It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘do this, no, do that’ jargon of ways to keep your skin glowing, clear or ageless—when it comes to skincare, marketing takes the lead, and it can be extremely confusing, expensive, as well as potentially harmful to your skin. We hear you, we’ve got you. I’m going to cover three of the most common skin worries, and show you some research into what facial might best suit the issue.
Remember that our outer layers are also mirrors to our internal layers. For example, your gut. Keeping a healthy skin has everything to do with what you put into your body or what may be inflaming your digestive system. I want to start off by saying that if you’re yearning for perfection, just stop there. Our skins are delicate and so is our mental health—what is most important is how you feel, and every single one of us deserves to feel great! So, release perfection into the nonsensical realm that it came from. Done it? Cool, now we can begin with a facial, recommended by dermatologists, that can aid in healing your skin.
Light-emitting diode (LED) therapy is a one stop for many issues. The lights themselves have actually been used since the 1960s, but people have only recently begun to use them as a skin treatment. NASA originally developed these LED lights for plant growth experiments in space, if we were to ever need a vegetable patch on Mars. Anyway, the science has shown results in wound healing and human tissue growth as well. How does it work?
Fundamentally, healing is a result of your skin’s reaction to the LED light rays, the penetration of which triggers a biological process that helps the skin rejuvenate and heal itself. There are three different kinds of light to consider here: blue, white and red.
Experts believe that blue LED light reduces activity in the sebaceous glands, which are tiny oil producing glands in the skin. The light reduces the activity that these glands produce, therefore they produce less oil, leading in turn to improved acne. Blue light also kills a type of bacteria that contributes to inflammatory caused acne.
White light penetrates the deepest and works to tighten the skin.
Red or amber LED light is more common. It is said to improve scarring and signs of ageing by targeting skin cells that are responsible for collagen production, which is a protein in the skin (as well as other connective tissues) that plays a role in skin healing. As we age, the body produces less collagen, and red LED lighting encourages the opposite. This kind of light also targets oil glands to reduce cytokines, which are what cause inflammation and therefore play a role in bringing up acne. The devices essentially send light waves deep into the skin, which triggers your body’s natural intracellular response.
All skin responds differently to each type of light. If it’s red, your skin builds, strengthens and maximises cellular structure. The bluer lights, as stated above, targets and wipes out the unhealthy bacteria.
Peach fuzz, or a little more fur than needed on one’s face is extremely common, and so is dead skin. Our skin is dying all the time, and regenerating, layer upon layer. Exfoliating your skin is paramount when it comes to reaping the benefits of your lotions and potions, but you don’t want to be using harsh scrubs on your face either. This is when dermaplaning comes into play, and by the way, please see a real professional for this facial. Also, if you have highly reactive skin, like those with rosacea or keratosis pilaris, or if you’re experiencing a break out, you’ll probably want to give this one a miss, because it can spread the bacteria. What is it, and how does it work?
A buildup of dead skin can clog up your pores, unsurprisingly, so what dermaplaning does is, essentially, shave it all off. By aiming a sterile blade and dragging it slowly across your skin, you remove dead cells, scar tissue, and other debris that may be making your skin’s surface look uneven. Our skin is exposed daily to harsh toxins and irritants, all of which doesn’t get removed frequently enough, so this is a good facial option for those who want a smoother complexion.
Another exfoliant facial is something called microdermabrasion, which is a minimally invasive procedure used to renew overall skin tone and texture. It works by basically sanding (with microcrystals) away the outer layer of the skin. Simultaneously, this stimulates collagen and elastin production naturally, as your skin reacts to the facial.
Chemical peel facials are commonly used to combat skin issues that require more exfoliation as well, and the types of chemicals used will be decided upon consultation with a dermatologist. There are many different types that target different skin, for example: trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and lactic acid rev up collagen synthesis deep down and dissolve the drab skin on top. Salicylic acid peels dive into unclogging pores while skimming the surface to erode blackheads. Always wear sunscreen after a chemical peel, or any facial for that matter. You should really wear it every day regardless, as it’s the number one thing you can do to help your skin heal itself while being protected from uber damaging UV rays.
Dry skin is something many of us will encounter at some point in our lives, and it can be painful to say the least. There is a huge amount of hydrating facials to choose from, but we couldn’t leave the dry skin issue out of this list due to just how common it really is. One therapy is something called a Hydrafacial, which will be available in most dermatology offices. It is known for its three-step process: a deep clean, an exfoliation and a hydration boost.
First, a wand-like device will lightly scrub and brush away dirt and oil from deep in your pores, then it acts like a vacuum cleaner to suck away those extra impurities, leaving your skin open to the products that will be chosen for your skin type, and in turn replace those pre-existing impurities. The moisturisers or serums will definitely vary—they may be oil-based or water-based depending on the texture and sebum activity of your skin.
Time to treat yourself!
