When treating the skin, I prefer to adopt a holistic approach - not only looking at what is happening on the skin’s surface but also what is going on in the body that could disrupt the skin from functioning healthily. With all of my skin treatments, the end goal is always to get the skin to a place where it is healthy, balanced and functioning normally on its own.
The most common condition I see on the skin that can be preventing it from functioning normally is dehydration. Almost every new client I treat suffers from dehydration, although that is often not the main reason they come to see me.
Many of the conditions that cause people to seek my help are merely symptom of dehydration – for example dull, sensitive, congested, enlarged pores, blackheads, oily T-zone and flaky skin. Essentially, a hydrated skin is a healthy skin; so, if the skin is dehydrated, it’s just not functioning effectively and can lead to conditions such as these.
When the skin is dehydrated it often over-produces oil to try and balance the dehydration. This can cause the very common ‘combination skin’, where you are excessively oily in some areas and dry in others. If you treat the skin as oily - where basically you are trying to remove the excess oil - this will only cause the skin to keep producing more oil because it already feels as if it doesn’t have enough. Instead, we focus on getting moisture back into the skin, so that oily/dry feeling will normalise out. What we want is for your skin to be normal and balanced. When the skin is hydrated it’s not over-producing oil, nor is it dry or flaky. It will be plump, glowing and smooth in texture.
A dehydrated skin is lacking water or moisture. Contrary to popular belief, you can drink as much water as possible and still have dehydrated skin. The skin has a natural waterproofing layer; this means that water cannot escape the body through the skin. It also means that what you drink internally cannot reach the surface of the skin. The best and most simple way to rehydrate the skin, then, is to soak the surface of the skin with water. Have you ever noticed that when you are in a humid country, your skin looks so much better? It’s often more plump and healthy. That’s the humidity in the air, hydrating the skin! When we don’t have enough moisture in the air, we need to create that humidity, which is what soaking will do.
All you need to do is fill your handbasin with warm water, take a face cloth or piece of muslin, and press the damp cloth to your skin for a few seconds. Repeat this 3 or 4 times and then apply your products directly onto the damp skin. This will help to seal in the moisture.
Other things that can work against having a healthy skin are:
- Overly harsh or stripping products
- Over-exfoliating the skin
- Diet - there are foods that are linked with congesting the skin and others that can cause an inflammatory response
- Alcohol and medications
Making sure your skin is healthy and hydrated on the surface, as well as eating a balanced diet (avoiding processed foods and eating more whole food) and managing stress and other lifestyle factors, will lead to having a much happier and healthier skin.