I love that the field of holistic health and wellness encompasses so many different topics. I get to write about nutrition, fitness, stress management, lifestyle, the environment, alternatives to today’s mainstream healthcare choices, and healthcare in general.
I also get to write about lighter topics like hair and skincare, nails, and makeup. How do these topics fit in? They may seem superficial, but I believe that these topics deserve as much attention as the more mind, body, spirit topics because they are a reflection of the level of balance, or lack thereof, of those areas of one’s life.
The skin can reveal one’s exposure to environmental and internal toxins, whether or not systemic inflammation is present, one’s level of stress, as well as the health of one’s digestive tract, or gut. The health of one’s hair and nails also can indicate imbalances. Prematurely graying and thinning hair may indicate inadequate consumption and absorption of vitamins and minerals, or deficiencies of macronutrients such as healthy fats and high quality proteins. Nails that have bumps, splits, ridges, discolorations, or other abnormalities can indicate many different internal issues including thyroid disease and adrenal fatigue.
And makeup? One’s choice of whether or not to wear makeup depends on many things—level of confidence and self worth (some people feel confident without wearing a speck of makeup at all and it shows), one’s value of artistic expression, self care, health of the skin, and so on.
Sometimes I tend to focus on one topic for several posts, other times I mix it up a bit. Since this blog and the HH communities on Facebook and Twitter are growing and new readers join us everyday, I sometimes like to post links to earlier posts about topics I don’t write about as much anymore.
Today’s topic is Exfoliation.
My views on exfoliation have drastically changed over the years. Like many, I initially thought more was better. I’d scrub away at my face every day in the shower as a teenager, even though I had really bad acne at the time. I just used the scrub indicated for acne-prone skin. Later on, I went for microdermabrasion treatments and when I was in school for aesthetics, I’d get chemical exfoliation treatments once to twice a week. Why? Because I wanted to get rid of the dead, old skin on top and reveal the fresh, healthy, young, new skin underneath—just like the commercials and advertisements say.
Well I began to notice broken capillaries on my face, and some new mild discolorations. I also began doing research outside of our standard textbook of what exfoliation actually does to the face, and how those “dead” skin cells (the stratum corneum layer of the epidermis) are there for a reason—to protect the delicate cells underneath. Those delicate cells underneath are what produce melanocytes (our protective melanin pigment cells), and the “proteins of youth”, collagen and elastin. When you interfere with the skin’s normal processes by exposing those cells too soon, you are prematurely exposing them to environmental microorganisms and toxins and free radicals. This can damage those cells and even cause them to mutate. It can also cause dehydration of the skin and prevent proper circulation of nutrients within the dermis (innermost layers of the skin where skin aging actually occurs).
I’ve written a lot about this topic in the past, and more experts in the fields of aesthetics and dermatology are beginning to teach classes and publish material questioning the industry’s overuse of exfoliation in general. As more information comes out, I will continue to write about it.
In the meantime, here are the my top 5 posts about exfoliation from the earlier days of Holistically Haute™.
- All About Exfoliation
- Help Your Skin Exfoliate Itself...with Water
- Chemical Exfoliation: What You Need to Know
- Microdermabrasion: Proceed with Caution
- Rethinking Exfoliation
What are your thoughts about exfoliation?
*Images 2 and 3 courtesy of the ASCP.