the area of the face represents. The idea is that you can retrace major events in your life from the markings on your face. Image shows the ages that correspond to that part of the face but note that for the ancient Chinese, you were already one years old when you were born, so you need to subtract one to correctly arrive at your age. Also note that the facial number arrangement for men varies slightly but the focus here is not actually on the positioning of numbers but on the existence of the idea that what happens in your life directly impacts your face.

The face is one of the main health beacons of your body

INDUCED AGING

While you have little control over traumatic or stressful events which may have created features on your face, other causes of aging are, in theory at least, more under your control.

SUN

By far the most important lifestyle factor for your face is exposure to ultraviolet radiation either from the sun or artificial light. When this exposure directly causes skin change, it is referred to as photoaging and can be classified according to an established set of measures. This is known as the Glogau classification of skin photoaging which puts us into four different skin groups according to the severity of skin characteristics:

Mild: This typically refers to people in their late-20s/early-30s at only the initial stages of photoaging when there are only minor pigment changes and no wrinkles.

Moderate: This is a much wider age group from people in their mid-30s to 50 with clearly established photoaging signs such as dynamic wrinkles, smile lines, the first signs of brown pigment changes

Advanced: For the 50-65 year age group, the wrinkles have become static, discolorations of the skin are more prominent and spider veins develop.

Severe: The over 65s now have widespread wrinkles, skin malignancies, furrows and a yellow or grey skin hue.

This is not that dissimilar from the Chinese idea of stressful events impacting in different areas on the face as you age. Instead of stress, it is sunbathing, being active outdoors, using sun beds etc. and from the severity of the aging features, you can get an idea of how much of their life was spent in the sun.

SMOKING

The number of packs you smoke a day and for how long directly correlates to the severity of your aging features. There is even such a thing as a ‘smoker’s face’ which is thin and bony with heavy wrinkles, and a greyish hue to the skin. This is thought to happen as smoking damages tissues, reduces blood flow, and prevents nutrients and oxygen from reaching the skin.

DIET

The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ rings true with your face. One of the most obvious connections with diet and your face is the problem of acne vulgaris. Study upon study has linked the consumption of dairy products with the manifestation of acne spots. It is however blamed on anything from a high glycaemic load diet to processed cheese and a high-fat diet. To anyone with even a passing knowledge of Oriental medicine, this connection would seem blindingly obvious and caused by heat disorders in the stomach, but medical studies have yet to join the dots properly.A diet consisting mainly of processed, sugary foods as is so common nowadays can directly contribute to puffiness under your eyes which is quite literally an accumulation of fluids. Your stomach is so overwhelmed that your digestion can no longer adequately process fluids and starts storing it in the form of fat. Your skin will also feel tighter as the collagen fibres which are being starved of nutrients, lose their flexibility.Alcohol can directly cause a flushed complexion and a red nose, and too much can trigger a bout of Rosacea (rose-ay-sha), which features dilated blood vessels and redness on your nose and cheeks. It also dehydrates your skin and hair making it more likely that wrinkles and lines will deepen.

EXERCISE

The amount of exercise you do on a regular basis has a noticeable effect on your skin. Researchers in Canada have found that even in old age, regular jogging or cycling for 30 minutes twice a week can dramatically soften the outer layer of skin and create more elasticity in the dermis underneath. If, however, you do not do regular exercise, you are much more likely to develop saggy, loose skin in your neck and jowls and your forehead and eye area can look fatter.

LACK OF SLEEP

Your skin needs sleep. If you do not rest enough, it cannot regenerate properly and your face will start to show signs of this very quickly. One study looked at what happens to 30 women’s faces when a normal 8-hour sleep pattern is reduced to 6 hours over a 5-day period. The results were that on average, lines and wrinkles increased in visibility by 45%, spots increased by 13% in number and 7% in visibility, red areas increased by 8% and were 5% more visible, and brown spots increased by 11% in number and 4% in intensity. If this sleep pattern were to continue, it is logical to presume that these temporary facial features would develop into more permanent ones.Without at least acknowledging that these lifestyle factors have a bearing on the state of your skin, any skin treatment plan that you do follow will be limited either in duration or in its long-term effects.

Take care of yourself, of your health and beauty

THE EMOTIONAL CONNECTION

THE MARCH OF LIFE

When many people start to notice signs of aging in themselves, their focus is on the wrinkles, the creases and the sagging but what they are often feeling is an awareness of their own mortality. For some this represents a great fear and this emotion is transferred to a preoccupation with the state of their skin. Lines and wrinkles are a reminder that the march of life has no rest and that they are perhaps further along that path than they feel comfortable with.

BEAUTY FACE. EMOTIONS AND YOUR FACE.

It is probably obvious that if you experience strong emotions over a prolonged period or at a very deep level that the muscles involved may be used far more than others in the face. Over time, this repetition which showed on the skin as dynamic lines which came and went with each expression is now replaced with static lines which exist whether or not you are making a facial expression or not.

