One of the most popular workshops I’ve taught over the years is on natural skincare. The principles, though simple (and unusual), really deliver results for my students. Here are a few things we cover in my skincare workshop for skin that's brighter, clearer, and dare I say glowier:
1. Avoid using soap. Really. Yes, please use soap to wash your hands and the parts of your body where bacteria proliferate.
Unless you’re very dirty just use water and friction to wash most of your body in the shower. Soap strips the skin of its natural oil layer. The natural oils create a protective layer that not only keeps your skin moisturized, supple and young, but also provides some natural SPF and creates a barrier against pathogens– it’s part of the immune system!. Daily stripping of this layer leads, at the very least, to dryness. Instead, use a clay or oil based cleanser on your face and use soap just where you actually need it.
2. Shower less often. Or for a shorter time. Or just use water that isn’t so hot. Hot water strips the oils off our skin to a greater extent. Invest in a bidet perhaps?
3. Use herbal oils on your skin. Oils can be a great addition to a skincare routine, as they can help to nourish and hydrate. They can also help regulate the production of sebum so your body can recapture what it loses when you strip its protection away with over-washing. You can use the oils as a moisturizer or include them as part of a multi-step routine. And massaging oil into your skin can be a whole-body affair, not just for your face.
4. Switch to a more anti-inflammatory diet. This one is always surprising. There is strong evidence that indicates certain foods can trigger inflammation in the body, which can manifest as skin issues such as acne, eczema, redness, or puffiness. By switching to an anti-inflammatory diet, which emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods, skin can dramatically improve.
What you see going on with your skin can be an indication of your overall health so if your skin is struggling with acne or inflammation you likely have something else going on internally that could use some focus and care.
At the very least you can support skin health by supporting digestive health by supporting your liver if you take a few drops of bitters at the start of every meal. This stimulates the liver to help it perform better and helps your body produce more digestive enzymes to fully digest your food.
5. Embrace herbal skincare. In addition to going soapless and using face oils that means also using nourishing and clarifying plant-based mud masks weekly and toning and hydrating hydrosols daily (hydrosols are distilled plant waters, made in the same process as distilling essential oils).
Like I said, this is the tip of the iceberg with what I typically cover in my natural skincare workshops. So if you have any questions I’d love to answer them in greater depth. We normally also cover sun care (this bit is truly revolutionary for my students!), the myriad benefits of body oiling, how to build a skincare routine for your skin type, and more.
And as always, I’m a folk herbalist. I teach based on what I’ve learned from my teachers, from the plants, and from my own experience. Consult with a dermatologist or aesthetician before changing up your own routine.