The Secret to Healing Your Skin
I am writing this because many of you have asked about my beauty regimen. I have held off answering as I didn’t want to tote products as the answer to beauty. No different than you, I have spent hours in salons getting my hair treated, cut, and colored. I have visited dermatologists to treat my sensitive skin and aesthetic clinics to explore their anti-aging arsenals from creams to lasers to Botox. I have thought of fillers and a face-lift even to maintain a look of youth and beauty. A lot hasn’t worked, some have, and still, my beauty journey continues. As I get older my perspective changes, what I learn, and what I love, but what remains is me. I can’t change who I am, that I am getting older, the type of skin I have, or the way I look. I have come to respect time, myself, and striving to be a person I love each and every day for the rest of my life.
Cover the blemishes
I didn’t always have good skin. I used to suffer from all kinds of skin problems and I used to think that products were the key. I actually hadn’t touched skincare or makeup until my first modeling job when I was 17. Funny story, after my first job I showed up to shoot the next day with the same full face of makeup. They were shocked and asked me why I hadn’t removed it. I simply replied that I didn’t know makeup needed to be removed. So here, young and just starting my career, my beauty journey begins. My Eurasian features were well received in the industry and I was doing magazines, catalogs, commercials, and runway; sometimes a few jobs in a day. Modeling quickly exposed me to a new world in which I worked hard for many years. Life was great and my demanding career had me using beauty products through and through. Gradually my naturally sensitive skin became reactive, flaring up with a red rash called Rosacea. At the same time, my hair stopped growing past my shoulders because of the constant crimping, spraying, and ironing. If you read my diet story you would know that the lack of nutrients I was eating also gave cause to my deteriorating health.
As I got older my agents asked me to get Botox to erase expressive lines in my face that had developed over time. Worry came over me as I realized that this loop of making money off my looks while trying to maintain my youthful 20-year-old perfect self just wasn’t sustainable. Embarrassed and unconfident with the way I looked, I would never leave the house without makeup. It is natural to obsess over appearances, but there is a problem when we do not like what we see in the mirror. My career was stripping me of my confidence and had me believing I was the portrayal of myself in pictures. I had to make a change.
Knowledge is empowering
I subsequently armed myself with knowledge of nutrition, aging, and longevity. I discovered what I felt to be true, that all those procedures and products could help me feel better on the outside, but they would never give me what I wanted, true beauty. I thought what a waste it would be if I got to the end of my life and I had spent it unhappy with my appearance, my looks that I was born with, and couldn’t change. I had to honestly equate the message I was broadcasting to buy more, be young, change who you are so you don’t succumb to the ravages of life with happiness.
Becoming a teacher
Leaving modeling was a big “screw this” moment for me. Everything in my life had reached this tipping point. To change trajectory to switch to TV work, as an emcee, and teaching yoga. This new career meant that I could be myself, look like myself, eat well, and live healthy as a teacher would. Amongst exercising regularly, I started seeing a dermatologist every month to track my progress, give me personalized beauty advice, and proper skin habits. My skin healed and my hair grew back healthy. Out of all the changes I made I found these habits to have helped me the most.
- Water. I talked about drinking sufficient water to maintain a good diet. This goes the same for the skin. Water is responsible for moving nutrients and toxins through our systems. Water is life and the secret to great skin too. There are water calculators that you can check online. For me, I drink 3-4L of water a day especially when I exercise.
- Exercise: Our skin is an organ and needs to process toxins in order to maintain. Don’t wear makeup to exercise! This is a big no-no. Exercise is vital for youth and healthy cell rejuvenation. It increases the endorphins and other feel-good chemicals to the brain while reducing the stress hormone cortisol and adrenaline in the body. Time to try FitSphere workouts?
- Sunscreen: What everyone says is right! It’s always necessary. Living in a hot or cold country is no different in regard to sun protection. UVA rays which are responsible for aging skin reach deeper into the skin and contribute to wrinkles and skin cancer risk. I apply sunscreen every day religiously, to the body esp when lying out. It’s a personal dislike to have dark knees in comparison to my legs so sunscreen my knees every day as well.
- Remove makeup at night. I have been using oil makeup remover ever since that funny story when I was 17. There are a lot of excellent oil removers out there but if you don’t have one, use a natural one like coconut oil or sweet almond oil.
- Natural vs. chemical. I have tried both making my own skincare and manufactured products. Natural, hypoallergenic, honest, clean, pure? They are marketing terms that don’t mean anything specific. Natural products work because of the natural properties and ingredients. I like it when they are combined with science to make it really work. My favorite skincare brand that has kept my skin blemish-free is Allies of Skin. I have a special discount code of 20% off with code ‘LIV20’
- Yoga keeps you young. It really does. As we age our bodies will weaken and deteriorate naturally, and aging puts us at risk for a host of diseases. Exercise keeps us long, lean, agile, and cells reproducing other healthy cells to keep us resilient to live longer. Yoga ensures that the spine and core stay strong giving our internal organs space to function without visceral fats while the lungs breathe more easily. This means more oxygen reaching the skin, leading to a better complexion, digestion, and health. Like we need another reason to exercise. Just start somewhere.
- Laser treatments. Non-invasive for scar and spot removal. I find that IPL helps with resurfacing healthy skin but remember, your skin health is connected to your physical and emotional health, so laser is a temporary surface solution.
- Nutrition. I believe nutrition coupled with exercise to be the ultimate beauty secret! Healthy fats, seeds, green leafy vegetables are not just nutritious but are great for your hair, skin, and nails too. Cut out processed foods and you will literally glow from the inside out because your body both inside and out will be a vision of health.
- Healthy Aging. Surround yourself with others who have the right perspective on life and aging. I no longer chit-chat about the latest beauty trends with friends. I find my friends to be beautiful in their own right because of their achievements and their strength.
Now, if I look at my friends and the people I surround myself with I know that the women I spend my time with are not relying on procedures to help them “appear” to be more beautiful. They are women who are engaged in maintaining the well-being of their mind, body, and spirit. Some of them are fit and full of energy, some are mothers, some have a sparkle of youth and some have a wicked sense of humor that keeps them laughing at life. But what they all possess is an acceptance of the journey. Their vitality comes from that embrace. They have become the women that they have always wanted to be. That is true grace. That is true beauty.
- Dr. Andrew Weil books
- The Longevity Book: The Science of Aging, the Biology of Strength and the Privilege of Time
- The Little Green Dot – a website with natural skin care recipes