Mind & Body with Disciple
Charlotte Ferguson-Quilter, psychotherapist and founder of DISCIPLE skincare, talks us through the cyclical relationship between mind and body and why her 100% natural brand is one of the solutions to your skincare woes.
A lot of people don’t like to believe that how they feel emotionally affects their skin. In my psychotherapy practice, I have a lot of patients who experience anxiety, stress and low mood with physical symptoms such as hair loss, IBS or acne. I believe that our mind-body-skin is all connected and that’s why a holistic approach is key. In my late 20s and early 30s, I developed horrible, persistent adult acne. I spent so much money on facials, products, laser, peels - everything. I even took prescription antibiotics and Accutane. Some of these things helped treat the symptoms but ultimately I wasn’t looking after myself – eating unhealthy food, drinking too much alcohol, not getting enough sleep and not properly managing my anxiety. This is a cocktail for inflammation – the main cause of acne.
I began to strip back my skincare – eliminating all the toxic and harsh ingredients.
Because of my job as a psychotherapist, I am really interested in evidence-based treatments – and I learned that cortisol was most likely at the centre of my acne problem. When we experience stress, anxiety etc. our body releases the stress hormone cortisol, a natural hormone that helps the body deal with stress. In small doses, cortisol serves as a great biological coping mechanism but if our body is exposed to persistently high levels of cortisol it can wreak havoc on your skin.
THE PROBLEM AREAS
The most common skin conditions people experience as a result of anxiety and stress are:
ACNE which is caused by inflammation. Stress and anxiety cause chronic inflammation in the body which cause cortisol spikes and encourage your sebaceous glands to produce more thick and sticky oil which dead skin sticks to and block pores. It also encourages bad bacteria growth making it the perfect environment for breakouts.
ECZEMA, PSORIASIS & ROSACEA are inflammatory conditions and can all be triggered by stress.
AGING. Cortisol also has the power to accelerate the aging process of the skin, rapidly increasing aging signs like lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, brightness and firmness. When cortisol is high, we see a drop in the production of the anti-aging hormone known as DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone). We have naturally high levels of DHEA when we are young, but this begins to drop from the age of 20. Low DHEA is associated with loss of muscle mass, strength, and stamina – sometimes resulting in sleep problems, tiredness and poor memory. If you want to support DHEA production in the body, lowering cortisol is vital.
Armed with all of my research I began to play around with different oils, plant extracts and formulations – eventually clearing up my skin. That’s when I decided to study formulation and aromatherapy and create DISCIPLE - specifically for adult acne. Here is what makes DISCIPLE different:
ADAPTOGENS are potent plant extracts that balance, restore and protect the body. We love these. Anxiety and stress increase cortisol - our stress hormone, which can directly interfere with the testosterone pathway and cause acne. We use botanical adaptogens that greatly improve your body's ability to adapt to stress and help to rebalance hormones.
PREBIOTICS. Much like our gut, our skin has a unique flora - with bad bacteria Propionibacterium acnes causing breakouts. We use inulin rich burdock root - a prebiotic plant fibre to beneficially nourish the good bacteria on the surface of the skin, helping to reduce inflammation and fight breakouts.
LINOLEIC ACID is an omega 6 fatty acid. Breakout sufferers have been shown to have low levels of Linoleic acid in their skin surface lipids. When our skin is deficient in Linoleic acid our skin's natural sebum becomes thick, sticky and clogs pores - that's why some skin oils can cause breakouts: not all oils are created equally. All DISCIPLE oils are high in Linoleic acid which helps to balance the skin's natural sebum consistency.
MY SKINCARE ROUTINE
At the moment my skincare routine consists of a homemade oil cleanser which is a combination of grape seed and safflower oil mixed with some lavender and grapefruit essential oils. It’s great for deep pore cleansing when used with a hot cloth at night.
I believe in the next few years we will stop treating acne by stripping the skin, which can do more damage.
I then use DREAMY SKIN retinyl oil – I am obsessed with retinyl (as is the amazing Dr. Ewoma for good reason) it helps to speed up your cell renewal – which slows with aging - helping with pigmentation, scarring and blocked pores. It really is amazing. I use Clarisonic a few times a week in the morning with a light glycolic gel cleanser and the Kiehl's creamy eye treatment which is super rich and hydrating. For the day I just use our GOOD SKIN face oil – it’s really light and helps balance sebum while the prebiotics helps fight potential acne bacteria.
MY SELF-CARE ROUTINE
My self-care routine - which is as important if not more important than what I put on my skin - includes Vedic meditation daily, which really helps me feel grounded and able to make better decisions. I also LOVE spending time alone – reading, listening to music or watching movies. SLEEP is also really important to me – I am in bed by 10 most weeknights, which means that if I decide to stay out a little later on the weekend it’s totally fine. In my experience - with myself and my clients, discipline and routine can be extremely helpful for people who experience anxiety and stress – it helps to have an anchor when you feel chaotic and out of control, which helps to stabilize our hormones to look and feel our best. It can seem daunting to have to make such huge changes in your life but if you start with a small shift and build on that it is much easier.
*You can get GOOD SKIN too with the code YES20 for 20% off all DISCIPLE products.