I’m dedicating the last three weeks in June
to talking about skin care.
…we are going to be showing more of our skin in the summer months than we do at any other time…
…so it might as well be as glowing, gorgeous and radiant as possible!
- So this week — let’s talk basic skin care.
- Next week — I’ll share with you how to troubleshoot summer skin concerns like sunburn, yeast overgrowth, athlete’s foot, and bug bites.
- Lastly, on the third week — I’ll tell you all about the intuitive energy of the skin and how your skin is speaking to YOU!
My skin care motto is: simplify.
Let me tell you a little about my background… Before becoming a Mom I was considered going into Dermatology, so in med school I took three times the regular amount of training in Dermatology, because that was my focus of interest (and was so much fun too!)
I also spent four summers throughout college working at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD… working with a research team who was investigating oncogenes.
And my entire childhood… my father was a top scientist at the forefront of melanoma research. So growing up we traveled all over the world (literally) to scientific meetings as he presented his discoveries on skin cancer and melanoma.
So in my lifetime I’ve gotten tons of extra training in both the areas of cancer research and in skin care.
With this background, I feel that the more you chronically irritate something, the more likely you are to develop cancer in that organ.
As straight forward as that.
And that includes the skin, our body’s largest organ.
Most of the over the counter anti-aging products you can buy through drugstores, department stores, and even health food stores, contain ingredients designed to chronically irritate your skin.
- This is because they’ve found that by chronically irritating skin at low levels… low enough that you may not even see any skin reaction visibly… you are chronically encouraging it to slough off and turn over new cells.
- This is why low but consistent doses of retinal products and hydroxy acids and other skin acids (even all naturally derived fruit acids) works to give your skin a refreshed surface… chronically forcing new cell turnover.
- While this is great in the short-term (you get fresher skin within a few weeks) in the long-term, chronic irritation and inflammation has been shown to incite cellular damage.
Chronic inflammation is turning out to be one of the major factors in all types of disease… from coronary artery disease, to stroke, to cancer.
So, my goal as a physician is to decrease the levels of inflammation and irritation in and on the body as much as possible.
And that includes your skin!
It is routine practice now to try to decrease the level of inflammation inside our bodies… for example, decreasing the level of inflammation in our guts by avoiding certain foods (like avoiding gluten if you have gluten intolerance) or using prescription medications to decrease inflammation (like statin drugs for heart disease.)
But it is not generally addressed when it comes to skin care.
Yes, everyone understands that inflaming your skin to the point of sunburn is a serious no-no… but the same thing goes for your facial care products.
Infrequent use may be fine, but daily (and sometimes twice daily, morning and night!) slathering on of anti-wrinkle, anti-aging, anti-this-and-that products intended to stir up your skin and cause enough low levels of irritation that it forces your skin to make new skin faster… 40 years of applying this to your face doesn’t feel right to me.
- If you had a chemical irritant would you smear it morning and night on the inside walls of your heart?
- Or along the surface of your kidney? How about injecting it into your brain?
- Why does it seem so much more benign when we slather it onto our skin?
Especially since skin cancers (the #1 cancer in the world) are no small concern… and with the advent of the newer delivery methods (micronized particles and nanosphere delivery systems) the ingredients do not stay superficial but rather are internally delivered.
So that is the platform upon which I recommend this very simple skin plan:
Do no harm.
Allow your body to do what it does best… cover you in sheets of beautiful, healthy skin, replacing it as needed… and support this process with moisture and occasional exfoliation.
1. For moisturizing, nothing beats coconut oil.
- I have a huge jar of organic coconut oil in my bathroom, and I use it for everything. I put it in my hair once in a week before I shampoo, as a deep moisturizer.
- I use it on my face to remove make up, then put it on again after I wash my face as a moisturizer.
- I put it on after I shower and before I towel dry to give my entire body a moisture barrier.
- It is extremely well absorbed, smells great, and no irritation.
- Simple to find at most health food stores and grocery stores and on-line… really everywhere.
I’ve been known to grab my bottle of organic olive oil or grapeseed oil from the pantry in a pinch as well, but I tend to prefer coconut oil.
2. For exfoliation, nothing beats baking soda.
I simply make a paste of a little coconut oil and a sprinkle of baking soda in the palm of my hand, and massage over my face every night.
Rinse well with warm water, and your skin is clean and exfoliated.
If you want to have extra cleansing beyond this oil scrub, you can use a natural soap such as a bit of liquid castile soap (like Dr. Bronners soap) and make a scrub using a soap and baking soda, and then rinse well and follow with the coconut oil for moisturizing.
There is no way that my skin is perfect… not by a long shot.
But it IS healthy and it is fully supported.