Beauty Face & THE FIVE ELEMENTS

One of the reasons Guasha beauty tips is effective is because it is based on ideas which encompass key human emotions and their effect on the body and face. You may be aware of a whole host of emotions that you go through on a daily basis but the ancient Chinese narrowed these down to a set of clinically useful emotions each with a different effect on your body and skin.These emotions are grouped according to the five elements: Metal, Earth, Fire, Water, and Wood. There is nothing mystical or new age about these elements. They were just a clever way for the ancient Chinese to express how the body functions in its natural environment. We now have other words and concepts to explain this, but the elements still serve as a simple and elegant way of organising ideas.

Metal, Earth, Fire, Water and Wood elements

EMOTIONS OF METAL

Metal Element and your beauty

KEY EMOTIONS: Grief, sadness, longing, and detachment

KEY MUSCLES: Depressor angulioris, orbicularis oculi, corrugator and depressor supercilii

DIRECT EFFECT ON FACE

The depressor angulioris muscle (I) pulls your lip corners in a downward direction and is the main muscle associated with showing sadness and grief in the face. You just have to hold a mirror in front of your face and pull a ‘sad’ face. Watch your mouth and how the sides bend down.

Try raising your cheeks at the same time. This is the orbicularis oculi muscle (C) pulling your cheeks up and it is often used together with the procerus (B), corrugator supercilii (D) and depressor supercilii muscles (E) to pull your eyebrows in and create a frown, or sometimes the frontalis muscle (A) to raise them up.Common facial features generated by these emotions can be crow’s feet next to your eyes, worry lines on your forehead, smile lines between your nose and the corners of your mouth and marionette lines from your mouth to your chin.

INDIRECT EFFECT ON FACE

These emotions are thought to affect two internal organs more than any others, your Lungs and Large intestines (these are the two organs of the Metal element). According to the ancient Chinese, your Lungs are the organ most closely related to the strength and vitality of the skin. This is easy to see if you note the typical facial skin condition of a long-term smoker. It normally lacks moisture and often shows premature signs of ageing like crow’s feet and the vertical lines around the mouth appropriately known as ‘smoker’s lines’. This is the result of a chronically weakened lung which is unable to disperse fluids in the body and nourish and moisturise the skin.It is only recently that conventional medicine research is confirming this close relationship with the skin and the lungs. For example, the recognition of what is known as the ‘atopic march’ whereby the inflammatory response to atopic dermatitis is thought to cause asthma or a recent study spanning 30 years which found that psoriasis sufferers are at a greater risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than the general population.This link with your lungs means that unresolved Metal will weaken the vitality of the skin as the repetition of muscle movement means that these muscles and the skin connected require nutrients, moisture, and cellular energy far more than those which are less used. The irony is that they will actually receive less because the required amount is just not available. This means that there is more potential for developing static facial features such as lines and wrinkles.

EMOTIONS OF EARTH

Earth element and its influence

KEY EMOTIONS: Worry, pensiveness and overthinking

KEY MUSCLES: Frontalis, corrugator supercilii, and depressor supercilii muscles

DIRECT EFFECT ON FACE

When you worry these are the actions of the facial muscles:

When you raise your forehead, the frontalis muscle (A) is lifting it up creating horizontal lines which span across your forehead.

This is combined with the corrugator supercilii (D) and depressor supercilii muscles (E) pulling the eyebrows inwards and forming more lines vertically. This is the classic frowning expression.

Possible static facial features generated by these emotions are worry lines on your forehead and frown lines between your eyebrows.

INDIRECT EFFECT ON FACE

Studies have been published which look at how asking people to actively frown can negatively affect how they see the world and the physical act of frowning actually can cause a reduction in feelings of happiness and tolerance. Worry and over-thinking are thought to affect the two Earth organs, the Stomach and Spleen/Pancreas, both of which are heavily connected to your digestion. Too much thinking can, therefore, weaken digestion by interrupting the delicate system of how your stomach processes food. A weakening of your stomach also has implications directly for your forehead. Another very smart idea from the ancient Chinese was to map out the skin into zones of influence. This means that any area of skin can be directly linked to organs in your body and how well they may be functioning. The concept is called ‘Cutaneous regions’ and was featured in my first Guasha book about your body and health. According to this theory, your stomach and intestines are most associated with the state of the skin on your face. This means that if your digestion has weakened, which is very possible if you are prone to worry and over-thinking or perhaps study for long hours, then you will often see changes in colour and texture of your skin.The effect on the face is compounded by the fact that one of the main functions of your Spleen/Pancreas in Oriental medicine is to ensure the transport of nutrients to your muscles and if not functioning well can help to cause muscle weakness and atrophy.

EMOTIONS OF FIRE

Emotions and feelings of the Fire element

KEY EMOTIONS: Happiness, over-excitement, lack of self-acceptance, depression and self-loathing

KEY MUSCLES: Zygomaticus major, orbicularis oculi, nasalis, levatorlabiisuperiorisalaequenasi

DIRECT  EFFECT ON FACE

For joy and happiness, the zygomaticus major muscle (J) pulls the corner of your lips outwards towards your ears.

