By Julie Pittman, LHLSC Expert Contributor
You finally did it! You got your skin to clear up. You changed your diet, drank more water, used every scrub, wash, medicated cream and prescription medication you could find but you finally got your wish, acne free skin – right? Wrong!
How frustrating it is to be on a path that seemed to work in clearing away blemishes only to see more show up after about two weeks or so of trouble free skin. I know that there are days when you yelled at your face in the mirror, “what do you want from me?!”
I can tell you I would think the same thing when they would come in for their monthly facials. The client would say, “I was doing fine for 2 or 3 weeks, then just before it was time for my facial, I started breaking out again.” What did her skin need to not just get clear but stay clear?
Over the last 30 years of practicing Holistic Esthetics, I found some key elements in maintaining a clear complexion. There are 5 essential elements that are needed to keep your skin in perfect peace and clarity. These 5 elements create an environment in and on the skin that make it difficult for the bacteria that causes you to breakout to live, multiply and inflame your skin.
Notice I didn’t say anything about oiliness. The oil in your skin is NOT the reason for your breakouts! It has a part in feeding the problem, but it is not the CAUSE of your skin problems. So stop fighting your excess oil and go after the real “enemy” in a way that is favorable to your skin but unfavorable to the bacteria that is causing your skin issues. We have all used one or two of these elements at some point, but all 5 need to be involved internally and externally for a more constant result of clarity.
1. WATER: Necessary for the transport of nutrients to your cells and waste material from your cells as well as to dilute toxins in your body. The right amount of water for you to drink is half your body weight in ounces. So if you weigh 150lbs, your water intake should be 75 ounces not 64 (your classic 8 glasses). Externally, doing a final rinse or misting with water that is more acidic (like distilled water) on your skin is good for keeping your skin soft and smooth.
2. ACID: An element your skin uses to protect itself naturally, it’s called the “acid mantle”. It’s a thin fluid layer that lays over your skin to protect against water loss and bacteria. Cleansing your face with harsh (alkaline) soap disturbs the acid mantle and leaves your skin vulnerable to attack.
Internally, consuming alkaline foods (greens, veggies, fruit etc.) and drinking alkaline water (7.5 – 9pH) actually helps to improve the quality of your skin’s acid mantle. Externally, skin care products with a pH range of 4.5-6 (acidic) are good for keeping dead cells moving from your skin’s surface which prevents blockages. A professional acid/enzyme peel every couple of months is good for a deep cleansing.
3. ENZYMES: Gobble up dead skin cells and create a hostile environment for bacteria. Internally, taking a food enzyme supplement will aid in the digestion of your food and particularly healthy fats which are needed for the body to properly absorb fat soluble vitamins like A, D, and E, our skin nutrients.
Externally, professional enzyme peels (which often also have a salicylic acid ingredient to put blemishes in check) and natural enzyme masks like pumpkin help to clear dead cells so the skin can breath. Enzyme exfoliation is a gentler alternative to gritty scrubs that can scratch or irritate sensitive skin.
4. OXYGEN: Makes cells healthy and increases your body’s natural ability to defend itself against all illness including acne and wrinkles which are both expressions of inflammation that damage tissue. Without oxygen, free radicals are free to run rampant to damage your cells and weaken your immune system.
Internally, actions like exercise, deep breathing activities like yoga, green leafy vegetables and adding liquid chlorophyll to your water help increase oxygen level in your blood cells which in turn feeds your skin and gives you a natural glow. Externally, professional oxygen and aromatherapy facials and incorporating certain essential oils into your home care regimen increase blood flow to the surface of the skin and creates a high oxygen environment on the skin that inhibits the growth of bacteria.
5. DIRT: It may seem oxymoronic to put dirt (i.e. mud or clay) on freshly cleansed skin or even to consume it but certain clays are beneficial to your body inside and out. Internally, clays like hydrated bentonite and charcoal are historically known to absorb toxins (especially chemicals) from the body, Externally, mud masks with clays like Montmorillonite, Kaolin and charcoal help to draw toxins, control excess oil, remove dead cells and mineralize to soften the skin.
When these 5 essentials come together you have a force that keeps your feeling great and breakouts at bay. Consult with your Esthetician and Natural Health care provider for information on get the products, supplements and professional care that’s best for you.