At the risk of starting this post like I’m about to go on a rant, I just want to preface that there is some education squeezed in here so keep reading to get to the good stuff. I can’t help but get a little annoyed when a client tells me that they were given advice by someone else when it goes one of two ways. Either the advice is something I’ve been trying to drill in my client’s heads but they seem to only hear it from someone else. Or it’s completely conflicting with my advice but they take it instead! Maybe it’s the youngest child syndrome but I do have a really hard time with people not listening to me. If you take the time to come to see me, spend time telling me everything about your skin and health, and then decide that my advice isn’t for you - that’s one thing. However, I find that the issue lies more with people who are seeking a very specific result are not only completely shutting my advice off but look to me to blame when things aren’t getting better. This may seem harsh, but you can understand my frustration. 95% of my clientele are very compliant and benefit greatly from my feedback because it’s personally tailored to them. So why do the 5% not take the advice? I can’t answer with certainty but my impression (and personal experience with being a client myself) tells me that there is a huge block that needs to come down first.
The perfect example to start with is almost every client I do extractions on I give this piece of advice: IF YOU FEEL SWOLLEN, MASSAGE YOUR SKIN WITH A WRAPPED UP ICE CUBE. If you’ve heard me say this before and have taken the advice, you know how simple this is and how quickly the skin responds to it. When you’re dealing with inflammation in the skin it’s generally caused by an increase in heat in the system and that inflammation can cause infection and blockages in the skin. This includes painful breakouts, rosacea flares, or stagnant pigmentation. Cooling your system can start with an alkaline diet and calming the inflammation topically. Most people will have the instinct to over strip the acid mantle because they want to kill bacteria or turn over the cells faster. But let’s face it you can’t fight inflammation by creating more inflammation. It’s all about keeping a nice balance so that your skin’s microbiome doesn’t go out of whack and your barrier is restored. Once that is aligned the rest of the skin can resolve its own issues, like balancing oil production and turning over cells naturally. So why is it that for every person I tell this to only about 50% of people take the advice? I write it down, I remind via text or email, it’s sent out in an auto-email post-treatment, it’s on my website as a suggestion for product purchase...the list goes on. And this is just the simplest example because it’s the most frequent. Is it possible that people don’t realize that they are overcomplicating skincare?
Well, it comes down to taking accountability on my end. I honestly looked up how to “give and receive advice better” and found a great article on the Harvard Business Review. The part of the article that stood out the most for me was:
“On both sides, it requires emotional intelligence, self-awareness, restraint, diplomacy, and patience. The process can derail in many ways, and getting it wrong can have damaging consequences—misunderstanding and frustration, decision gridlock, subpar solutions, frayed relationships, and thwarted personal development—with substantial costs to individuals and their organizations.”
The last thing I want is for you to spend more money on your skin than you have to, which is why I advise simple solutions such as icing the skin, however, the common factor amongst the folks who don’t take the advice is the background that they come into their session with me with. If previous providers, doctors included, have given you advice or prescribed homework that hasn’t worked, why would my advice be any different? That’s just the thing about skin health though - since everyone is such a unique set of cells, it’s really difficult to have a consensus on how to treat certain conditions. If there was only one way to treat breakouts or flare-ups, wouldn’t we all just do that one thing? My advice is based on my knowledge of skin and years of experience. It may not be conventional but it has helped many, many individuals who deal with major blocks in their skin. Deepening my understanding of what will work for you means I have to see how your skin responds in your treatment and a full health history. Creating a custom routine for someone isn’t something I have ever taken lightly because I want to really follow my intuition and line it up with what resonates with yours. This task may mean we have to reevaluate from time to time, so instead of running to the next skin therapist or the beauty blogger’s version of advice, try to stick it out to see what can shift in your skin. Often times when someone gives up to go on an oral medication, they were just about to turn the corner but an emotional block prevented them from accepting the fact that they may have been able to solve their own problem. Just because you have a skin condition it doesn’t mean that it’s your fault. Many people blame themselves, consciously or not, for having their health manifest imbalance in the skin. Sometimes it’s even blaming the behavior they had when they were young, like eating fast food or too much sugar. Holding that much weight on yourself for how your body decided to evolve can be the block that holds you back from solving the issue. Practicing compassion for yourself is key here. Blame is an irrelevant part of skincare because it only causes turmoil towards yourself and others which creates yet another barrier that you have to work on. Whatever health behaviors and patterns you had in the past that may or may not have led to your skin’s current health condition is not something you have to hold onto. Your skin is communicating with you and you have the opportunity to listen in and shift your mindset.
The best case scenarios are my clients who see this as an opportunity to finally clean up their diet like they have been wanting to or switch their products to more natural ingredients. The key difference is the outlook on why this is happening because if you take away the blame factor, the 'why' seems way more apparent. Once you have the 'why' the solutions start pouring in. You will get pinged (as Lacy of Free + Native would say) as to what works and what doesn’t. Whether it’s being drawn to a certain product or procedure to making mindful life changes. The moral of the story here is that people will continue to give you advice, whether it’s from me or not, but you’ll be right back to where you started until you shed the layer that’s holding you back from receiving the advice. Absolutely no one has perfect skin and the people who seem like they have it may have struggled with an imbalance at some point in their lives. Don’t let this define you and remember that this is only a moment in a lifetime that you will be with your skin. It will work for you to protect you throughout it all so just try to find a little gratitude in that. It will get better, whether it’s with my advice or not, so a simple mindset shift may be the first step towards it.