This is often accompanied by the orbicularis oculi muscle (C) lifting up your cheeks and scrunching up your eyes.

The nasalis (G) and levatorlabiisuperiorisalaequenasi (H) muscles also contract, slightly scrunching your nose.

Try it in front of the mirror and you will see that you have the features of a classic happy, laughing face.

For the opposite feelings of depression and self-loathing, the expression and the effects on the face and body is very much like the one detailed in Metal with the depressor angulioris (I) pulling the sides of your lips down. Ironically, whether happy or sad, smile lines are one of the key features of Fire emotions.

Possible static facial features generated by these emotions are smile lines between your nose and the corners of your mouth, crow’s feet at the sides of your eyes and bunny lines at the side of your nose.

INDIRECT EFFECT ON FACE

Emotions of joy or the lack of it are connected to the Fire group of organs, the most prominent of which is your Heart. Of all the organs in the body, your Heart is the most important and for this reason, it was named the ‘Emperor’ organ by the ancient Chinese. It is the pump which circulates nutrition-rich blood through the vascular system and ensures that the rest of your organs, muscles, and tissues are well-serviced but it also represents something on a deeper emotional level. According to the classic Oriental medicine text from 240 BCE, The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine, it is the very radiance of the spirit which stems from the Heart.If we say that someone is looking radiant, we are referring to their face and often something that is hard to define but clearly present. It is similar to pregnant women who are sometimes told that they are ‘glowing’ as hormone changes enhance the look of their facial skin. A healthy Heart can affect this difficult-to-define glow or radiance of what the Chinese called your inner spirit or ‘Shen’. And of course, if your Heart has become weak, the opposite is true.

EMOTIONS OF WATER

Water and your beauty

KEY EMOTIONS: Fear, isolation, and insecurity

KEY MUSCLES: Frontalis, procerus, depressor supercilii and corrugator supercilii

Fear is usually shown when the lower part of your face is widened and pulled down.

The frontalis (A) muscle lifts your eyebrows upwards.

The procerus (B), depressor supercilii (E) and corrugator supercilii muscles (D) bring your eyebrows together to form a frown.

The levatorpalpebraesuperioris muscle (a very thin triangular muscle above your eye ball) simultaneously lifts your upper eyelids.

The risorius muscle (M) stretches your lips.

The masseter muscle (L) drops your jaw downwards.

Possible static facial features generated by these emotions are worry lines on your forehead and frown lines between your eyebrows.

INDIRECT EFFECT ON FACE

The two water organs are the Kidneys and Bladder and it is here that the ancient Chinese believed to be the seat of courage and willpower. When weak these strong character traits turn to fear which then compounds the weakness further. As the kidneys are thought to control the growth and development of bones and nourish the marrow within them, the skin can become pale as the lack of red and white blood cells within the marrow can lead to anaemia and immune deficiency.

Dark circles can develop below your eyes when your kidneys are weak and exhausted. When your body is tired, it over-produces a chemical called cortisol to energise the body. A side effect of this is that the volume of the blood in your body increases and the blood vessels enlarge. This change in blood flow can easily be seen under your eyes as the skin is particularly thin and can often be pale.

EMOTIONS OF WOOD

Wood element and your emotional condition

KEY EMOTIONS: Anger, resentment, frustration, timidity, shyness

KEY MUSCLES: Orbicularis oculi and orbicularis oris, procerus, depressor supercilii and corrugator supercilii

DIRECT EFFECT ON FACE

With anger the following muscular actions take place:

The orbicularis oculi muscle (C) contracts and tightens your eyes.

The orbicularis oris muscle (K) and the mentalis muscle (N) tighten your lips.

The three brow lowerers, the procerus (B), depressor supercilii (E) and corrugator supercilii (D) muscles, pull your eyebrows down to create vertical lines in the skin between them.

The upper eyelid area is lifted by the levatorpalpebraesuperioris (above your eyeball) to create a stare.

The masseter muscle (L) and temporalis muscle (F) clench the jaw tightly.

Possible static facial features generated by these emotions are frown lines between your eyebrows, crow’s feet at the sides of your eyes and smile lines between your nose and mouth.

INDIRECT EFFECT ON FACE

Anger is associated with the two Wood organs, the Liver and Gall bladder. A well-functioning Liver helps your blood to flow smoothly and uniformly throughout the body and when it gets disrupted, so too does the flow. Our muscles, tendons, and tissues depend on a constant supply of fresh oxygenated blood but if the Liver becomes chronically under-functioning which in Oriental medicine terms is rather like the control center for the subway system, those muscles, tensions and tissues in the face will become more malnourished and weak.

While it is perfectly normal to feel these emotions, the issue comes when the emotion is unresolved and is internalised. It is very common to hold in your feelings of frustration and anger which of course do not stop the frustration and anger but allows them to stew inside your body and start to affect muscle tension and how the blood flows around your body and face.

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