And I have coconut oil and baking soda to thank for that.
3. For pit odor, nothing beats waxing.
I don’t recommend antiperspirant or deodorant, and here’s why:
Our armpits are not only covered in fully absorptive skin just like the rest of our body, but absorption in this area is basically a direct line into our lymphatic system.
So let’s be aware that whatever we put on our pits not only enters our skin and our blood circulatory system, but also our lymphatic system.
With our breast tissue extending up into our arm pit (axillary) area and the lymphatic system highly active there as well, we want to make sure we don’t put ANYTHING carcinogenic or duct clogging anywhere near our pits.
Parabens are not something we want in our system.
Parabens are extremely inexpensive preservatives, with antimicrobial properties.
Because they are so cheap and so good at preventing molds and yeasts from growing, they are widely used in cosmetics, body care products, and most notably, in deodorants.
But parabens are shown to have hormonal activity… and are also found sequestered into breast tumors.
Parabens not only show estrogenic activity (mimicking estrogen and thus encouraging breast tumor growth) they also have anti-spermatogenic activity, interfering with the excretion of testosterone and disrupting the male reproductive system.
Particularly disturbing is the recent publication of a major study of parabens and children… showing that young children and pre-pubescent children have measurable quantities of parabens in their bodies as well.
I find the use of parabens in deodorant particularly horrifying (worse then in sunscreens even), because of exactly *where* we are smearing the product.
It is as if we are directly absorbing estrogenic chemicals into our skin, lymphatic system and breast tissue when we apply antiperspirants and deodorants to the armpit skin.
Antiperspirants have their own added horrors of aluminum… which we should definitely avoid… but even simple deodorants use parabens as a preservative.
- Antiperspirants work by clogging up your sweat glands with a physical block of aluminum or aluminum salt. This prevents sweating (and thus odor) by physically making it impossible for your pits to sweat.
- This also makes it physically impossible for your pits to release toxins from your body through the sweat glands in your armpits… and to add insult to injury, you are not only preventing the release of toxins, but you are adding in two extra toxins (on top of the fake fragrances and countless other chemicals) â€” aluminum and parabens.
- Not only are you loading aluminum and parabens into your armpit, not only are you blocking the excretion of said toxins, but you are also applying them to the one area that has direct access to your breast and lymphatic tissue, your armpit.
- As a result, breast cancers and breast tumors are becoming saturated with concentrations of parabens.
- Tumors are now being found to directly sequester and store these compounds that will directly promote quicker growth through its estrogenic properties.
Something is wrong here.
The problem with switching from an antiperspirant to a deodorant is that folks think they are being safer.
But with almost every single mainstream product on the market shelves containing parabens as a preservative, you are no safer from a breast cancer stand point.
For example, in a recent study examining random urine samples from a very large cross-section of the population, parabens were found in detectable quantities in 99.1% of the samples.
But you don’t have to resign to having smelly pits this summer.
Luckily, here is my secret.
No need to ever buy an antiperspirant or a deodorant again!
No need to ever think twice about switching back to the toxic antiperspirant for those special occasions when you simply can’t stink!!!!
All you’ve got to do is take a deep breath… and wax your armpits!
That’s because the bacteria responsible for the odor thrives in the stubble in the hair follicle just under the skin.
So remove the hair at the hair bulb, and no more smell.
I was absolutely astounded at how removing hair at the roots completely took away any last trace of pit smell.
And now I finally know how all those models have such smooth and completely hairless armpits.
I have waxed for several years now and I can say for sure the discomfort gets exponentially less the more you do it… the first one did hurt but I was still able to do it completely on my own and in a very inexpensive and eco-friendly way.
And if I can do it, so can you.
I used a waxing kit by Moom… which is simply an organic sugar solution.
The fabric strips you use to pull off the wax/hair are all reusable â€” and it’s so easy.
- Because it is a sugar solution it is water based (and so natural you could eat it!) all you do is rinse off the fabric strips in the sink afterwards (I let them soak for a few minutes while I rinse off in the shower) and then line â€˜em up on the sink edge to dry.
- Nothing to throw away, the sugar washes down the drain and the fabric strips are used and re-used indefinitely. I’ve used the same strips for months and they are as good as new… seriously.
- The sugar solution comes in a glass jar that you can re-use or recycle, so I really feel good about Moom’s environmental impact then I did when using disposable razors or even an electric razor.
- Add to that the amazing stench reducing powers of waxing and also how beautiful… YES BEAUTIFUL!… my pit skin looks stubble free, and I’ll never go back.
4. Want more skin care tips?
Read my Skin Happiness book right here, right now!
Skin care questions? Comments? Additional suggestions?