As a person who heavily identifies with the struggles of being a perfectionist I do notice that I tend to have a physical response to the word itself - "Perfect". When someone tells me they want “perfect” skin, it really hurts my heart because it creates an emotional block that we have to investigate. I have tried to overlook the term as it has followed me around my whole life, but it’s gotten to the point now where I am doing you a disservice if I don’t correct this terminology. Healthy skin does not equal perfect skin. I’m going to repeat that: HEALTHY SKIN DOES NOT EQUAL PERFECT SKIN. Health is an ongoing journey to bettering yourself for the sake of feeling good while having love, acceptance and appreciation for yourself. Perfection is not attainable and generally comes from a place of low self worth, self loathing or simple delusion that you have to fit a mold. As someone who has struggled with anxiety their entire life, it’s easy for me to fall into my perfectionist trap and unknowingly use the term with intent on delivering a positive message. So today I want to breakdown the differences of why healthy skin doesn’t equal perfect skin and advice on how to shift your mindset towards acceptance in being your true self.
Our skin is constantly communicating to us exactly what it needs, it’s just up to us to tune it. After a facial I typically check in with my clients to see how their skin is responding. The ideal situation is that after a few days of healing from the exfoliation and extraction, their skin is vibrant and hydrated. That is the ideal of what we are looking for to maintain. Often times though we may experience a post treatment breakout or flare up and that’s when you have to consider how to set your post facial habits up so you can recover flawlessly. Flare ups are a great opportunity to sync back up with your skin as well. Give yourself some time to allow your skin to heal properly by taking care of yourself first. When you actively participate in your health journey by incorporating mindful practices your skin will reflect those choices.
So let’s say you are seemingly doing everything right and your skin is still acting up. That is still okay. Your body is then communicating that this is not an overnight recovery and your skin will indicate which organs need the most help. One of the things I love the most about my skin now is that if I’m ever imbalanced in my hormones or digestion, my skin will reflect it so I know I have to focus on the rooted issue before jumping to invasive treatments on my skin.
Living in Los Angeles I often see what people are trying to achieve in terms of “perfect” skin. It requires lots of resurfacing with multiple acid peels and retin-a as well as injections of filler and botox to soften and fill the face. If that isn’t enough most people are on a oral medication as well such as antibiotics like clindamycin and doxycycline or even accutane for mild cases. All of these prescriptions individually and in small doses for high grade cases are actually quite valuable. I personally don’t have a problem with peels or injections of any kind however if they are used to cover up your skin’s ability to heal itself it can completely disconnect what your largest organ is trying to communicate to you. Oral medications also will always have side effects that can last a lot longer than a breakout as well. So unless you have a high grade of acne it can be more damaging to your whole health in the long run. Most people I encounter are relying on these practices as their basic skincare practices. These skin recommendations as well as the high heat and sun in LA only lead us in a spiral of inflammation fighting inflammation. It's exhausting to our skin and doesn't allow it to heal itself, which is one of the most incredible functions skin can do!
I’ve worked on countless cases where a client was prescribed a harsh topical, invasive treatment and oral medication but I was able to clear the issue in a matter of a few regenerative cycles. My method is to help connect you with the health of your skin and shift away any habits that lead to any negative self talk. A client that has been struggling with acne or rosacea for a while yet they are actively making changes to heal themselves from within, their skin is still responding to that self care and love. It may take a while because these types of conditions are deeply rooted and connected to multiple organs as well as emotional connections. Just knowing that you are working on it makes your skin much healthier than someone who is masking the problem. And having those inflammatory conditions doesn't automatically make you unhealthy, it means your body is healthy enough to be working so hard for you and is just processing. I can't stress enough how valuable it can be to tune in to the body with love and care during these times. At least so you can start to feel compassion towards yourself and let go of the pressure of being "perfect".
One of my favorite things to do is teach people how to cleanse their skin with love. We recently did a Skin Food Talk event on how cleansing is a self care practice and I get reminded every time I lead this workshop about how uncomfortable it can be for people at first. Most of us don't look at ourselves and see the positives. It's easy to immediately detect the blemishes and signs of aging so we tend to fixate on that before looking at the big picture. The big picture is that you are so unique and exactly where you need to be. Your best skin will only start to reflect once you shift towards being your best self. If you honor yourself by choosing the see the positives first and allowing yourself to love your skin as is, you will lose a lot of the unnecessary pressure to be "perfect". Perfection is not the end goal for your health and especially not your skin. If you balance your life with love and happiness your skin will reflect all of that - I promise. Allowing yourself to breakout without a freak out is how you will get to the other side of what your skin is trying to reveal to you. We all have health goals for our skin but to erase the ability for our skin to communicate it's functions isn't how to achieve lasting results throughout the decades. Learn to listen and love what you have and the rest will work itself out.
Thank you again for reading and know that you are everything you need to be exactly as you are right now. Keep doing your best and know that that is enough. xo - Hayley