Holistic skin care when combined with other healing behaviors, can restore the beauty of your skin and heal it of disorders from which it may suffer. Holistic skin care sees the body as an integrated unit in which every function works together to achieve the type of harmony that equals good health. One of the consequences of health is beautiful skin. A healing diet, efficient digestion, regular exercise, restorative sleep, and a commitment to achieving emotional harmony all combine to create glowing skin and a beautiful face. As we eat foods that restore our health and beauty, we must turn to high-quality skin care products for the same effect.
Special medicinal plants can work miracles on your skin. They are powerful sources of healing that people have been using to restore beauty for thousands of years. Skin care products that are made from nature’s healing plants bring forth and magnify your beauty. Plants are a rich source of healing substances and vital energies. These life-giving plants are the basis of both your diet and your skin care – and thus, your beauty.
To heal the beauty of your face, begin with four basic steps: cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and appropriate night care.
Cleansing your face is the most important step in your skin care regimen. During the night, as you sleep, the body is actively engaged in healing itself. As the body heals itself, it gathers waste products and sources of disease and tries to eliminate them through the urinary tract, and the mouth. The same process is taking place in your skin. When you wake in the morning, layers of toxins are sitting on its surface. Morning cleansing removes them and allows your skin to breathe freely again. Cleansing also promotes blood circulation, cell renewal, and the free flow of sebum to the surface. Among the jobs that sebum performs is sustaining the acid mantle, which is a vital part of the body’s defense against disease.
Your skin is a self-regulating system that is continually attempting to produce just the right amount of sebum, or oil, and, thus, keep itself properly moisturized. Keeping the skin clean allows it to regulate and balance its oil production. With the pores open and unblocked, keratinocytes (the outer surface of the epidermis) can migrate freely to the surface and replace the stratum corneum, the hard surface that guards against antagonists in the environment while keeping moisture locked into your tissues. All of these natural efforts, supported by cleansing, combine to keep the skin healthy, vital, and free of any blemishes or acne.
Toning and Strengthening
Toner completes the cleansing process. At a minimum, toner helps rinse away any residual cleanser from your skin. At the same time, it strengthens your skin, promotes elasticity and tightens your pores. Some toners can also cause your moisturizer to penetrate more deeply and enrich the dermal layers of your skin. Toners that contain medicinal herbs can help treat various types of skin conditions, including acne and rosacea. Adults and teenagers with blemishes or acne can benefit tremendously from a healing toner because it removes excess oils and dead cells that clog pores. Be careful of commercial toners. Many contain synthetic solvents, such as salicylic acid, a compound found in aspirin, and propylene glycol, a petroleum by-product that is also used in antifreeze and brake fluid. These types of petrochemicals irritate and cause allergic reactions in many people.
When used properly, moisturizer adds to the moisture content of your skin to keep it soft, flexible, and supple. Moisturizers work primarily by creating a barrier on your skin that keeps moisture from evaporating from the surface. A good moisturizer does what the stratum corneum (the upper layer of the skin) is meant to do – keep moisture inside the skin. Moisturizing is among the most misunderstood aspects of skin care.
Many people believe that the more moisturizer they put on their skin, the more moisture will get into their skin. Actually, only tiny amounts of moisture from the moisturizer itself get inside the skin. People either don’t know or forget that the best any product can do is to help the skin do the job it is already doing. The skin has a built-in moisturizing system that is constantly attempting to regulate its own moisture content; we don’t want to replace this skin’s function. Rather, we want to support it and strengthen it when we can. Here is a basic rule of the body that you should keep in mind when using moisturizers: Use it or lose it. In other words, if you don’t use the body’s inherent functions and abilities, you will lose them. If you overwhelm the skin’s efforts to moisturize by applying excess moisturizer, you weaken the skin’s ability to moisturize itself. Moisturizers that contain medicinal plants not only moisturize but also heal the skin and promote its own moisturizing abilities.
