If you only make one New Year’s resolution, make it good skin. It might sound vain, but looking good and feeling good are two sides of the same coin. And when it comes to your mug, a clear complexion is a solid sign that everything is smooth on the inside too.
Following this logic, holistic skincare clinics, which look at factors such as diet, sleep, stress levels and more to develop an all-in-one treatment plan, are cropping up as an alternative to traditional dermatology clinics and spas. Jen Newell, a naturopathic doctor at the Integrative Health Institute in Toronto, has carved out a niche as a holistic skincare practitioner and says she’s seen a big jump in the number of male patients over the past five years; they now make up nearly half of her business.
Newell’s practice and others like it go beyond the surface, looking at any skin or hair issues as side effects of larger problems going on deeper inside the body. For instance, a nagging blemish could be a result of how your body is breaking down certain foods, which makes traditional symptom-focused treatments a game of whack-a-mole until the root cause is dealt with.
“It’s more than just a cream you’re putting on or a supplement you’re taking. You have to manage all the other parts of that system,” Newell says. “We need to weed through whether the underlying cause is hormonal, inflammatory, digestive, or stress, or a conglomeration of all those things, to varying degrees, and how your body is responding to it.”
Treatment varies depending on the patient, but it always involves some homework, including a diet plan. Other treatments include acupuncture and topically applied enzymes. Expect to see results from a topical treatment after about 28 days, the amount of time it takes skin cells to turn over, while diet and lifestyle changes might take about three months to make a noticeable difference.
The best part is in addition to fixing some red, flaky, or spotted skin by tackling issues with digestion, stress, and sleep, patients will likely find that they have more energy. “We want you to actually both look and feel better at the end of the day,” Newell says.
The Nature of Things
A small sample of what’s in a naturopath’s tool kit to cure your grooming conundrum.
Antioxidants like resveratrol, green tea extract, vitamin C, or glutathione help prevent the oxidation of oil within the skin, a contributing factor to the development of acne.
Signs of Aging
Vitamin E has been shown to restore DNA sequences, which eventually lose length and run out, causing cells to die and skin to sag.
Saw Palmetto stops the testosterone in the body from combining with an enzyme to become DHT, which is what causes hair follicles to shrink.