Whether you are looking to educate YOURSELF about a different (better!) approach to skincare OR if you are a handmade skin care business owner looking for quotes and snippets to educate your CUSTOMERS, this guide to holistic skincare is going to be a slam-dunk resource for you.
A holistic skincare approach is not just going to help skin look and feel better, but the rest of the body and mind as well.
If this is your first stop in learning about anything holistic, get ready to have your eyes opened to a whole new way of thinking about overall wellness (skin health included)!
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What is Holistic Skincare?
In one sentence, holistic skincare is all about understanding that everything in your body, mind, and environment is connected and has an impact on your overall health and wellness (which directly impacts the skins appearance).
This type of skincare goes far beyond just using the ‘right’ type of product for your skin, and addresses your hydration, diet, quality of sleep, stress levels, and more.
The definition of ‘holistic’ is to take into account the WHOLE person rather than just the symptom; holistic skincare considers every detail of the daily experience of an individual to benefit their skin’s health from the inside out.
Very VERY exciting, yes???
Is Holistic Skincare the Same Thing as Natural Skincare?
There are sooo very many ‘buzz words’ in the skin care industry: cruelty-free, all-natural, plant-based, vegan, preservative-free, green, clean, organic, handmade, holistic, etc. etc. etc.
While each of those phrases have their own unique definition, to the average customer, they all tend to get lumped together and simply leave the impression that these products are simply ‘better’ somehow than products that DON’T use those words on their packaging and marketing (spoiler alert, this is not always true).
‘Holistic skincare’ refers to a regimen and even a lifestyle, whereas ‘natural skincare’ refers to products that use naturally-derived ingredients.
An extra note just to be clear: There are no FDA regulations in place to verify these claims on products – as an example, a company or individual maker could use one or two natural ingredients while also including synthetic ingredients and still label it as ‘natural’.
As an organic skincare maker and certified aromatherapist, I must say for the record that this is not honest and not ethical. Educating yourself on how to read labels and investigate a company is your only real defense.
Holistic Skincare and Plant-Based Products
Holistic skincare emphasizes and encourages the use of plant-based products that don’t include synthetic chemicals, water, alcohol, or preservatives.
You’ll want to look for oil-based products, cold processed soaps, face mask powders that you can add liquid to on your own right before application, and moisturizing bars and salves that use beeswax and unrefined butters.
These types of products are most easily found in small-batch, natural skincare shops that make most of their items to order. This omits the need for adding preservatives, as they won’t be sitting in the back of a big box store for months before even starting to be used.
Plant-based, chemical-free products are recommended in a holistic skincare regimen because they reduce the toxic load on your immune system.
When synthetic ingredients are placed on the skin, white blood cells have to do the work to remove those molecules from the body because they are seen as invaders.
When natural ingredients are placed on the skin, they are happily accepted by the body, freeing up the white blood cells to take care of more important business.
Personally, I would rather my white blood cells focus on taking care of abnormal cells, bacteria, and viruses instead of having to attack a serum that is loaded with synthetic fragrance and fillers…agreed?
It’s an absolute no-brainer (assuming you know what to look for…and now YOU do)!
Plant-based skincare products for the absolute win.
Holistic Skincare and Hydration
I’m sure you’re not surprised that hydration is on the list of holistic skincare topics.
Drinking plenty of water helps to keep skin hydrated from the inside out, which prevents dryness, wrinkles, and other signs of aging.
Water makes up roughly 64% of skin cells, and being properly hydrated helps your skin look vibrant (not to mention its other amazing benefits such as flushing out toxins and improving blood flow).
In addition to drinking enough water, limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake is equally important.
Caffeine (coffee, tea, energy drinks) and alcohol actually cause DEHYDRATION, as they are both diuretics (increase urine production).
As a side note, on top of dehydration, these two very common types of beverages also cause increased oil production, inflammation, increased stress, and sleep disruption…each negatively effecting the health of the skin and zapping it’s ability to glow and regenerate cells.
This means that even if you ARE drinking enough water throughout the day, you can be canceling out the benefits depending on your intake of caffeine and alcohol in other parts of the day…in more ways than just hydration.
Fun fact: Did you know that 12 hours after you take your last sip of caffeine that 25% of it still remains in your system? If you’re a ‘drink coffee until lunchtime’ person, try setting an alarm to remind yourself to put down that cuppa joe by 9am to get better sleep (and skin…and stress management…are you beginning to see how everything is completely connected?).
Holistic Skincare and Regular Exercise
Getting regular exercise is about much, much more than maintaining your desired waistline. We’re talking improved circulation, increased collagen production, reduced stress, and improved sleep…all which directly impact skin appearance and health.
When your blood flow and circulation increase, oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the skin while simultaneously flushing out waste products and toxins (don’t be afraid to work up that sweat!).
