When you’re a beauty editor, you get used to fielding questions from aunts/ sisters/ friends/ random-women-you-meet-in-the-restaurant-bathroom. Yes, we do get free product. Yes my beauty cabinet is morbidly obese. No, I can’t do your cousin’s makeup for her wedding. Look, I’m sure she’s really lovely and all but I’m not makeup artist… I’m just a writer with an encyclopedic knowledge of nail polish colors (a skill, nonetheless).
But, the other night I went to an event where I wasn’t asked about cousin Susan’s Bat Mitzvah makeup. Instead, the group of ladies I just met looked me straight in the eye asked with journalistic intensity “what’s the single best thing you can do for your skin?” There were a million ways I could have answered, but while I was busy thinking about how to choose just one, my honest, truthful answer just kind of tumbled out of my mouth: “look after your gut, and get into ingestible beauty”. See, after years in the industry, this was the one thing that worked for me. It’d seen me take my skin from “needs illuminator to avoid corpse-chic” to actually radiating in health. And because of it I take my ingestible beauty powder (The Beauty Chef, Glow) with me wherever I travel. Seriously if it’s between Glow and underwear, commando it is.
This conversation got me thinking about what other people – the real experts – would say when asked that question… and if their advice would be the same as every model, ever (“drink water”, “sleep eight hours”). So guess what I did? I went out and asked some very incredible people that very question. And here’s what they said:
“Avoid inflammation. Inflammation is at the root of every single skin issue, from dryness to breakouts or rosacea. Inflammation inside of our bodies is immediately reflected on our skin. Lifestyle changes including a balanced diet, a good night’s sleep, and regular exercise are the first steps to combat irritation from the inside out. When it comes to skincare, avoid aggressive and harsh ingredients and instead focus on hydration and strengthening your skin barrier function to reduce inflammation rather than causing it.”
The plastic surgeon: Dr. Lesley Rabach, double board certified facial plastic surgeon and co-founder of LM Medical
“Beautiful skin is made and it takes a tremendous amount of constant work: there is no way to say only one thing – it’s sleep, water, sunscreen, retinol and a damn good dermatologist. (This is coming from a facial plastic surgeon of a sister who is a dermatologist). If you had to pin me down it would be a toss up between a retinol and sunscreen. Why? Because the right type of sunscreen is the single best way of preventing sun damage and signs of aging while retinol works from the inside by keeping the collagen layer thick and strong and preventing wrinkles from forming.”
The Holistic Medicine Nutritionist: Valli Shubere – (MDM), Nutritional Medicine Practitioner, Dermal Detoxification Therapist and owner of Herbario Clinic
“Detoxify the skin from toxicity, and de-stress metabolic, physiological and dermal functions to prevent skin damage, loss of vitality and premature aging (both internal and external). Natural dermal detoxification maintains a vibrant, healthy complexion. In natural medicine, systemic cleansing (and detoxifying) is a fundamental practice to prevent illness and maintain good health. I advocate diligent facial cleansing and dermal detoxification treatments to prevent oxidative damage, toxic stress and accelerated aging. The internal therapy includes nutritional detoxification therapy and Phyto-therapeutic medicine, while the external therapy consist of face detoxification treatments and body treatments combined with Phyto-cosmetic remedies.”
The dermatologist: New York City based celebrity dermatologist and owner of Mudgil Dermatology, P.C, Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D
“Sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen! Wearing at least an SPF 30 which contains titanium and/or zinc (which physically block the sun’s rays) every day, even if it’s cloudy, snowing, or raining outside is the absolute number one thing anyone can do to protect their skin from aging!”
The holistic blogger: Amrit Singh R.Ac, Registered Acupuncturist and creator of @6babebeauty
“Facial Gua Sha. It has the natural ability to shape and contour your face without the use of makeup! When done correctly, Gua Sha can reduce fine lines and wrinkles, stimulate our lymphatic system, as well as improve the quality and texture of our facial muscles and skin. Like foam rolling for your face, it trains and releases all the different layers of our face.”
The herbalist: Caroline Rasmussen, herbalism and cognitive neuroscience expert and founder of founder of herbal nootropics line, Antara.
