Treating the Skin Holistically
Every aspect of the skin is a reflection of the body’s overall wellbeing. For successful long-term results in maintaining skin wellness, a holistic approach is essential. Lifestyle, a proper skincare regimen, a balanced nutritious diet, stress management, and physical activity all contribute to promoting healthy skin. The perfect synergy of maintaining youthful and clear skin is a matter of treating the skin from both the outside in and the inside out.
There are four grades of acne. The basic blackheads or comedones in the common t-zone area are grade I. Grades III and IV often is hormone-related acne. Acne is a skin condition that people of all ages and backgrounds suffer from, and it affects them in so many ways. Individuals who deal with acne often do not feel great about themselves. They may be introverted not by choice but depending on the severity of their acne. Unfortunately, acne is a skin condition that causes a great vulnerability in people and creates desperation, which may lead to improper care in search of an easy or quick solution. The truth is, whether the concern is acne or aging, striving for balance is critical.
Typically, over the course of thirty-plus years, skin ages at a relatively steady pace, not taking into account any extreme circumstances. Once a person approaches the mid to late forties, the skin begins to reveal signs of aging at a significantly faster rate. This is a result of the menopause-related stage of life, which is responsible for the sharp decline of estrogen hormones in the body. The hormone receptors become stagnant because of the insufficient amount of estrogens to activate the receptors. This causes an internal biological lag, and in turn, a slowdown in new skin cells, collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid regeneration, essential to maintaining a youthful appearance. Men go through andropause, where they also deal with changes within the body that trigger discomfort and accelerated skin aging. It is a difficult time emotionally but also physically, there is great pressure on the body to adjust and assimilate to the sudden and dramatic changes that progress throughout this hormonal cycle.
Ingredients in Skin Care
Countless natural ingredients offer multi-faceted benefits to improving overall skin and health. One important ingredient that offers a natural option to help promote inner balance related to hormonal fluctuations is soy isoflavones derived genistein. The body’s own hormones and receptors are like a key and lock system, with the hormones being the keys and the hormone receptors the locks. The locks (receptors) are activated by the keys (hormones), initiating certain processes in the body. When there is a hormonal imbalance or biological lag, the interruption in the hormonal cycles causes accelerated skin aging or hormone-related acne. Genistein is a phytohormone that has a chemical structure similar to a real hormone. The beauty is that it offers a natural alternative to real hormones being a plant-derived extract. It is powerful enough to initiate a response from the skin and body, but still so mild, that side effects or risks that exist with real hormones are of no concern. The miraculous adaptogenic ability of genistein is that it senses where the internal shift needs to go. If the estrogen receptors are underactive because of the drop of estrogens, genistein works to activate the estrogen receptors, which counters menopause-related skin changes. If the androgen receptors are overly active, genistein works to block their activity, hence working against the prominent cause of hormone-related acne.
Ingredients high in antioxidants work to combat and neutralize cell-damaging free radicals. Vitamins C is abundant with antioxidants, and it stimulates collagen production. Green tea is rich with polyphenols and flavonoids helping the skin protect itself from external environmental factors. Chamomile, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, and calendula are some examples of soothing botanicals that offer excellent immunity-boosting and anti-inflammatory qualities. Tea Tree Oil is rich with terpinen-4-ol, which has powerful anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal characteristics providing an exceptional natural option to combat acne. Hippophae berries, hemp seed, jojoba, coconut, sweet almond, and argan oils are all examples of ingredients that restore the skin’s moisture balance while enriching the skin with vitamins, omegas, beta-carotenes, and many other cell-renewing qualities.
Diet and Nutrition
What goes inside the body is a source of energy that fuels and nourishes every cell in the body. It is crucial to looking and feeling good, and it facilitates the natural journey of aging slowly and gracefully. Drinking enough water is important to keep skin hydrated, supple and elastic. The amount of water can vary from person to person based on size and physical activity but the recommended average is about eight glasses a day. For anyone who enjoys drinks such as coffee or tea, although they offer a plethora of antioxidants, they are dehydrating. A ratio that is proving itself infallible is two glasses of water for every glass of tea or coffee to offset dehydration.
