Wellness Corner: Good Skin

Celebrity Wellness and Philosophy Corner

– an occasional lifestyle column proudly presented by funnypearls.com

 

My approach to skin care is based on one simple, guiding principle: mind and body are one, and the skin is the body’s largest organ, meaning that the skin and the mind are effectively indistinguishable


Mornings are sacred.

I begin by sipping a glass of tepid water with a slice of unwaxed lemon while I cleanse my face with alcohol-free toner and visualise my plans for the day. After gently rubbing my face with an organic cotton flannel, I apply a rosehip oil detoxifying renewal booster elixir that enhances the effect of the ‘rejuvenate & recharge’ serum, which I add once my skin has absorbed the booster. Next, I dab a tiny drop of eye cream around the brows. It’s important to treat this area in order to delay the appearance of the crow’s feet that we women spend most of our thirties and forties worrying about. I finish with my daily moisturiser (SPF 30), which I massage into the skin using circular movements. This has been found to stimulate collagen production and enhance muscle memory. The massage is literally a form of conversation with the muscle during which I kindly instruct it to keep holding things up.

During the summer months, I may add a non-toxic sunscreen, factor 50, and if I’m in town, I always seal with anti-pollution balm.

Top tip: In the days leading up to ‘that’ time of the month, it pays to use facial products that contain more acid and less fat than your standard skin care regime in order to avoid break-outs and/or the dreaded oily look. Around this time it is also vital to carry an extra stack of blotting paper so you can remain self-assured and relaxed at all times.

You are what you eat and what you store it in

Nutrients are important, so I avoid sugar, salt, animal fats, dairy, gluten, hydrogenated vegetable oils, black tea (who wants kidney stones?), spices (except for turmeric which has been known to both prevent and cure cancer, sometimes in the same person), caffeine, parabens, chemicals (including aspartame), alcohol, grains (known to cause acne, eczema and anxiety) carbonated drinks, pesticides (obviously) and carbohydrates. The latter become glucose when digested and trust me you do not want glucose in your system. (Except a tiny amount for survival). It’s been years since I ate potatoes, fruit or berries and I feel much better for it. There is a myth, perpetuated by the international agricultural lobby, that the glucose in fruits is different to the glucose in, say, chocolate bars (an obvious no-no), but it is called a ‘myth’ for a reason. Glucose equals glucose, and don’t forget that lactose is also glucose.

I stay clear of wild fish (due to ocean pollution), farmed fish (these are as dangerous as bacon due to their high dioxin levels which are linked to organ damage and immune system dysfunction), fried, grilled or broiled foods (cancer), anything with E-numbers and anything containing oestrogen, although I sometimes allow soya because small amounts can benefit women of a certain age. From as early as our twenties, our natural oestrogen levels start to drop, eventually leading to brittle bones, reduced sex drive and insomnia. However, we have to balance the desire to strive for a decent oestrogen level with the health risks of consuming soya, which is a known cause of hay fever, asthma, breast cancer, cystic fibrosis, endometrial cancer, hypothyroidism, kidney disease and bladder cancer.

For the same reason, I never wrap foods in Clingfilm (huge oestrogen concentrations!). In fact, I stay clear of plastic boxes of all descriptions, instead storing and cooking foods in ceramic containers that I buy from a local workshop. You should always keep food products away from plastic, which is why you must never heat even a vegetarian ready-meal in its container, particularly not in the microwave. Microwavable materials are often coated with nonstick chemicals such as perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid, which are linked to cancer. Personally, I have also banned plastic bottles from the house. They are literally the equivalent of a game of Russian roulette, exceeded only by scented candles, when it comes to the threat to the respiratory systems of mammals. It’s made life a little harder, but I am of the firm belief that everything happens for a reason, and by eliminating single-use plastic bottles, I know I am helping the climate. It’s important to make a difference and I am adamant that I want to leave the planet in a better condition than it was in when I received it.

Handbag essentials and the importance of hydration

One of the best things you can do for your skin is to keep it hydrated, so I sip water constantly. Three litres is the daily minimum, unless you want your skin to peel off in large flakes leaving an itch and – in a worst case scenario – small scars and veins across the face which will need laser treatment in future. The risk of dehydration is also why I’m obsessed with my facial mist, which I carry at all times together with my flask. Needless to say, the mist spray is a must-have on airplanes as are supercharged moisturisers, lip balms, dry shampoos, hand cream, Vaseline, eye serum, disinfectant gel, cleansing wipes, vitamin C powders and a good Sudoku puzzle to exercise the brain. Mind and skin, remember?

Evening Rituals: Simplicity is key

Like any working mother, I aim for a swift evening routine. After removing my make-up using an oil-based cleanser, I apply a mild facial soap (look out for low PH value) before cleaning my face using my sonic facial brush. The rapid oscillations ensure that any residue is safely removed, leaving a clear and glowing complexion. I follow up with a massage and a rinse using a gentle exfoliator (when necessary). Then a quick wipe with the toner followed by serum. These are essential steps. You do not want to drag bacteria onto your pillow. Built-up oil, dirt and particles mean that the average pillow is now dirtier than the average toilet seat. In addition to causing acne and damage to one’s hair extensions, the dirt particles attract dust mites, which, if inhaled, will lead to lung disease and breathing problems.

While my skin absorbs the products, I apply my overnight eyelash and brow booster and fill the narrow lines in my forehead with an expandable gel that keeps any woman’s enemy number one, the dreaded frown line, to an absolute minimum.

I complete my evening routine by applying a moderate layer of cell renewal restorative night cream. It is during sleep that the body restores itself and recovers from the strain of the day, so it’s important to help it along as best one can.

On Sundays and Wednesdays, after a quick wax followed by an orange and ginger peel, I sleep in my Overnight Skin Renewal Superlift Face Mask with two slices of locally sourced cucumber on my lids.

While I do miss the occasional soak in the tub, I’ve learnt that exposing the body to warm water increases the risk of the dreaded varicose veins, so I’ve abandoned this routine for a swift dry brush with my divine age-defying body polisher. Its coarse bristles ensure an easy and natural brush, which is crucial for drainage of the lymphatic system and delivering essential oxygen and nutrients to the skin. It also eliminates the risk of developing every woman’s worst nightmare, the appalling cellulite that is such a source of self-hatred in us girls. In fact, brushing is literally the polar opposite of self-hatred as you have to brush towards your heart. What better proof that you’re working on the love relationship with yourself. And, as they say, if you don’t love you, nobody else will.

After a brief rest (brushing is hard when you do it properly) I rub in a thin layer of unscented body serum before gently applying my overnight body lotion, paying particular attention to the often overlooked area around the ankles.

Peace

I am constantly working on honing my intuition and in the last hour or so before I turn in, I take a moment to sit by the window while my detoxifying tea is brewing in the kitchen. This is a good time to unlock any communications headed my way from the universe. At this point, I also switch on the nightlight so that my eyes can get acclimatised to the darkness – the dimmed lights help the brain understand that it’s time to go to sleep. I then settle with my tea and practise mindfulness by evaluating the day’s achievements. As for any disappointments, I file them in a compartment of my brain, which I like to call the ‘bin.’ As I change into my nightgown (loose fit, cotton), I simply visualise myself emptying the bin into the container behind the house. Voila! Problems gone, mind cleansed.

Before my head hits the pillow, I take a snake oil tablet with vitamin D, a natural anti-aging capsule and a herbal supplement to boost cognitive function. I top up with a moderate dose of Temazepam (prescription only).

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