We often burden the skin even further when we believe, incorrectly, that the skin does the same work during the day that it does at night. During the day, the skin naturally produces more oil in order to protect itself against environmental insults. At the same time, the skin’s antioxidant defenses are directed against the impact of the sun’s ultraviolet rays and other sources of oxidation, such as chemical pollutants. Meanwhile, bacteria and viruses attack the skin but are neutralized by the acid mantle. A good moisturizer provides much of that protection, not only keeping the moisture within the skin but also strengthening the acid mantle.
At night, while we sleep, the skin shifts gears and performs an entirely new set of tasks: It heals itself. With the body at rest, the skin utilizes the nutrients consumed during the day – especially the plant-based antioxidants and phytochemicals – to restore, renew, and replace cells and tissues. It works hard and, not surprisingly, breathes hard. The skin breathes through the pores. At the same time, it’s getting rid of waste products that were gathered during the healing process and are now expelled through the pores and hair follicles. This is all part of the skin’s job. You don’t want a lot of moisturizer or oils clogging your pores while you sleep because this will only increase the likelihood of blocked passageways, blackheads, pimples, and other skin eruptions. Skin should be free to breathe and eliminate toxins optimally and efficiently.
Daytime is when moisturizer is important. Most moisturizers contain some form of oil. There are four general types:
The first group is plant-based moisturizers. These are derived from a remarkably diverse array of plants, including almonds, avocados, coconut, jojoba, olives, palm, sesame and sunflower seeds, and wheat germ. Plant oils penetrate the skin’s surface and add moisture to the skin.
The second type of moisturizer is made with animal fats – primarily fish oils, cholesterol, and lanolin. We don’t recommend animal fats because they do not break down easily and often clog the pores, resulting in blemishes, acne, and other skin disorders. Also, animals consume and are treated with a wide array of highly toxic substances. Those poisons collect in the fat of the animals and can be transferred to the skin through products made from animals raised by conventional livestock methods.
The third type of moisturizer, which is mineral oil-based, is derived from petroleum. These moisturizers are heavy and tend to clog the pores and block elimination. Further, they are difficult to remove from the skin without heavy soap. They also trap heat from the sun and atmosphere and raise the temperature of the skin, resulting in inflammation. People with sensitive skin often react negatively to mineral oils and suffer blemishes and acne.
The final type of moisturizer is vitamin E-oil-based. These moisturizers are also known as tocopherols. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, protects skin cells, and slows the aging process. Vitamin E tocopherol oils are derived from a variety of plants, most often alfalfa, almond, fennel, and wheat germ. They can also be produced synthetically, but you should avoid the synthetic versions, because it is very likely that they will not have the same degree of potency or protective effects. If you use vitamin E, make sure it comes from plant sources; do not use synthetic versions. Some common moisturizers do not contain any oils. These are called humectants, such as hyaluronic acid. These moisturizers can draw moisture to your skin from the environment, but the effect can also backfire and draw moisture from the dermal layer of your skin. In addition, it’s a good idea to use moisturizing masks, which can be applied in the evening and rinsed away before bed. Natural masks contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that not only hydrate but also purify the skin.
A night skin care rule: not to apply any cosmetic preparations on the skin for the night, but just clean it and let it excrete undisturbed, which is also a purification for the skin. However, there are products specifically designed to assist the skin’s efforts to heal and eliminate toxins at night (problematic skin or certain skin conditions). We realize this is contrary to what many people believe, but the truth is that putting moisturizers or oil on your face at night is contrary to what your body is trying to do while you sleep. The skin`s gland secretions are excreted more intensively in the night. That means the skin is subject to the parasympathicus effect during sleep and absorbs bio-cosmetic preparations best during the day, in our active, awake period, which indicates a resuming sympathicus effect. Night care for the face should support the skin’s efforts to heal and eliminate waste products. The simplest way to accomplish this is to wash your face thoroughly in the evening with an herbal cleanser. Go to bed wearing nothing else on your face. When you wake up in the morning, cleanse your face to eliminate the toxins expelled during the night.