1. Fiddle with it
Last year, our beautiful goldfish who have lived in our pond for years laid eggs for the first time. My excitement was unbound. I collected the little munchkins, set up a nursing aquarium and waited for them to hatch. In three days, there they were. Then I tried to get it all ‘right’. I adjusted the pH, didn’t get it right, adjusted again, nope, tried again. I treated the aquarium against chlorine, ammonia. I put bay leaf oil against fungal disease, then a pH regulating mineral block for balance. Tried to feed them with algae, feed them with egg yolk, then, when it all failed, tried micro fish food, all of which sank to the bottom and fouled the water. At the end, you know what happened? Out of a hundred baby fish that’d hatched, all died, except one: Jimmy. Jimmy, basically, survived ‘me’.
Same is the case with plants, how when we seemingly ignore them they tend to thrive… Does anyone relate? Obviously you do the basics, you water them, feed them, repot them… But, then you let them be, and they thrive.
Just like a pond or a garden, our skin also is an ecosystem. It is always at work to achieve and maintain balance. Fiddle too much with it and the balance will tip off. The skin will then try, with all its might, to regain it; by creating extra sebum, by breaking out, or by developing rashes, dry patches, sensitivities to let you know “Hey, you need to change something, I’m struggling here.”
Obviously you need to do the basics just like in a pond or a garden. And the basics are: Cleanse, Hydrate and Nourish, and then you let it Balance. You let it be. Simply.
2. Be oblivious to your skin profile
For the majority of my adult life I thought my skin was oily, acne prone and downright problematic. As it turns out, my skin was actually very dry and quite sensitive. As I thought of my skin to be oily, I stripped off its natural oils with cleansers twice daily, I exposed it to products that I was totally ignorant about and that I now look back in horror. My skin responded by producing excess sebum to counteract the pace with which I was stripping it off. It broke out due to excess sebum and in order to detoxify the products it was exposed to. All of which gave me the wrong impression that my skin was oily and in general sucked.
Only when I correctly identified my skin profile, things began to change for the better. Now, I feel like I know the guy and can be totally friends with him. I don’t strip him off but cleanse gently, moisturize regularly and protect it kindly. I look after it naturally, chemical-free. He is, as a result, healthy, acne-free, grease-free and most of the time very happy.
See a skin specialist to get to know your skin profile and find out about your sensitivities or the allergies that you might have. Above all, be in conversation with your skin rather than judging it. When you have a skin issue, ask “what might be out balance?” rather than “what on Earth is wrong with you, again?”.
3. Pick at it
Oh the joys of it, right? I am in no position to preach about this but hey, let us not freaking ‘pick’ at our face, folks, ok? Let’s just not do that. You know what is more awesome that a volcanic zit on your face? A scab… And, ladies, what is even more awesome than a scab? Coagulated foundation around that scab… Hallelujah! Plus, when we pick our face we introduce to it a nice assortment of microbial matter that we scooped up somewhere with our hands, increasing the chance of getting even more impurities. It’s just not worth it…
What can we do though, right? There are many methods that can help make the impurities less inviting for a pick. Oil cleansing method works well to calm down the pimples and blackheads for instance. It works surprisingly quickly and effectively. I highly recommend you familiarise yourself with this method. The heat impedes the growth or the emergence of pimples, and the oil dissolves the clogging in the pores, which open up with heat. Plus a carefully selected blend of oils that suit your skin profile will nourish and support your skin. Perfect.
Gentle exfoliation and masks are also helpful. So are simple home remedies involving turmeric, honey, witch-hazel etc. It is a whole other blog post so I’ll leave it at that but if you have concerns see a skin specialist or at least do a search on natural skin treatments. Be proactive about caring for your skin and do it naturally.
4. Stress it out
Basically, if you want to have a bad skin just be horrible to your skin. Put it under stress. Do not hydrate, do not cleanse, do not moisturize, binge drink, binge smoke, expose it to harsh weather… The usual pursuits.
Seriously though, our skin covers our entire body and it is in constant engagement with the elements from within and without. It is a good idea to reduce the stress that our skin is exposed to so that it can maintain balance more easily.
The ways to do that are using moisturizers, especially on cold, windy days or dry weather. Avoiding over exposure to the sun and moisturizing after exposure to it. Sun is good for you but burning is not… Also a good idea is to cleanse regularly but not excessively. Drinking water and eating healthy, it goes without saying. Finally, in our experience, opting for natural, chemical-free products also go a looong, long way. So does common-sense…
5. Battle with it
Studies show that positive encouragement works much better than criticism in any environment and this applies to our relationship with our skin also. If you look at the mirror and all you see are flaws, all you’ll end up seeing is more flaws consequently. We’ve all been there and it’s so easy to do. The uneven skin tone, the wrinkles, the pimples, the dry patches…
We need to understand that our skin is trying its best to be healthy, clear and glowing. The question is, again, not “what on Earth is wrong with you?” but “what might be out of balance and how may I help you?”.
Let’s be kind to ourselves, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s be kind. We cannot always be happy and peppy; there are ups and downs in life that make it into a journey. One day our skin might glow, the next it might be dry, one day it might be clear and the next it might have a pimple… One day it might be youthful and one day you might see your first wrinkle. Celebrate your skin! Unconditionally and as it is… Support it along the way, protect it, nourish it. Let’s remember that our aim is to have a healthy skin. And, beauty, howsoever we may conceive of it, is simply a byproduct of health.
Let’s look in the mirror next time and see the beauty…
Have a lovely day, everybody.
Ekrem @ PLANT