When it comes to skin health, taking a holistic approach can yield the best results. Just like in Eastern medicine, which seeks to address the root cause of illness, caring for your skin requires more than simply treating surface symptoms. In this blog post, we'll explore ten actionable ways to care for your skin and nurture your microbiome. From diet and skincare to lifestyle and self-care practices, these tips will help you achieve radiant and healthy skin from within.
1. Be proactive, not reactive:
Treating the symptoms of skin problems is important, but addressing the root cause is key. Instead of merely alleviating the itch or eliminating a pimple, focus on rebuilding the foundations of healthy skin. This includes nurturing a balanced microbiome, strengthening the skin barrier, and reducing inflammation.
2. Move slowly:
Whether it's making dietary changes, adopting a new skincare routine, or adjusting your lifestyle, take it slow. Moving at a gradual pace allows you to observe the changes that benefit your body the most. Embrace positive changes and give them time to work their magic.
3. Don't stress:
Your health journey shouldn't be another source of stress in your life. Enjoy the process and see it as nourishing your body rather than a punishment. Set aside dedicated time each week (or even daily if possible) to learn about and nurture your body, finding joy in the self-care practices that alleviate stress.
4. Move your body:
Incorporate moderate, consistent, and restorative exercise into your lifestyle. Whether it's gentle cardio like walking in nature, swimming, or yoga, find an activity you genuinely love. Rediscover a sport you enjoyed in your youth or exercise with friends to stay motivated and make it a fun part of your routine.
5. Calm your mind:
Meditation is wonderful if you can master it, but there are numerous other ways to calm your mind and reap similar benefits. Explore mindfulness apps, engage in adult colouring books or puzzles, practice yoga, take a relaxing bath, spend quality time alone, surround yourself with positive friends, or indulge in a soothing massage.
Your diet plays a crucial role in skin health. Avoid highly processed foods with artificial additives, refined sugars, and "bad carbs" stripped of their fiber and nutrients. Instead, include foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids (oily fish or flax), vitamin C, antioxidants, nuts, seeds, olive and avocado oils, green leafy vegetables, anti-inflammatory whole grains, and beans. Work with a health professional to identify any food intolerances, especially for acne-prone or atopic skin.
If your diet lacks essential nutrients, consider speaking with a naturopath or healthcare professional about adding supplements. Omega-3, curcumin (turmeric), vitamins C, D, and E, zinc, and probiotics are known to support skin health and reduce inflammation.
When it comes to skincare, knowing what to avoid and what to choose is crucial. Avoid harsh scrubs, strong chemical exfoliants, astringents containing alcohol, excessively hot or cold water, high pH conventional soaps, retinoids, sulfates, strong preservatives, essential oils, synthetic fragrances, and other chemical irritants. Instead, opt for low-comedogenic oils (such as omegas 3, 6, and 9, and squalane), humectants like hyaluronic acid and glycerin, pre/pro/postbiotics, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory ingredients like Centella Asiatica, green tea, liquorice, turmeric, and colloidal oatmeal.
9. Understand your personal triggers:
Keep a detailed skin trigger diary for a few months to identify specific factors that may aggravate your skin. By understanding your triggers you can actively take steps towards avoiding irritation and inflammation.
The importance of quality sleep cannot be emphasised enough. Sleep deprivation has been linked to various health issues and can increase the risk of chronic illnesses and diseases. Notably, lack of sleep has a direct impact on the skin. It can affect collagen production, leading to a breakdown in the skin's barrier function. Additionally, sleep deprivation lowers the immune response, which is essential for healthy skin and collagen production. Aim for 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to support your overall well-being, including your skin's health.
Taking a wholistic approach to skin health involves understanding the root causes of skin issues and implementing positive changes in various aspects of your life. Be proactive, move at a pace that suits you, and embrace self-care practices that bring you joy. Pay attention to your diet, considering foods that support skin health and working with professionals to address food intolerances. Incorporate supplements if necessary and opt for skincare products that are gentle, pH balanced, and free from harsh ingredients. Lastly, prioritise quality sleep to allow your skin to rejuvenate and thrive.
Remember, caring for your skin is a journey, and it's essential to listen to your body, adapt to its needs, and celebrate the progress you make along the way. By nurturing your skin's microbiome, supporting the skin barrier, reducing inflammation, and practicing self-care, you'll be on your way to achieving true well-being and radiant, healthy skin.