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Holistic Beauty and Skin Health: How Whole is Holistic? Part 1

By: Jimm Harrison
Posted: June 2, 2009, from the June 2009 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

What does it mean to be holistic? Where does holistic begin, and where does it end? A holistic connection between mind and body is recognized as an important aspect of beauty and skin care, though the current concept of mind, body and spirit is vague, nonscientific and limited. This makes it difficult to effectively use holistic in the practice of esthetics and spa therapy. A clear definition and insight into holism can help to develop a model useful in the business and practice of beauty and wellness.

Holism is defined as the understanding that the parts make up a unified whole. The parts are no longer viewed as individual units, but are analyzed in relation to the whole organism. Holistic health and beauty perceives the organs and parts of the body, emotions and the environment as interconnected with an affect on the overall health of the person and, ultimately, the skin. The question is, how whole is holistic? Is a person a closed container of mind, body and spirit that stops at the skin’s boundary, or does it go further? How far out does the holistic effect go?

The connection between beauty and health

What is beauty? This question is seldom asked and rarely has a clear-cut answer. Beauty is often stated as being in the eye of the beholder, but this is hardly a basis to support a multibillion dollar industry. There must be more to beauty that drives people to achieve it. For those in the business or pursuit of beauty, there is value to having a clear beauty definition and well-defined beauty goals.

Beauty has its roots in biology and is a means of attraction. Nature’s goal is to reproduce and continue a species by producing the strongest offspring. To do this, both parents—or seeds or cells—must be in the most vital, healthy condition. Beauty is used in nature as a visual representation of health.1

If beauty is health, then a beauty goal would also be a goal of health. To achieve health and beauty, a holistic approach is most effective in addressing all conditions that may influence or cause an imbalance to the system.

Emotions and skin health