Holistic Skin Health
WHAT IS A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SKIN CARE?
‘The term holistic, sometimes referred to as wholistic, is the philosophy and practice of healing that has to do with constantly keeping the whole body (meaning the physical body, the mind and the spirit) at the highest level of total wellness.’
Our skin is our largest organ. It keeps our body temperature regulated, helps to prevent dehydration and infections and protects us from the elements. It’s so important to our wellbeing, yet sometimes we forget to give it the respect it deserves.
Our skin is made up of three layers:
The epidermis is the skin’s thin outer layer
It continually renews itself by shedding dead skin cells and contains melanin, which gives colour or pigment to our skin.
The dermis is the thicker middle layer
It’s the layer that contains those somewhat magical substances collagen and elastin. It also contains sweat glands, nerves, blood vessels and the glands that produce oil.
The hypodermis sits underneath and is made up of subcutaneous tissue
This is the layer that lies above the muscles and protects our vital organs.
The saying ‘it’s only skin deep’ is a bit misleading – our skin is deeply connected to the rest of our body. So, it makes sense that it will be affected by what’s happening throughout our bodies, not just on the surface. Many people, including our founder Kiri, have found great benefits from taking a ‘holistic’ or whole body approach to skin health.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF HOLISTIC SKINCARE
A holistic approach to skincare is based on treating your whole body well – including your mind.
Ways that you can take a holistic approach to your skincare (and overall wellbeing) include:
- A good diet
As well as the right regime of products with only the right ingredients.
At AMPERNA®, we believe that the best way for your skin to look and feel its best, is to take a holistic approach. We’re not alone. A growing number of dermatologists and skin experts attest to the benefits that a holistic approach can have on skin health.
‘For ultimate skin health you need to treat your skin from the inside out.’
Kiri Yanchenko, AMPERNA®founder.
DIET AND SKIN HEALTH
According to the article ‘The role of dietary intervention in skin disease’ by Rajani Katta MD and Samir P. Desai Md, studies have shown that diet may influence the course of skin disease such as acne as well as helping to prevent skin cancers and skin ageing in some cases. The article reviews and discusses historic studies between diet and skin health and makes note of studies that have demonstrated an association between dairy consumption and acne and high glycemic load diets and acne.
‘Diet played a huge role in balancing out my pustular acne,’ says AMPERNA® founder Kiri Yanchenko. ‘I used an anti-inflammatory diet to help heal from the inside and active skincare to fully clear my skin.’
Anti-inflammatory diets vary and the right diet for you and your skin’s health may differ from what’s right for others.
Dr Gary Kaplan, founder and medical director of the Kaplan Centre for Integrative Medicine, has written a very helpful overview of the key components of an inflammation lowering diet, which includes:
High fibre foods (he recommends consuming at least 25 grams of fibre per day), a minimum load of nine serves of fruits and vegetables per day:
- Four servings of alliums and crucifers per week (this includes garlic, onions, leek, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and brussel sprouts)
- Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as cold-water fish, walnuts, kidney beans and soy
- Consumption of fish at least 3 times a week
- Using oils that contain healthy fats
- Eating healthy snacks such as Greek yoghurt or celery sticks twice a day
- Avoiding processed and refined sugar
- Cutting out trans fats (products containing words ‘hydrogenated’, which may include some margarines and cookies)
AMPERNA® founder Kiri says that she has always eaten pretty well, however if she is experiencing a skin flare-up, she uses an elimination diet and hydration to regain control.
‘I know what foods help me and I stock up on those. When I got perioral dermatitis I was very strict on the eating. I researched a lot about what would flare it up – like chilli, and avoided those things. I find dairy inflammatory and eliminated it to help my acne and perioral dermatitis. The theory of diet elimination also helped me eliminate topical products that could flare the perioral dermatitis as well. This helped inform the ingredients chosen for AMPERNA® products’.
Read about one dermatologist’s experience with patients suffering from perioral dermatitis and the effect of diet in this article in dermatology news.
HYDRATION AND SKIN HEALTH
Many of us think about hydrating our skin in terms of using topical moisturisers, but some experts maintain that it’s just as important to drink adequate amounts of water to keep the skin moist (there are conflicting views on this).
It’s ‘the combination of eating a well-balanced diet in lean, adequate protein and healthy fats along with staying hydrated’ that’s the key to nourished skin, says Dr. Caroline Cederquist, M.D in an interview for Byrdie magazine.
While we don’t know of any scientific studies that have found a concrete link between drinking water and skin hydration, we all know that adequate consumption of water is a key component of overall health, so you’ve got nothing to lose!
EXERCISE AND SKIN HEALTH
The benefits of exercise on heart health and general fitness are well known, but did you know that exercise can also benefit your skin?
Exercise increases blood flow, which in turn nourishes skin cells and helps to carry away waste products.
‘By increasing blood flow, a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system," says dermatologist Ellen Marmur in an article for WebMd. "You can think of it as cleansing your skin from the inside.’
Mindfulness can be described as a state of focussed awareness or consciousness, or ‘being present’. It’s a way of being able to accept feelings, thoughts and sensations and can be used as a therapeutic technique for mental health.
Did you know that mindfulness is also being used by dermatologists to help improve skin conditions?
In an article for the Dermatology Times titled ‘Can you benefit from mindfulness?’, the author cites a study where patients being treated with phototherapy for psoriasis responded to treatment more quickly when mindfulness or meditation tapes were also played.
The article explains, ‘Because the skin has been regarded as an organ that responds to emotional stimuli and psychological influences, mindfulness has been used in some dermatological interventions.’
If you’re interested in learning more about holistic lifestyles in general, you may find the links in this article ‘top 100 blogs and websites to follow a holistic lifestyle’ helpful.
Have you benefited from changes to diet, exercise or mindfulness in terms of our skin health? If so, we’d love to hear about it.
A BROADER APPROACH TO HOLISTIC SKINCARE
AMPERNA®s approach to holistic skincare also includes our stance against animal testing and our choice to leave potentially harmful ingredients out of our products.
We never use sulfates, parabens, PEG, vinyls, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, synthetic colours or bleaches, PPG, DEAS, TEA, aluminium or alumina. Many of these ingredients can irritate already sensitive skin and let’s face it, who wants to put a product onto their face that does more damage than good?