“Incorporate curcumin (the principal active compound in turmeric) in your diet. Curcumin is a powerhouse ingredient for skin because it can address the full spectrum of root causes for skin issues, both inside and out. Complexion is a manifestation in many ways of the internal condition of the body, and many common skin conditions like breakouts and eczema are essentially inflammation being expressed externally. Curcumin has been used traditionally as well as proven in Western studies to reduce inflammation throughout the body, including the joints (improving conditions like psoriasis and arthritis), the brain (making it effective for depression), and the gut, all of which creates positive downstream effects on skin. To really reap these anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits it’s recommended to consume at least 500mg a day, making supplementation the best choice for many people. Look for forms of curcumin that are optimized for absorption and can circulate at therapeutic levels, as raw curcumin itself is not very bioavailable (i.e. it is metabolized and excreted by the body very quickly).”
The facialist: Melanie Grant, Facialist and Founder of Melanie Grant Skin Health
“Apply sunscreen every single day – rain, hail or shine. I always maintain a preventative approach to skin health and protecting your skin from the sun helps to deter a myriad of common skin concerns – including degeneration of collagen, accelerated ageing, sun induced pigmentation and cellular damage. But as far as ingredients go, I love retinol. It’s gold standard for anti-aging as far as skin care goes and is tried, tested and proven. It works by promoting rapid skin cell turnover which addresses a multitude of skin concerns including large pores, fine lines, wrinkles, acne, pigmentation, skin laxity and dull or uneven skin tone.”
The nutritionist: Jessica Sepel, nutritionist and founder of JS Health Vitamins
“As a holistic nutritionist, my first port of call when it comes to skin health is to look after your gut. One of the most important lessons I learnt studying nutrition is that you’re not what you eat; you are, in fact, what you digest and absorb. Our skin is our body’s largest organ, so it’s no surprise that it reveals the state of our inner health. Some things you can do to look after your gut include: eat wholefoods and probiotic-rich foods, limit stress and limit inflammatory foods like gluten, dairy and sugar.”
The acupuncturist: Dr. Kara MoraMarco- Kendrick, DAOM, L. Ac, Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Licensed Acupuncturist.
“Cosmetic acupuncture or facial acupuncture. It involves gently inserting tiny, hair-thin acupuncture needles into the face and other body points to help stimulate collagen and elastin production allowing the skin to be nourished, oxygenated and moisturized from the inside out. The benefit of cosmetic acupuncture goes beyond healthy, younger looking skin. It also addresses the disharmonies in the body thereby improving overall health. Its benefits include: reduction of fine lines, improved complexion and elasticity, more consistent skin tone, reduction of puffiness, plus improving acne, rosacea and broken capillaries.”
The naturopath/ chemist: Kendra Mark, herbalist, naturopath, chemist and Co-founder & Vice President of Product Development, natureofthings
“Being aware of and managing stress is the single best thing you can do for your skin. We know that gut issues and hormonal imbalances are two of the biggest contributing factors to skin issues and while it’s great to address them, it’s still not often the root cause. We are bred into a society that operates on stress, leaving us in a constant state of fight or flight and we usually don’t know it until we start to experience the repercussions. Stress affects everything from digestion and hormones to your skin. It’s literally a domino effect. The stress causes you to mismanage how you nourish yourself with food, which then throws off your energy levels and hormones, which then disrupts your digestion and gut health, which then wreaks havoc on your skin’s ability to detox and maintain a healthy glow. There’s much more to this process but the important thing to understand is that you can’t just focus on taking probiotics to avoid breakouts or making sure you remove your makeup every night and get a monthly facial. Build a foundation from the ground up and your skin will naturally follow the care that you give to your entire being.”
The Editor: Photographer, owner of the world’s most perfect hands and founder of the cult instagram account, @gelcream Yana Sheptovetskaya
“To love it and myself unconditionally, with pimples and without, pale and dull or fresh and dewy. Technically, I do my best to lots drink water and see aesthetician for occasional cleaning, massage and rejuvenation. But, on other days, I just listen to it:
– Hey skin, how are doing today?
– I want to be alone, Yana