Chances are you’ve used a home remedy at some point, even the questionable ones like a ketchup hair mask to combat chlorine tinted hair (also known as green), or the less whacky, lavender essential oil dropped on a pillow for sleep and ginger honey tea for your throat itch. As more of us start leaning towards a ‘cleaner’ way of living, one without the pills and syrups filled with ingredients we can’t pronounce, we also look for home remedies to replace the former.
Whatever your ailment, there is an alternative remedy that has been traditionally used for generations. Plants had life figured out before we tried to after all, but most importantly to mention, just because they’re plants doesn’t mean they’re any less powerful—be aware of allergies, and run your experiments past your GP first.
When our bodies or minds are in pain, it’s usually down to inflammation. Like anything, if you stub your toe, it will become inflamed. The same thing happens on the inside of your body, if you eat something you shouldn’t have, your bowels will become inflamed too. Inflammations can result in common issues like acid reflux, gas or cramps to name a few. Of course, all of us react differently to everything, no body is exactly the same. There is also a lot of nonsense out there, so we will outline only the tried and tested home remedies, and what we use ourselves, which may or may not work for you.
No supplements are listed, just real, whole food.
Turmeric is a rhizome, a member of the ginger family. This golden nib of glory has been used for over 4000 years and is known for its bright orange colour and for containing the bioactive compounds curcuminoids.
Curcumin is one of these curcuminoid compounds, which is what you’re trying to get out of turmeric. While turmeric contains only 2 to 9 per cent curcuminoids, 75 per cent of these active curcuminoids are curcumin, which is why curcumin is the ‘star’ of turmeric. Turmeric is an antioxidant powerhouse and a key player when it comes to lessening existing inflammation and dampening future inflammatory pathways.
However, the spice has low bioavailability, meaning that it isn’t easily absorbed or processed by our bodies. Plants work together though, and studies show that black pepper increases the bioavailability of both turmeric and curcumin due to its active compound piperine. So if you’re cooking it or adding it to your carrot soup, don’t forget the pepper. An extra note, turmeric stains, so don’t forget the apron either.
These come from Omega 3s. These three are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Our bodies can’t manufacture these fatty acids, so it’s important to get them from your diet. We primarily get these fatty acids through eating fatty fish like salmon or anchovies. If you don’t eat fish, you can still get your ALA from plants, like nuts or flaxseeds. Think of it like oil for your car, to keep the engine running smoothly you’ll have to grease it up. Our bodies are the same.
We all poop. Sometimes, we have off days, and that’s normal. But regular bowel movements are the goal here. First, try to eat more fibre, drink more water. What enters your body must exit, so what you put in drastically affects what comes out. Move, go for that walk, make sure you’re moving your body on the inside too. If this doesn’t work:
This delicious fruit contains an incredible amount of health benefits but more specific to constipation, it contains an enzyme called papain that aids digestion. Enzymes break down food. In other words, it’ll soften your problem. In fact, it is often used as a meat tenderiser. If you can’t find the fresh fruit, find the seeds. Just one or two seeds should do the trick. A word of warning, the seeds aren’t as tasty as the fruit. You can also use the papaya skin for sunburn, just plop it on there and let it work its magic.
These are for emergencies only. Psyllium is a form of fiber made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. It works as a laxative by increasing the bulk of your stools, which encourages your bowels to move them through your digestive system and this in turn relieves constipation. It also soaks up water, so it can help with diarrhea too. Because of the way it soaks up liquid it can be used as an egg replacement in baking or to thicken up soups. However, this is not an everyday form of fibre, so don’t treat it as such.
Anxiety is something many of us are struggling with at the moment, understandably. Sleep is one of if not the most important pillar of our health and wellbeing. The two are a tough pair. Our guts are frequently being called our second brains by doctors and researchers alike, and we aren’t ignoring it.
Kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir, miso, yogurts and tempeh, just to name a few, have been around for thousands of years and there is no doubt about why. We have bacteria all the way through our digestive tracts, and on our bodies.
Fermented foods are rich in probiotic bacteria and by consuming them you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, which increases the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system as well as enhances your immune system. Prebiotics are what feeds the probiotics, such as cruciferous vegetables like cabbage or broccoli. Like pepper and curcumin, they go hand in hand. These beneficial gut microbes dominate and suppress the growth of harmful microbes, the ones that contribute to ill health, including neuropsychiatric disorders like anxiety.
Valerian root is a flowering plant native to Europe and parts of Asia. Valerian is commonly used as a sleep aid for insomnia, which can often be caused by anxiety. This is a powerful herb, and should not be used in conjunction with antidepressants or if you are pregnant or nursing. The Valerenic acid increases levels of GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that reduces brain cell activity, and therefore aids in sleep.
What we eat affects our daily life, how we function, think and feel. Medicine of course has helped humankind in such amazing ways it’s difficult to fathom but simply igniting an interest towards what we put into our bodies will help us too.