Dairy, refined sugars, gluten, saturated fats or spicy foods are all inflammation-causing triggers. When the skin is red, irritated or swollen, the body is sending messages letting us know that there is an immune response. Dairy is one culprit acne with closed comedones or milia that develop below the surface of the skin. Gluten can cause flaring red itchy skin and can exacerbate chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema. Although spicy foods can have certain benefits, when it comes to problematic skin, it will aggravate sensitive or inflamed skin.
Vitamin D and vitamin K are both fat-soluble. Vitamin K is typically derived from green vegetables and fruits such as kale, broccoli, spinach, and kiwi. It promotes capillary function and is important for its blood clotting or coagulating abilities. It works well in eye brightening treatments by countering the under-eye fatigue look by strengthening blood vessels and dissipating the bluish appearance. Vitamin D is synthesized in the body from sun exposure, but a nutritional source of it is fish oil, which also provides anti-inflammatory omega 3 and omega 6. Vitamin D facilitates the absorption of calcium. Without vitamin D, the body would not be able to absorb calcium, as well as magnesium and phosphorus, critical to bone structure. A topical or Vitamin D supplement provides a safe and gentle alternative to harmful ultraviolet exposure.
Mother Nature is truly generous in her gifts, and one of those gifts are longevity increasing plant-derived extracts. Resveratrol, derived from the skin of black currant berries or red grapes, and phyto-cannabidiol, derived from hemp, a member of the Cannabis Sativa plant species, boost vitality and total body wellness. Having a glass of red wine a day delivers a large number of antioxidants, but more so, it increases lifespan as was proven by an experiment several decades ago, on an amoeba, whose lifespan more than doubled after it was injected with resveratrol. The boosting action of hemp-derived cannabidiol activates the endocannabinoid CB2 receptor, which works to moderate and control the body’s inflammatory response, which protects the immune system from over-exhaustion.
Exercise and just about any form of physical activity is part of the holistic equation. Movement boosts blood circulation throughout the body. This allows for nutrients and oxygen to pass through more efficiently and in abundance to every cell in the body. Exercise also sends messages to the brain that in turn produces the happy hormone, endorphins, which leads to feeling and looking good. In addition, focusing attention to the body from a physical aspect allows the mind to have a break from stressful or overwhelming thoughts. It is a proactive way to counter stress or anxiety-related skin conditions.
The power of touch and physical contact is immeasurable. Massage promotes healing within the body; it helps release tension, boosts blood circulation great for improving the vascular system, essential to maintaining homeostasis or balance within the body. Facial massage encourages muscle definition and tone. Varying techniques such as Gua sha scrapping, jade or rose quartz rolling or just firm repetitive finger and palm upward massage techniques enhance microcirculation. It facilitates a natural face lifting effect that allows for skin to look younger and vibrant.
LED light therapy offers a long list of benefits. Blue light is effective in acne treatments. Blue LED light works to destroy P. acnes the breakout-causing bacteria that sits on the surface of the skin. P. acnes waits for an opportunity to pass through to the root of the hair follicle and attack the cells, resulting in infection and breakouts. Red light increases product penetration, circulation, boosts collagen production and helps rejuvenate the skin. Green LED light is soothing and calming. It is effective in moderating redness, sensitivity, and rosacea. It is especially beneficial in treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
For a supportive healing and total wellness journey to having healthy radiant skin, an integrative approach is ideal. Addressing the skin externally with appropriate treatments and products is just one part of the equation. For long-term results, a slow and steady process is required to achieve ultimate success. Establishing a routine and being in the habit of making healthy decisions will lead to beautiful skin and life of synergy and balance.
Written by Victoria Tabak © All Rights Reserved. Originally Published in June 2019 digital Skin Inc Magazine.