Just the other day I got to catch up with an old friend that I worked with at my first job as an esthetician. We were on the phone for over 2 hours catching up on the years that had passed by. While reminiscing she reminded me that as early as 19 years old I approached my skin care practice the same as I do now - with an integrative approach. It sort of hit me that I have always just looked at skin care this way and that may not have been the norm back then. I have been asking my clients about everything from diet, stress and hormone health since day one because I recognized early on that skin is a reflection of our internal health. We simply don't have to suffer with these imbalances if we discover the root cause first. When I meet someone for their first appointment with me I send over a 12 question health history consultation that scratches the surface on your internal health. That background sheds some light on what I can do to your skin as well as an understanding of where you are physically and emotionally. I want to break down some of the questions to help you gain a better understanding of how it’s all connected and why I often have to read between the lines...
What is your ultimate skin goal?
This question might seem like the obvious choice to focus on during the post but really I sort of glance it over until after I meet an individual. After working on an endless amount of men and women ranges all ethnicities and ages, I know that it’s rare to have a realistic sense of self when it comes to your skin. Many of us amplify the negative instead of focusing in on what we like about our skin. The reason I briefly look over your goal is because I want to know how you feel about your skin more than what you are actually looking to fix. Once I work on your skin I start to get to know what type of individual you are with your care and the emotional connection to your skin imbalance. It's more important to me to help you see that you are deserving of great skin than for me to promise to take 20 years off your face (newsflash I'm not a magician). Once you start to actually accept yourself for who you are that's when the magic happens.
What is your stress level like?
Stress is an inevitable part of life. It can sometimes be our driver for success because we use that adrenaline to push us to our limits. Whether it’s our workouts, pulling all nighters for work or becoming a parent for the first time. Stress is always going to be there. A lot of us deal with stress differently and it can really affect our internal health if everything feels amplified. Discovering this very valuable part of someone’s health is not something I ever want to shame anyone on because how we cope is a product of our environment and how we were raised. Many of us didn't have an example of proper stress management and deal with cortisol depletion from way back in our childhood. The thing is that it’s never too late to learn new patterns and we can always start small. If someone is hyper stressed or just genuinely exhausted the last thing I want to do is ask them to put more on their plate. We can determine the right type of care based on your lifestyle. Whether that means a condensed skin routine, more support from me or some basic health hacks. Just know that my job is to give you the tools to help better manage your stress so you can succeed at your health goals. Use me as a resource and guide when things feel overwhelming with your skin, I promise I can help you calm down and walk you through the best care.
Nourishment and Immunity
The connection between hormones and diet are the most common topics and are constantly being written about in clickbait health blogs. But to me it’s even more important to shift the verbiage so that you can feel like you have some sort of control over your circumstance. If I read one more post about “beat the bloat” or “hormonal acne” I will throw my computer (not really because it’s expensive but you get it). Firstly, we are shamed into thinking we have to eat a certain way based on the trendy superfood that starts finding itself on an influencer's instagram. It's very important to understand that each of us are incredibly different and that is something to be celebrated. My favorite nutritionists, Tara Curran and Amanda Carneiro, both understand this concept and are such great reminders that we don't have to fall prey to the social media shaming trap. I want to help you discover what foods work for you by navigating through what your skin is telling me. Whether you confess to certain cravings or find it difficult to maintain a consistent diet, all of this information helps me set you up for nourishment success. I look at skincare in such a similar way that I do to food and that is with the right ingredient combination, you could change your whole outcome.
When it comes to hormones, I'm no longer polite about how I feel about the terrible way we have been educated on this subject. First, we are all hormonal. Secondly, hormones don't cause your acne - otherwise we would ALL HAVE IT! There - I said it! The reaction we get to our hormones being out of balance can cause a lowered immunity in our system that is as if we are about to get sick, therefore our skin is more susceptible to infection. Going on birth control for your acne is not the answer. The answer is support your lymphatic system, implement proper self care and find the right type of nourishment as well as supplemental support to help stagnant systems. I'd rather you spend your money on acupuncture to help balance out any skin issue than assume that the fix is in birth control. I am all about our right to choose and if you are genuinely on birth control for pregnancy prevention, that is a totally different conversation. The key point is to try to balance your system by rooting down and treating your body they same way you would if you were about to get sick. That way your immunity is supported and your skin will reflect those supportive practices.
Movement and Rest
If you start to notice that your skin showing signs of stress, such as under eye circles, increased pore size and blotchiness, those can all be rooted back to your lack of movement or sleep. Exercise and sleep patterns are one of the most important ways to reset your system for optimal skin health. The reason why I need to know your patterns is because such subtle changes can prevent you from having to do a whole skincare overhaul. Our skin is active at all times of the day and also does some major heavy lifting at night. During your sleep cycle your body is resetting itself to eliminate toxins which is why we usually have to pee right away in the morning. It’s also why our tongues might be coated and why our skin feels dehydrated. We sweat and naturally eliminate debris that is no longer needed. If that sleep is interrupted or cut short, our systems aren't done resetting yet so we will start to eventually showcase those signs on our skin. At the very least try to get a full 8 hours. If you need support to stay asleep try going screen free accompanied by a peppermint tea an hour before bed.
Our skin's success is based on proper circulation, elimination of waste and a supported lymphatic system. Basic movement everyday can help you achieve all of that. If you are able to get some movement in your system right away in the morning you can set your entire body up for success. Going on a morning walk or run outside will help you body excel with the fresh oxygen and vitamin D you are allowing it to take it. It’s absolutely invigorating for your whole system, mind and body.
So now that you see what I'm truly asking when I send you my consultation form I want you to know that I can always read between the lines. I'm here to help so try to open yourself up to this integrative approach. It's far cheaper than having to spend tons of money on excessive skincare treatments and expensive products. It's also a better way to connect with your whole body instead of isolating all of your different systems. Your body is always working hard for you and when you get to tune in to what it is communicating to you, you can really shift your whole health around. You deserve to feel, look and be your best self! Thanks again for reading and have a great week! xo - Hayley