A Useful Exercise In Complexion Care

What does your skin feel like right now? Balanced, calm, comfortable? Or oily, tight, inflamed?

What will your intentions be tonight when you cleanse and moisturise your skin? Do you take your time, carefully working the product into the skin? 

Do you have a skincare strategy? Do you buy what's most popular, prescribed or convenient?

This exercise is about frequent evaluation of both the current condition of your skin and products on hand. You may have noticed your skin doesn’t feel the same every single day depending on food consumed, hormones, weather or stress. Taking this into consideration, I don’t believe in being too rigid with skincare routines but rather flexible and adaptable to these factors. I highly recommend having two different cleansers and moisturisers or oils on hand to accomodate your most common fluctuations or at elast to update your routine seasonally. The next part of this exercise is to look at the individual components of your routine. It is easy to forget our skin is a living, breathing organ. We often take for granted the environmental assault and general wear and tear we expose ourselves to every day. I believe there is an over-emphasis on anti-aging and under-emphasis on ritual, protection and nourishment.

Our skin responds well to rituals. 

There is however, a current trend towards traumatising the skin in order to encourage healing. The science behind it is based around 'up-regulation' of the skin's function. In other words, it is thought that wounded skin will heal to a point of enhanced appearance. The benefits are short lived. I am often alarmed by the amount of cases of sensitised skin from overuse of cosmeceutical products and invasive procedures. This doesn't apply to those using an AHA/BHA/Retinol based product 2-3 times per week. To me, overuse means cleansing with an AHA cleanser, applying a lightening serum and layering that with retinol cream. I like to call this type of skin 'stressed'. It usually appears, reactive, inflamed, and imbalanced (slightly oily but tight and dehydrated). It is a common misconception that just because you've been using a product for a long time, you won't react to it. While active products can be useful, be weary of brands that promise miracle results in a flash. Inflammation caused by aggressive products leads to the formation of ‘self-destruct' enzymes that eventually breakdown collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid. Sounds counter-intuitive to me! This is why it is imperative to evaluate each step of your routine. Are you layering too many cosmeceutical style products in an attempt to achieve faster results?

Our skin has a very rhythmic pattern of shedding so a little patience will allow the correct products for your skin to work and show real results.

This isn't to say you have to miss out on a daily dose of powerful ingredients, simply opt for ingredients that are strengthening such as fat soluble Vitamin C, Ferulic Acid and Hyaluronic acid. 

The skin can be healed in a much more profound way with barrier restoration, dermal nutrients and adequate hydration. It is much more preferable to encourage the skin to perform as it should, a state of homeostasis. Let's not forget that beauty comes from within so it is only logical that wellness in beauty is about working with body processes, not against them. 

We are here anytime to help you expand or streamline your skincare straetgy as needed. No two people have the same skin so we welcome you to share your skincare concerns and goals with us for a personalised approach!

Grocery Guide

I believe in keeping meal guidelines relatively traditional, simple and easy to follow. I don’t believe we should be too restritive but we absolutley should be fussy about the quality of our food for envrionmental, ethical and health reasons. Clients and customers often ask me where I shop for groceries, pantry items and produce. This is information I share with my Naturopathy clients but would love to share with everyone. So, i’ve compiled a list of my go-tos.

WHERE TO SHOP

•        Wholefoods House Woollahra or Rosebery. Good for pantry items. They stock Inglewood chicken, Egganic eggs, Canadian Way Salmon, organic produce (but not always local), Argyle Meat, Bundarra Berkshires.

•        Kingsmore Meats Rose Bay

•        Feather & Bone- Online delivery

•        EthicalFarmers.com.au

•        Broth Bar & Larder Bronte for frozen/ fresh bone broth and good snack ideas that are nutritional eg Pate.

•        Entertainment Quarter produce markets (Wednesdays) or Marrickville market (sundays) or Bondi Farmer market (Saturdays) or Tramsheds Farmer Market (Sundays).

WHERE TO LOOK FOR RECIPES

•        River Cottage

•        Jamie Oliver

•        Hemsley + Hemsley

•        The Naturalista (Xochi Balfour)

•        Tess Ward

•        Soulla Chamberlain/ Star Anise blog

•        The Healthy Chef

•        Honey From a Weed by Patience Gray

•        Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

The Eight Pillars of Good Health

Good health isn’t just about food, it’s about a healthy life! Here are some of the core elements I believe help form healthy habits, attitudes and an all-round balanced routine.

·       Food

Variety, traditional, Mediterranean, seasonal, organic, real ingredients.

·       Movement

For tone, strength, fitness, metabolism, endorphins, circulation.

·       The elements

Sunlight, earth, water, embracing the seasons, grounding, floating, vitamin D.

·       Sleep

Enhances cognitive function, energy, physical and psychological rest, repair, healing.

·       Nervous system support

Developing a healthy stress response, adrenal gland support, energy, stable mood.

·       Routine and relaxation

Well stocked fridge and pantry for meal preparation, beauty and spiritual rituals, making time for life administration, making time for fun.

·       Environment

Outside and inside the home, reducing exposure to environmental toxins, health friendly cleaning agents, minimal clutter, organised, free of mould and synthetic fragrance, bedroom conducive to good sleep.

·       Community

Connecting and doing good for others, feel safe and supported.

Stay attuned to body’s signals and be open to making adjustments to your routine through the seasons. Play an active role in your health. It is vital we take responsibility for our own health. Find caring and knowledgeable practitioners to assist you along the way.

