The concept of forest bathing and its connection to skincare. Stress as a term has been normalised immensely in the current times, and we all know a million ways to tackle it. But, it's time we sit, reflect and see what we are doing to our bodies and mind. In urban cities, according to global statistics, almost 1/3rd of the population is under stress for subjective reasons. The commotion, high-rise buildings, increasing population, always on the run attitude, and work pressure acts as stress catalysts, especially for people living in urban cities. Amidst the stress diaspora, a simple stroll in a garden blooming with fresh air and soothing fragrances can waive off all that stress. This simple and calming endeavour with nature to unwind is known as forest bathing.
It is true when people say that a few moments of mother nature has the power to change your mood instantly. Spending time with nature gives you happiness, joy, peace and calm. As we all know, our body and skin is in sync with our mind. When you are happy from the inside, your skin ought to radiate from the outside, a simple thumb rule preached by all skin care experts.
Increasing interest in holistic approaches to beauty.
Apparently, there has been a shift from the traditional skincare approach to a more holistic mindset for the overall well-being of the skin. The viewpoint towards natural skincare has become more skin deep and comprehensive, where your diet, lifestyle patterns, and mental peace are given more importance over a mere topical application of a chemical product, for treating skin issues.
Holistic skin care is not just beneficial for the health of your skin, but for the environment as well, as it reduces carbon footprint and greenhouse emissions. A holistic skincare approach will always advocate more natural skincare routines and organic products, where everything from the manufacturing to the delivery of the finished product are performed from an ecological mindset. Holistic skin care is free from toxic and chemical products that could be harmful for your skin, and an effective alternative for people with sensitive conditions.
What is Forest Bathing?
Forest bathing, also known as "shinrin-yoku" in Japanese, is a mindful practice that involves immersing yourself in the therapeutic embrace of nature. It's not about literal bathing but rather allowing your senses to absorb the natural world – the rustling trees, the scent of rain, the melodious birdsong.
This practice is a way to disconnect from the digitally-driven world and find peace by connecting with nature through touch, sight, smell, taste, and sound, promoting overall well-being. It's a simple yet powerful way to recharge and refresh, without the need for exercise or wilderness adventures. A simple practice of relaxation that requires you to do a few things to unwind:
The therapeutic benefits of spending time in forests.
Forest bathing, part of ecotherapy, is a mindful practice that connects you with nature to promote calm and combat corporate burnout. Extensive research supports its health benefits, showing nature's healing power surpasses synthetic remedies. This eco-antidote aids in addressing mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and stress by spending time outdoors in a natural setting.
Nature's Impact on Skin Health
The positive effects of nature on skin health. Nature has profound effects on skin health, as Frank Lloyd Wright aptly noted, "Study Nature, love Nature, stay close to Nature. It will never fail you." Research consistently demonstrates that proximity to nature enhances both our mental and physical well-being. Whether it's the gentle breeze, warm sunbeams, or the aroma of the first rain, these natural elements can swiftly evoke feelings of happiness, joy, and vitality. Nature possesses the remarkable ability to heal, soothe, and calm us, rooted in our evolutionary connection to it.
This connection with nature has practical implications, evident in real estate where properties near the sea command higher prices due to their natural views, while retreat programs, recreational facilities, and resorts often nestle amidst lush forests, providing clients with a rejuvenating experience by immersing them in the natural world.
The Science Behind Forest Bathing
The scientific research supporting the benefits of forest bathing. Forest bathing is a mindful meditation practice with multiple health benefits.This Japanese ecotherapy has physiological and psychological benefits which bridges a deeper and more profound connection between the human race and the ecosystem. Studies have found out that forest bathing has a positive impact on stress hormone reduction, improved blood rate, enhancing concentration abilities, and increasing memory strength.
The Impact of phytoncides, natural compounds released by trees, on skin health. What are phytoncides? These are plant bioactive substances emitted by the trees, also known as the aroma of the forest. The term, “phytoncides” is divided into two terms, “phyto” known as plants in latin, and “cides” known as exterminate. Perhaps, these are substances emitted by the trees that protect them from the external stressors. These bioactives known to safeguard the trees, act as defence mechanisms for our skin as well.
Phytoncides when emitted in the air, are absorbed by the largest organ of our body, the skin and attach themselves to a special type of white blood cell in us called ‘Natural Killer Cells’ that strengthen the immune system to fight against the daily external stressors like pollution, dust, allergies,etc.
Biophilia, an emotion expressed in the form of love towards nature. Every human being carries biophilia within them, and expresses their affinity towards nature by immersing themselves with all their five senses. A person always feels relaxed when he is closer to nature, especially in this digital fast-paced world where everyone is burdened with a to-do list that needs to be completed by the end of everyday. The overwhelming pressure of overachieving always adds up more stress, eventually leading to skin problems. There are other external factors as well, such as impure air quality, dust, pollution, unwavering heat waves, etc.
Skincare Rituals in Nature
Practical tips for incorporating forest bathing into skincare routines. Forest bathing, as an exercise, entails you to absorb the aura of a natural setting and reap its benefits. But realistically, in an urbanised setup, it becomes quite tough to exercise this routine everyday.
Here are a few tips to incorporate the essence of forest bathing into your natural skincare routines.
The importance of protecting the skin from sun damage and environmental pollutants. While forest bathing entails you to be outdoors for longer hours to reap its benefits, it is important we take some precautionary steps before stepping out. Protecting your skin against the harmful UV rays, dust, external stressors like pollution, car combust, heat, and other microscopic bacteria is imperative. Sunscreen application, covering your skin adequately and carrying along necessary protectants is also recommended. Investing in natural skincare routines is one of the best ways to do your bit for the environment and your skin too!
Forest-Inspired Skincare Products
The benefits of plant extracts, herbal infusions, and forest botanicals. The demand for natural skincare products formulated with plant extracts, herbal infusions and botanicals has gained prominence since the consumers have become conscious of what they apply on their skin to avoid allergies and any side-effects.
The botanicals, phytochemicals, phytoncides, herbal infusions in skincare products solves two purposes: it expedites the functioning of the body by nourishing the skin with adequate vitamins, nutrients, essential oils, antioxidants and bioactive compounds.
These extracts are also responsible for the inhibition of tyrosinate, a protein responsible for stimulating the production of melanin in the body. Melanin, is a skin protein responsible for darkening the skin, causing hyperpigmentation and dark patches on the surface.
Skin is the largest organ of the body, perhaps it is pivotal that we take care of it.
Some products or ingredients known for their skin-enhancing properties.
Forest Bathing is a therapeutic experience that allows us to reconnect with nature and find solace in the serene embrace of the forest. It is important that we take some time out from our busy schedules for the well-being of our own health. Perhaps, HEALTH IS WEALTH and it is important we abide by that. Till then, happy skin!