How we live and what we put into our bodies directly impacts the health of our skin. Diet and lifestyle factors account for about 70% of the condition of our skin, while proper topical treatments influence the other 30%.
I’ve used a holistic approach to skincare since my early days studying to be an esthetician. As more of a lifestyle than a method, I believe in taking the long-term approach to skincare, addressing the root causes of skin issues rather than just surface-level fixes.
Here are some tips and tricks to get you started on a holistic skincare routine and specific solutions for dry, acne-prone, and oily skin conditions.
What is Holistic Skincare?
Holistic skincare is a comprehensive approach to skin health that considers the interconnections between the body, mind, and environment. It goes beyond traditional skincare practices that focus solely on topical treatments and addresses the root causes of skin issues. The core principle of holistic skincare is that the health of our skin is intimately linked to our overall well-being.
Furthermore, lifestyle factors like stress, sleep patterns, and exercise influence skin health. High stress levels can trigger hormonal imbalances that affect the skin, while proper sleep and regular physical activity help promote circulation and skin cell turnover.
Holistic skincare products work in harmony with your skin, respecting its lipidic barrier and ideal pH levels. This means supporting the skin with pH-balancing toners, milky and oil-based cleansers, and soothing serums and moisturizers.
Tips to Creating A Holistic Skincare Routine
The skincare industry's emphasis on "self-care" has gone a bit overboard. You don't need an elaborate skincare routine to properly take care of yourself. There are actually much more productive ways to destress and manage your health. For me, self-care means getting quality sleep, exercising, eating well, and managing stress levels.
If a relaxing facial with your esthetician or an evening skincare routine helps you unwind, by all means, go for it. But skincare products alone will not solve your skin woes, and that's where holistic practices come into play.
Here are some general tips on creating a holistic skincare treatment:
- Gentle skincare practices: Use a gentle cleanser like Environ’s Mild Cleansing Lotion, and don’t over-exfoliate, which can easily compromise the skin’s natural protective barrier, causing irritation and dryness.
- Incorporate facial massage: Use The Facial Massager or your hands to help boost circulation, encourage lymphatic drainage, release tension, and increase product penetration.
- Manage stress: Continuous high levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) can cause acne flare-ups and inflammation in the body, contributing to almost every kind of skin condition. Make time to do the things that help you relax and incorporate meditation and breathing techniques when stress arrives.
- Get quality sleep: Adequate sleep allows our bodies to work optimally, lowering inflammation and stress levels. The skin also enters a regenerative phase during sleep, boosting cell turnover and product effectiveness.
- Eat healthy: Avoid processed foods and excessive sugar and alcohol to keep skin looking its best. I also recommend an anti-inflammatory diet if your skin condition is flared up, including green leafy vegetables, fish, oils rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, and low sugar. Some studies even suggest removing refined sugars, grains, and dairy for a period of time to lower inflammation in the body.
Holistic Skincare for Dry Skin
Dry skin is often triggered by environmental factors such as low humidity levels in the air and extreme temperatures (cold or hot). But stress, genetics, age, diet, and overly drying skincare products can also play a role in dry or dehydrated skin, sometimes leading to chronic issues.
Dehydrated and dry skin have similar symptoms but different causes. Our skin’s hydrolipidic film, the protective layer between the skin and our environment, is made up of sebum (oil), perspiration, and water. Chronic dry skin is due to low oil production, while dehydrated skin is a condition caused by a lack of water in the epidermis.
Although we can’t control the weather or our genetics, thankfully, dry skin is one of the easier skin conditions to manage and treat. Start by nourishing your skin from the inside out with adequate hydration and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, biotin, and vitamin E.
For skincare, begin with a creamy, milky, or oil-based cleanser. Next, It is important to balance the pH levels in the skin using a toner to allow moisturizers to work more effectively. Finish your routine with a soothing oil-based serum and moisturizer.
Recommended dry skin holistic skincare products:
Holistic Skincare for Acne
Almost all acne is caused by hormone imbalances or fluctuations: progesterone, estrogen, and cortisol, the stress hormone. So starting from the root cause, lowering stress levels and sleeping better are the first steps to calming acne. Major changes in diet, environment, and new skincare products can also stress out your skin. Life brings us twists and turns, but we can at least keep our skincare routine consistent to keep our skin happy and balanced.
Beyond that, improper cleansing that leaves behind excess oil (sebum), dead skin cells, bacteria, or dirt can also block pores and cause acne. It’s tempting to turn to the drying agents we used in our teens. But as we age, our skin becomes more sensitive to those harsh acne treatments. Instead, treating acne is a balance of clarifying the pores while calming inflammation.
Once you’ve cleared the breakout of bacteria, acne is essentially a wound that needs to heal. So, after double cleansing with an oiler cleanser and a salicylic acid treatment, apply a light moisturizer with vitamins and peptides (proteins) to rebuild and rebalance the skin.
Recommended acne holistic skincare products:
Holistic Skincare for Oily Skin
In our society, oily skin is usually considered undesirable. But, a healthy amount of oil on the skin keeps it protected and moisturized, even leading to fewer wrinkles. The key, however, is to keep the skin’s oil production balanced because too much can clog pores and increase acne breakouts. Therefore, I view oily skin treatment as the same thing as preventing acne.
Oily skin is an excess of sebum production caused by genetics, hormonal imbalances, and environmental factors. Once again, stress and diet can be culprits for oily skin. However, humid climates can be a major reason for oiliness, as well.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, researchers found that a high-glycemic diet contributed to increased sebum production and acne. Instead of sugar and alcohol, focus on incorporating as much fresh fruit, vegetables, grains, and legumes into your diet.
Proper cleansing is key to controlling shine, and you may even need to wash your face both morning and night. For your nighttime routine, include a BHA exfoliant like salicylic acid to help regulate sebum production and prevent acne. I also love including a natural oil-absorbing mud mask into your routine as needed.
Recommended holistic skincare products suitable for oily skin:
Embrace A Holistic Skincare Routine
By embracing holistic skincare practices, you can achieve healthier, more radiant skin while fostering a sense of balance and well-being in your life overall. It's a long-term approach that encourages self-care, self-awareness, and a deeper understanding of the body's needs, leading to a more sustainable and fulfilling skincare journey.