Exercising also increases a protein called collagen that helps skin to look plump, youthful, and radiant.
It isn’t commonly known that stress can actually express itself in skin conditions such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis. A consistent exercise routine helps to reduce the level of cortisol (the stress hormone), helping to clear up skin AND mindset.
Last but not least (and I know you know this one!), exercise helps make that sleep so much more sweet and easy!
Holistic Skincare and a Healthy Diet
If you’ve been depending on that multi-vitamin to give you all of your needed health benefits, it’s time to read up.
While taking supplements are better than nothing, getting your vitamins and antioxidants from whole foods is always the best way to go.
Eating foods that are high in Vitamin A, C, E, Zinc, and Omega-3 fatty acids are key for skin health, as they not only help to stimulate collagen (keeping your skin firm and elastic), but they also help to protect your skin from environmental damage.
Some foods to always keep stocked and in your routine meal plan are avocados, berries, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and salmon.
Holistic Skincare and Deep Sleep
It may seem redundant to have a section on sleep since it has already been mentioned a few times (because everything is connected!), but here I want to talk about WHY sleep matters so much.
First things first, we’re not interested in any old sleep. What we want for your skin health and overall wellbeing is DEEP sleep, also known as slow-wave sleep.
This stage of sleep is the deepest phase of NREM (non-rapid eye movement) and is essential for your immune function, memory, physical restoration, brain health, cell regeneration, bone growth, inflammation reduction and mood regulation.
All incredibly huge and important for enjoyment of daily life.
Related to skin specifically, deep sleep stimulates cell turnover and collagen production, which helps to keep skin supple and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
This benefit of inflammation reduction during slow-wave sleep also helps to combat skin conditions such as eczema and acne, which are triggered by stress (…and sleep deprivation also leads to increased stress…I know you’re beginning to realize that when you think about it, everything is so DIRECTLY linked together!!!).
The importance of sleep is a topic that fills entire blogs, books, and research studies.
One of the best books that talks about this at length (but in a very easy-to-digest way) is Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD.
A must-read for any holistic health enthusiast:
Holistic Skincare and Stress
Isn’t it amazing how you can tell right away when you, or a friend, or a family member is stressed because it just…shows…on their skin somehow?
I’m here to give you ‘the why’ behind that thing you just can’t put your finger on, and it all has to do with a hormone called cortisol.
When cortisol levels are increased (which is what happens on your insides when you’re feeling ‘stressed out’, in that fight or flight red zone), it:
- Weakens the skin’s elasticity (which leads to wrinkles and fine lines)
- Increases inflammation (which leads to redness, itching, and skin thickening)
- Disrupts sleep patterns (which shows up as dark circles and puffy eyes)
- Increases oil production (which leads to acne and clogged pores)
There are so many ways that you can naturally combat stress, and many we have already discussed here today, through omitting dehydrating beverages, getting regular exercise, and allowing for deep sleep.
The lesser known approach to stress reduction is by implementing mindfulness practices into your life, which we’ll discuss next.
Holistic Skincare and Mindfulness
Mindfulness by definition is a mental state that is achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment to acknowledge feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations as a therapeutic technique.
Much of our lives, when left unchecked, are spent either ruminating about the past or worrying/planning/thinking about the future.
While thinking about the past and future can have positive outcomes, such as reliving cherished memories with your loved ones or setting goals for a successful business launch, they can also deeply effect the brain and mindset.
Rumination in a negative way includes over-thinking past conversations or experiences in a recurring cycle that cause stress and can eventually lead to depression.
Thinking too much about the future and worrying about factors you can’t control lead to anxiety and what is referred to as the ‘monkey mind’, a brain that bounces back and forth from detail to detail in a panic.
Practicing mindfulness can come in many forms, but some common and effective ones are meditation, using a gratitude journal, deep breathing exercises, yoga, and including affirmations in your daily routine(s).
Staying in the present and reinforcing positive thinking reduces stress and anxiety, which in turn also reduces inflammation, resulting in healthier skin health and appearance.
So yes, gratitude can actually help make your skin glow (from the inside)!
Passionate About Normalizing Holistic Skincare?
If you are a skincare entrepreneur that wants to take their brand and business mission to the next level, I strongly encourage you to add this information about holistic skincare to your offerings.
If you have your own website builder, share informational blog posts with your readers.
If you have a skincare line, consider adding printed resources about holistic skincare into your customers’ orders for them to read and share with others.
No matter what your platform, education is always a well-received topic for social media posts and weekly newsletters.
There are so very many ways that we can work together to share this information about holistic skincare to better our audiences’ lives and health – for even more inspiration, be sure to read how indie skin care is the bridge to holistic wellness.
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