Having a background in internal medicine, biomedical tissue engineering and regenerative medicine while also maintaining a strong interest in yoga, Ayurveda, and Siddha medicine has helped me appreciate the skin in a new light, as a beautiful organ capable of regeneration through various wound healing pathways. I see the skin as an organ that covers the embodiment of energy which is the human body. With its own very vital and significant functions of protection and regulation, it functions as a mirror reflecting the overall health of an individual1.
As clinicians, one can appreciate a vast array of skin conditions that relate to an internal pathology associated with an organ, like the liver, kidneys, immune system, neuroendocrine system or the gut. Recent research in the field of the microbiome, the aggregate of commensal bacteria that forms a personalized signature for each individual, points to evidence that there is strong affiliation and communication between the gut, skin and brain. The microbiome is in communication with our intrinsic immune system, and through this very unique dialogue connects the functions of the gut to the health of the skin and emotional balance3.
Various skin conditions, especially chronic ones like psoriasis or atopic dermatitis, have strong evidence connecting gut health, emotional health and skin health of the patient. The stress response with cortisol elevation in the body also affects various regenerative pathways as well as the telomeres on our chromosomes4. This in turn affects the life span of our stem cells that are responsible for the homeostasis of organ tissue.
One can therefore view the aging process as multifactorial, with intrinsic factors such as constitution, organ health as well as extrinsic factors such as diet, lifestyle, emotional health and response to one’s environment playing a role. These various connections, that we are only recently beginning to rediscover in modern science, has historically been given prime importance in eastern approaches to wellbeing as in the science of Ayurveda and Siddha
Medicine. A strong mind-body approach is taken to strengthen the individual with an emphasis on diet, lifestyle, and mental health.
As a physician offering cosmetic anti-aging services for your patients, bringing this “new” dimension of mind and body health in addition to skin treatments offers a more complete approach to your clients by targeting both intrinsic and extrinsic aspects of skin aging4. Incorporating approaches that are influenced by eastern philosophy, like Ayurveda and Siddha medicine, one can offer a novel, holistic approach to aesthetics1,2. Meditation and pranayama based on yogic science offers empowering experiences that balance many emotional responses to stress and in turn affect and improve self-image2. A “Dosha Type”( body constitution based on Ayurveda) is determined by a multifactorial analysis based on physical traits, environmental adaptation, mental health and dietary habits. For a clinician, this modern application of constitution analysis offers another tool to personalize care not only based on the patient’s skin condition but also the aging of the individual as a whole, mind and body.
Western approaches to anti-aging, including laser treatments and exfoliative peels that result in neo-collagenesis and regeneration, target healing mechanisms that are skin deep5. Simultaneously supporting internal healing mechanisms and overall health of the individual when performing these rejuvenation procedures offers an integrative approach that will result in better cosmetic outcomes and appreciation from patients. Now they will not only “look beautiful” but also “feel beautiful.”
If aging is breakdown of tissue over the life span of an individual, then anti-aging should incorporate strategies to slow this process down by multiple methods, both intrinsic and extrinsic. Adding eastern approaches for wellbeing which put a strong emphasis on mental health, lifestyle and diet one can offer a complete approach to graceful aging. Approaching the individual as a whole and offering rejuvenation of mind, body and skin helps the patient appreciate that beauty isn’t just skin deep. Instead, it is an expression of their overall health as they age in their respective journeys in this fast-paced modern world.
- 1.Beri K; A future perspective for regenerative medicine; understanding the concept of vibrational medicine Future Sci. OA; https://doi.org/10.4155/fsoa-2017-0097
- 2.BeriK; Breathing to younger skin: reversing the molecular mechanism of skin aging with yoga Future Sci. OA; https://doi.org/10.4155/fsoa-2016-0015
- 3.BeriK; Beri K. Skin Microbiome and host immunity: applications in regenerative cosmetics and transdermal drug delivery. Future Sci. OA doi: 10.4155/fsoa-2017-0117 (2018).
- 4.Onklin QA et al,Insight Meditation and Telomere Biology: The Effects of Intensive Retreat and the Moderating Role of Personality. Brain Behav Immun. 2018 Mar 5. pii:S0889-1591(18)30047- 3. doi: 10.1016/j.bbi.2018.03.003. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 29518528.
5. Beri K, Milgraum SS. Neocollagenesis in Deep and Superficial Dermis by Combining Fractionated Q-Switched ND:YAG 1,064-nm With Topical Plant Stem Cell Extract and N-Acetyl Glucosamine: Open Case Series. J Drugs Dermatol. 2015 Nov;14(11):1342-6.