There is a forest bathing that can take place when you are not physically in the forest...
↟ A forest that exhales calmness and resilience into your very being.
↟ A forest that clears your mind from the day-to-day.
↟ This forest can tuck you in at bed time, and it can be a luxurious part of your morning routine.
↟ It can give you the confidence you need to power through your day.
This - is what Forest to Face® skincare is all about.
So, why do you want convenient access to forest at any given moment?
The obvious and more personal answer, is that the feeling of being immersed in a forest brings undeniable peace, contentment, and even feelings of awe and sublimity. That could be enough of a reason to keep a forest nearby.
The Science behind forest bathing
Science can further elaborate on the clear emotional benefits of relaxing in a forest atmosphere. A study in Japan analyzed the effects of forest bathing, or shinrinyoku, on the immune system and psychological health of humans (Li, Q., 2010). By measuring and comparing adrenaline and NK activity (immune response) in the participants’ routine lifestyle of work and home, and then in the forest, and then after forest bathing, results confirmed the strong benefits of forest bathing: (1) immune response increased during and for an entire month after forest bathing (2) adrenaline decreased along with feelings of anxiety, depression and anger.
Subsequent clinical studies further demonstrate the positive impact of shinrinyoku— translates to 'taking in the forest atmosphere' (Park, B. J., et al., 2010; Antonelli M., et al., 2019).
As a skincare line, we particularly found it interesting that these results are in large part due to the aromatherapy effects from the trees.
So yes - we strongly believe that honoring the forest, and bathing in its rejuvenating aromas are an important piece to both human and planetary health.
How stress-relieving forest bathing benefits your complexion.
Let's briefly dive into the various pathways by which your skin is affected by stress.
The brain-skin connection starts in the womb. Yep, two seemingly disconnected systems: the skin and the nervous system, come from the same embryonic tissue! Does blushing after being embarrassed sound familiar? What about turning pale after receiving bad news? Or even sweating? Have you ever noticed a pimple surge the morning after a ‘bad day’?
During an acutely stressful event, the skin responds immediately to your benefit. Stress can sharpen your senses, leading you to immediately remove your hand from a flame. Stress can trigger a chain of reactions for wound repair.
The problem is that beyond acute stress, many of us face chronic stress, which causes havoc for the skin (Dhabhar, F. S., 2000).
1. Stress leads to skin barrier alteration.
The skin is full of nerve ending receptors that can liberate hormonal molecules that act on the cutaneous layer. Turning pale and sweating, mentioned above, is due to vasoconstrictive catecholamines (neurotransmitters of stress hormones) getting liberated into the blood (Leis, S., 2004, Chen, Y., & Lyga, J. 2014).
In the long run, as the skin is being chronically imbibed in hormonal stress molecules, the skin barrier gets compromised. Much of the stress-and-skin connection is due to the overproduction of the stress molecule cortisol. Cortisol depletes your skin of water, lipids, and beneficial microbes. Cortisol also perturbs the pH of the skin’s acid mantle, an integral part of the skin barrier (Altemus, M. 2001).
An impaired skin barrier means that the skin’s first line of defense is impared, and thus prone to irritation, infection, inflammation and hyperpigmentation (Chen, Y., & Lyga, J., 2014, Eberting, C. L., 2014 ).
2. Stress depletes your skin of ‘nutrition’
Compared to other organs, the skin isn’t vital in a fight-or-flight response to stress that our prehistoric ancestors were subject to in nature. Thus, in a stressful situation, our blood vessels won’t appropriately deliver the molecules the skin needs for nourishment and proper functioning: oxygen, fatty acids, proteins, vitamins, minerals…
In a fight-or-flight situation, these molecules necessary for organ functioning will primarily go to the heart, the brain and the muscles at the detriment of the skin.
As the body is subject to the incessant stressors of modern living, at the cutaneous level, one can observe: breakouts, loss of hair, dryness, itching and skin sensitivity.
Depending on one's genetic predisposition, here are a few classic dermatological manifestations of stress on the skin: eczema, herpes, seborrheic dermatitis, shingles, acne, psoriasis and … premature aging (Chen, Y., & Lyga, J. 2014, Lee, C. M., Watson, R. E. B., & Kleyn, C. E., 2020).
Forest to Face® is a direct and very literal form of forest bathing.
Our products translate the trees’ beneficial properties directly onto your skin. Trees are resilient, wise, strong and beautiful. We aim to impart these characteristics into each of our products to give you glowing and healthy skin. As you inhale the tree-based aromas and massage tree and perennial-based ingredients onto your face, you experience a brand new kind of forest bathing. Our Tree Balm® is the perfect example of a skincare product that can transport you to the forest.
Every time you use an Anato product, you are participating in a zero-waste, systems-thinking, and regenerative agriculture revolution, and we thank you for that. Discover more 'ANATO uniqueness'.
We are here for the forest, and we are here for your face.
PS: For those that are already a part of our communiTree (you’ve already taken the quiz perhaps), go one step further by planting perennials. Plant a tree, or maybe a low maintenance herbaceous shrub. These trees and shrubs will bear fruits, nuts, medicine, meals, and fresh oxygen. Plan for your future and your children’s future. Check out our article on perennial gardening tips.
ReferencesBonkoungou, E. G. (2002). The shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) and the African shea parklands. CFC Tech Pap, 4 (21), 51-59.
Chen, Y., & Lyga, J. (2014). Brain-skin connection: stress, inflammation and skin aging. Inflammation & Allergy-Drug Targets (Formerly Current Drug Targets-Inflammation & Allergy), 13(3), 177-190.
Dhabhar, F. S. (2000). Acute stress enhances while chronic stress suppresses skin immunity: the role of stress hormones and leukocyte trafficking. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 917(1), 876-893.
Antonelli, M., Barbieri, G., & Donelli, D. (2019). Effects of forest bathing (shinrin-yoku) on levels of cortisol as a stress biomarker: A systematic review and meta-analysis. International journal of biometeorology, 63(8), 1117-1134.
Li, Q. (2010). Effect of forest bathing trips on human immune function. Environmental health and preventive medicine, 15(1), 9-17.
Stojadinovic, O., Gordon, K. A., Lebrun, E., & Tomic-Canic, M. (2012). Stress-induced hormones cortisol and epinephrine impair wound epithelization. Advances in wound care, 1(1), 29-35.
Altemus, M., Rao, B., Dhabhar, F. S., Ding, W., & Granstein, R. D. (2001). Stress-induced changes in skin barrier function in healthy women. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 117(2), 309-317.
Eberting, C. L., Coman, G., & Blickenstaff, N. (2014). Repairing a compromised skin barrier in dermatitis: Leveraging the skin’s ability to heal itself. J Allergy Ther, 5(5), 187.
Lee, C. M., Watson, R. E. B., & Kleyn, C. E. (2020). The impact of perceived stress on skin ageing. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 34(1), 54-58.