The beauty industry is booming! Recent research reveals that women spend £10,000 in a lifetime on cosmetics and men are catching up. We all want to look our best as we face the world each day, but are products alone enough?
With many people now adopting a holistic approach to beauty, we called on top holistic health specialist and skin care expert Gemma Clare to share holistic beauty tips to get you glowing from the inside out.
‘Holistic’ comes from the Greek word holos, meaning ‘whole’. Rather than just addressing an immediate symptom, holistic therapy treats the underlying cause, considering lifestyle choices. When it comes to skincare the same ethos applies, explains Gemma.
Facial Skin Care
It’s essential to have a good daily home skin care practice using the correct products for your individual skin type. If you are not sure what the best products for your skin type are then she recommends having a skin consultation and warns that without proper knowledge of your skin’s needs you risk causing yourself unnecessary skin problems. Gemma advocates using ‘clean’ skincare products, comprised of plant and mineral derived ingredients that are free from ‘nasties’ such as synthetic fragrance and other skin irritants. She explains that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate the ingredients in cosmetics, some of which are known to be harmful (e.g carcinogenic or endocrine disruptors). When applied, these ingredients are absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
Gemma recommends a monthly facial in line with your skin renewal cycle. In addition to being relaxing, facials improve cellular health at every level, which in turn results in healthier cells being replicated. Daily recommendations include double cleansing morning and evening; the first cleanse to ensure all oil based debris e.g. makeup and sebum is removed, and the second to remove water based debris such as sweat. In addition weekly exfoliation and treatment masks conserve glowing, clear skin. Dry brushing in the morning is a must for detoxification, followed by a warm (not hot) shower to prevent dehydration.
Use broad-spectrum solar protection with an appropriate SPF for your skin type. Make sure you apply generously and reapply every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating. Many BB & CC creams include SPF protection so are ideal for daily use in the summer months. If the UV index is 7 or above, minimise exposure to the sun between 10h00 – 16h00, even on cloudy days, and take into consideration that bright surfaces e.g. sand, snow and water reflect UV and increase your exposure. If you have sensitive skin you may need to wear protective clothing, including a wide brimmed hat, and review certain medications e.g. oral contraceptives and blood pressure lowering, which react to UVA/UVB rays.
Smoking plays havoc with your skin. Nicotine encourages collagen cross-linking, which reduces elasticity, and narrows blood vessels, which prevents oxygen and nutrients from arriving at the capillaries in the dermis, resulting in premature wrinkles and sagging skin. Alcohol dehydrates the skin, causing it to look shriveled and dull, especially if the drink contains additional ingredients such as sugar, which can cause or aggravate acne. Limit alcohol consumption (or choose clear shots) to minimise negative effects to the skin. Beauty sleep is essential to encourage cell and tissue regeneration and to prevent dark circles and bags under the eyes and pasty skin.
Exercise; it increases cellular metabolism and the flow of blood and lymph throughout the body to keep your organs and tissues healthy as well as reducing cortisol levels, which help in stress management. Stick to a good weekly schedule and make sure you clean your skin thoroughly after your workout to prevent outbreaks.
Naturally good skin begins with your diet. After digestion you need to make sure that body has plenty of nutrients to feed your skin. A great skin diet consists of eating 3 times a day allowing at least 4 hours between meals to give the digestive system resting time. Incorporate different coloured vegetables rich in antioxidants, and protein high in collagen-forming amino acids at every meal as well as consuming a green juice daily. Ideally include half an avocado as it is packed with phytonutrients and essential fatty acids (EFA’s), which encourage healthy cell membranes. Fermented foods and raw foods are fantastic too as they are rich in enzymes and gut friendly bacteria, which results in clearer skin. You can include supplements such as live, activated bacteria, but- as with all supplements- make sure they are good quality. Ancient grains such as freekah, are also highly nutritious and easy to digest. Dairy produce is constantly debated; Gemma’s not a big fan of cow dairy, preferring goat and sheep dairy. She also recommends almond milk (preferably home-made!). With all dairy and meat the same approach to products applies: keep it clean. Many animals are now given hormones and antibiotics so always try to buy RSPCA- approved eggs and protein. Drink plenty of water so it flushes your system and helps your body retain moisture, which keeps the skin hydrated and looking plump.
Take time out to nurture yourself daily and enjoy the benefits of feeling and looking healthy and happy for life.
Gemma Clare is Holistic Health Specialist and Skin Care Expert who runs busy clinics in Harley Street and Chelsea.
For further insights and info, visit www.gemmaclare.com