A Luxury Treatment

The ancient art of bathing

The ritual of bathing is not a new idea. It is well documented that the ancient Greeks and Romans practiced water cures, better known as Balneology. Traditionally, free-flowing water exposed to the sun is said to be particularly therapeutic. This is because the water is able to absorb the solar power and pass it on to the body. In fact, most ailments were treated with fresh air, sunlight and water.

THE BATH

There is an art to bathing. Firstly, the temperature mustn’t be too hot. A relaxing bath should be very warm but never scalding. At just the right temperature, around 40-45 degrees Celsius, a warm bath will better prepare you for sleep. If the weather is on the warmer side, a cooler bath will energise and is an excellent tonic for the skin. Be discerning with what you add to your bath. Anything too bubbly is not recommended as it will likely dry out the skin. It is better to choose something that will benefit the skin. I recommend either Epsom or Himalayan salts blended with essential oils. Add a generous handful for muscle relaxation, high mineral content and pH balancing properties. Try Jacqueline Evans Rose & Vanilla Bath Salts, $26.95 or Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts, $15. 

BEFORE AND AFTER

Your pre-and post- bath ritual is just as important. Dry body brushing is very effective at sloughing off dead skin cells and stimulating circulation. Start at the feet and work your way up the limbs in long strokes towards the heart. When done consistently over a few months, skin becomes smoother and more radiant. Post bath, gently pat the skin dry, being careful not to remove too much of the oils added to the bath. Wrap up warm and try to avoid letting too much body warmth escape.

Only bathe for 20 minutes maximum. It’s imperative to keep hydrated post-bath to avoid a headache. After drying, hydrate your body with an organic body oil or cream. This last point is particularly important because your skin will more even more receptive to what you apply so avoid anything with synthetic fragrance or parabens.

If you don’t have a tub or do not like to soak your whole body, a warm foot-bath with the addition of salts can be beneficial for detoxifying via the feet and stimulating circulation. This also has a powerful sedative action when suffering from a headache or general aches and pains.

Now that it’s warming up outside, don’t forget about mother nature’s bath- the sea. Salty sea water is abundant in minerals and sea air is high in fortified oxygen molecules. In other words, it is a natural disinfectant for the entire body.

No matter how you choose to do it, it’s nutritional, stimulating, cleansing, detoxifying ad relaxing. There really is no better way to reward your body and your spirit. 

The Human Aura

Studies by Metaphysicians have shown that the human body is surrounded by a coloured rim known as the aura. It is best thought of as a form of energy and it is becoming more apparent our individual aura has the ability to change or be influenced by both physical and psychological forces such as illness or stress. The bio-energetic aspect of the human aura can also be positively influenced by meditation, reiki and aromatherapy. Essential oils have been compared to human blood in that while they are not the entire plant, they are complete in themselves and like blood, they contain the elements and characteristics of the plant from which they come. After all, essential oils function energetically too. 

Explore our range of Vitruvi essential oils or learn more by picking up a copy of The Fragrant Pharmacy by Valerie Ann Worwood. Burning Palo Santo or Wild Sage is another effective way to shift energies. We also highly recommend the Palo Santo Space Mist by Happy Society.

 

Inside and out: 4 fabulous foods for your skin

1.     Seaweed

This nutrient-rich algae has been revered for centuries for its abundance of minerals. Internally, it is a source of Vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, C, and E, and minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chromium, iodine, zinc and other trace elements. Brilliant for supporting Thyroid function which in turn is good for metabolism and healthy skin. Sprinkle Dulse (a type of seaweed) flakes in soups, stocks, stews, miso, stirfrys or savoury dishes. Alternatively, use to ‘salt' pasta or potato boiling water. Topically, it is a powerful source of hydration without overwhelming the skin. Find Sea Algae Extract in our Kypris Antioxidant Dew and Moonlight Catalyst.

2.     Papaya

This delicious exotic fruit gives us hints of goodness with its beautiful colour. The orangey-red indicates the high beta-carotene content and it is brimming with vitamin C. Most importantly, it contains an enzyme called Papain which aids in digestion of proteins. One of my favourite snacks is a papaya ‘boat’. Simply scoop the seeds out of half a papaya, fill with organic full-fat yoghurt and sprinkle some activated nuts and seeds over top. Completely delicious and nutritious. Fortunately, the benefits of Papain extend to the skin and are amazing when used topically. Enzymes work to break down the bonds between dead skin cells, leaving you with a softer, smoother complexion. Find it in our Josh Rosebrook Active Enzyme Exfoliator. This superb product is both a manual and chemical exfoliant. On damp skin, gently work the product in circular motions and then leave for 10-30 minutes while the enzymes work to further exfoliate the skin. Genius. 

3.     Pumpkin seeds

A truly valued source of zinc. Need I say more? Just in case you’ve forgotten, zinc is found in every cell in the body and is necessary for skin integrity, a healthy immune system, happy hormones and for the repair of genetic material. Make sure your pumpkin seeds have been activated (a process of soaking and dehydrating to reduce a naturally occurring substance called phytates which otherwise impedes absorption of minerals). Pumpkin seed oil is found in our favourite Neroli Cleansing Oil by Wildcrafted Organics.

4.     Cucumber

The humble cucumber is surprisingly high in polyphenols aka antioxidants and can potentially inhibit the activity of pro-inflammatory enzymes like cyclo-oxygenase 2 (COX-2). It has a pleasing nutrient profile and should be enjoyed regularly. I always swear by the age-old remedy of placing a slice of cucumber over each eye to reduce puffiness. Soothing cucumber extract can be found in Therapie Restore Aura Spray.