As someone who suffered from eczema, psoriasis, hyper-pigmentation and acne for years, I understand how frustrating it is to have no control over your skin. We aggressively cleanse, over medicate, and apply too many products that really don’t remedy the problem as part of the fear response, the fear that if we do not do something it will get worse. Often times we strip the skin or apply so many barriers that our skin can’t even breathe. If the placebo or subtle change of it improving begins, its never to last indefinitely, only for the cycle of skin stuff to start again with any sort of stress, change in lifestyle, change in temperature or even change in soap.
Let me tell you, my skin journey has included everything from top of the line skin care, laser treatments, facials, chemical peels, at home masks, blu-U light therapy, steroids, antibiotics (topical and internal) and even Accutane in my teens. After each treatment, new antibiotics or anything else, I would have hope, that my skin would improve, and stay better. It never did.
Today, I go for facials occasionally, take a plethora of supplements, hydrate appropriately, eat well and use very basic skin care. My skin is great, and I often wear little to no makeup, finally being able to show off my skin after envying people for years, who had great bare clean skin. So you might be thinking, is it what I was using that has made this change? Am I seeing a new aesthetician? Was it puberty causing this? (No, this does not last 12 years!) Its none of the above.
I believe that superficial facial treatments can enhance your skin and improve your skin, but they cannot change your skin.
We spend tons of money on these treatments, expecting a full change in our skin. Some of the more aggressive treatments can definitely “change”your skin, by resurfacing or tightening it, but fundamentally, your body supplies the building blocks for this so your final lasting outcome is dependent on you. You cannot achieve good skin if you are toxic, inflamed, don’t drink enough water and have a poor diet or the wrong diet for you (unless you have strong genetics, but trust me that doesn’t last forever.)
There is no quick fix to changing your skin.
There are many quick fixes to improvingyour skin, but when your body is producing new cells daily, what you have available and the internal environment of your body will determine what shows up outside. Your internal environment is everything from genetics, other conditions such as PCOS, asthma, food allergies, hormones and more; but it is most importantly your diet. Antiglycation endpoints also known as AGE’s aren’t great for your cardiovascular health, and they show up in the skin as hyper-pigmentation and uneven tone. High aerobic activity and clean eating but not consuming the right type of fat might show up as thin skin, sunken temples, and hard face that looks dehydrated and aged. Consuming high mucus forming foods might be making you puffy, your features undefined, and having the appearance of poor bone structure. Chronic acne can be due to so many things not limited but including, poor gut health, toxic overload from heavy metals, parasites, too much heat in your body (from a TCM perspective), food sensitivities, chronic inflammation or more.
The approach you take to skin is dependent on you.
Sometimes we need conventional therapies such as accutane, steroids and antibiotics to get things under control, but the burden this puts on the body requires us to also replace, replenish and support what these treatments alter. This can include our liver metabolism, our gut micro biome, nutrient status, and skin thickness and sensitivity to light. Its a double edged sword, where there is no one size fits all approach because the cause of the problem is different for everyone.
I have used a a lifestyle approach to skin, and it works. The benefit of this approach is not only that I no longer have acne, hyper-pigmentation, eczema or psoriasis, but my skin texture has improved, I look radiant, my hair and nails are healthier, my gut is happy and I feel good. On my journey to improve my skin, I improved my overall health. There is no perfect, it takes self awareness and when I burden my body too long, things will start to show up, but its not often, its easier to control, and it doesn’t last long.
So I am not saying don’t use good skin care, or not to have enhancement treatments, but what I am saying is that these are the accessories to your skin.
Anything that you do that is causing skin cell turnover, micro-inflammation, using your own blood products (PRP), or influencing tightening through collagen formation will benefit from supporting your body first.
Ensure you have the right building blocks and co-factors to not only form great skin, but that your body can eliminate waste appropriately so that you look healthy, young and radiant. Take a holistic approach to your appearance, its not a quick fix, and it can take some time depending on the concern,
but in my experience its absolutely worth it.
Written by: Dr. Mashael Mawji, ND BSc. FNH (Hon)