GLOWING SKIN...The killer two word combination that causes us women to be such easy targets as consumers.
Whether it's glossy magazines claiming the undiscovered secret steps or the miracle product boasting the formulaic answer, we all seem to be similarly guilty when it comes to the pursuit of pore-perfection. But the secret is that when it comes to skin its actually pretty simple.
So here they are - the holistic holy grail of skin commandments...
(1) Green Power
Contrary to popular belief, there is no vital nutrient that we cannot get from plants. And greens are some of the most important of these for our bodies. The chlorophyll that gives them their hue is what the very life-giving, oxygen producing energy that makes life on earth possible. Greens are heavily alkalising which is great when it comes to balancing out the acidic effects of a modern lifestyle (stress, alcohol, smoking, increased sugar/salt/ meat consumption). An acidic state is a more inflamed state, which for our skin means a weaker immune system, poorer digestion and therefore more skin irritations, infections and break outs (think cold sores, eczema, psoriasis and acne). And if we eat them raw, we also get the added benefit of fibre and enzymes. These are the components responsible for pretty much every function in our body not least protection from free radicals and early skin damage. If this isn't your thing, then juicing is a really easy way to up consumption as is supplementing with a green powder such as Pukka's Clean Greens or Sun Potion's Green Adaptogen. Supplementing can especially be a good idea in the winter when energy levels are low and cooler temperatures tend to make us gravitate away from eating salads.
(2) Beauty Sleep
There's a saying that my mum always quotes claiming that an hour before midnight makes up for two after. And while there is certainly truth to be said for getting to bed early, there is also something to be said about the quality of the sleep we do get. If your night is spent tossing and turning for 10 hours, it's certainly not going to be as restful as 8 hours of solid circadian regulation. Ensuring your sleep is of the highest quality can be as simple as fool-proofing your nightly routine to make sure you are winding down in sufficient time. That can look like a mug of chamomile tea and a cuddle with the dog, an epsom salt bath with your favourite candle. or even just banishing blue light for the hour before bed time.... whatever works for you. The rest that our bodies receive when sleeping is absolutely crucial for cell regeneration and is the key detoxification time for your system to do a proper deep cleanse and rid itself of toxic build up. Thinkthe difference between throwing the hoover around the lounge or the getting the carpet professionally cleaned. I know which I'd prefer.
(3) Facial massage
One of the most interesting things about training to be a facial therapist was learning about the lymph system in more detail. Finding out how we can shift the fluid build-up through massage and then actually applying this to my own face when I wake up feeling puffy. You can literally back-track the effects of too much salt and not enough sleep by moving this fluid towards the drainage points on your face and neck and it's an absolute game changer not only from an aesthetic point of view but also an energetic one too. All that blocked energy can leave you feeling heavy, congested and stuck, and moving it literally lifts your whole vibrational frequency perspective as well as your face, and can really raise your energy levels for the day.
(4) Show it some Love
Quite possibly the most transformational one for me from an emotional point of view: Love your skin and it'll love you back. Through loving thought, loving intention, and a loving daily practice to embrace the skin your in. This isn't just overriding your mind's recognition of "flaws" but it's about finding beauty in it's imperfect nature of humans. From the monthly break outs that signal your hormonal story, the redness that reminds you where your diet has been a bit lax, the black circles that hint your body needs more beauty sleep. I know what it's like to get into a downward spiral when your skins in a rut and how debilitating it can feel to go out into the world when you feel like everyone's attention is drawn to the things you most hate. But taking chance each day to direct positive energy towards your face can really help to shift your thinking. Whether it's using mantras while you moisturise or motivational pep-talks in the mirror, those routine moments can be super-boosted with intention each and every day.
(5) Edible Skincare
I get that there is a certain luxury that comes with a perfectly packaged product, an opulence to be found in beautiful branding. I get the exact same feeling from Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks! But for me, there's also a thrill in finding a product that is both completely natural and beautifully beneficial. There's something so magic about finding skincare that can work synergistically with your skin yet is stripped back to its simplest form. And believe me the hormonal imbalances and autoimmune conditions that the ingredients that these products can cause, will linger a whole lot longer than the temporarily deliciously scents they bring.
(6) Choose to nourish
Every mouthful of food we take is a decision we make. It requires mindful action, but checking in with your body before every meal is the surest way to remind yourself to make a choice based on love and nourishment. This not only leads to more nutrient-dense choices but also more peace of mind. We stop eating from a place of boredom and whimsical craving, which ultimately means we reduce the guilt, anxiety and stress that only leads to cumulative negative energy in the body. Our body intuitively knows what it wants to eat, we just need to re-train it to listen to it's own wisdom and assess what fuel it needs. If we're really doing this honestly, it will always steer us towards whole foods and away from the more processed options.
(7) Remove Make up before...
Every dermatologist's favourite, and for a reason to. We've spoke heavily about the importance of beauty sleep and about clean cosmetics, and therefore we know that night time is your body's sacred rest and repair time. If we're using synthetic products then our body especially needs this detox time to try and undo the damage, and even if the products you're using are clean we still want to let our skin breathe overnight and turn over those cells. This also includes removing sun cream at night and make up before exercise. Remnants of make up, dead skin particles and sweat residue are the three biggest causes of skin congestion, so we want to keep skin super clean in the gentlest way possible.
(8) Flood your body
I know I know, this ones hardly revolutionary, but like sleep it's not just about the amount any more. It's also a lot to do with hydrating with water of the best quality available. Our skin needs water not only from the aesthetic level of staying clear, smooth and wrinkle-free but also to support the processes that create this; detoxification, circulation, protection, excretion. Unfortunately it's simply not enough to just buy bottled water or own a Brita filter - although these are great places to start. The things they put in the tap water are truly frightening...in fact the only place in the world where you can safely drink the tap water is iceland! In an ideal world, we would all have filters on our taps. However there are some other great options out there if you do your research, and I love the charcoal trick too.
(9) Seasonal Skincare
Yes we do need to sun protect in this country all year round as unfortunately the british cloudy weather doesnt stop sun damage. This is super easy to do with moisturiser where we can keep the SPF low in the winter and up the factor in the summer. It's also worth syncing your products with the seasons as your skin has totally different requirements when the climate changes. In the summer, keep it cool and toned with floral essences such as this one from Sukin and light hydrating lotions. And in the winter, we need to protect skin from the drying effects of central heating, cold weather and a generally more cooked diet (typically). We can do this by using salves such as Weleda's Skin food and layering products for absorption.
(10) Probiotic Support
Great health starts in the gut. It really does. And by extension, this also means that the key to your skin's own wellness also lies with the digestive system. Ensuring that you can not only remove toxic waste from your body, but also that you are absorbing the nutrients from your food properly. Another of the curse's of a modern lifestyle is that a lot of things can affect our own gut flora. Things like antibiotics, stress, alcohol, dehydration and even long haul travel, can all play a part in weakening our body's natural bacteria. You can strengthen this in supplement form, but you can also boost with fermented foods. Sure there is kimchi and home made sauerkraut, both great options. However my personal favourite is raspberry vinegar tonic to consume before eating. Super easy and so delicious.
What are your favourite ways to supercharge your skin health? Let me know in the comments below
Becky is a wellness coach, holistic facial therapist and blogger passionate about empowering women to live their most radiant lives; fuelled by radical self-love, optimal wellness + positive energy. Connect with her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/bwithwellness Twitter: www.twitter.com/becky_symes and Instagram: www.instagram.com/becky_symes