Holistic is a word that is becoming more common in the beauty industry for hair, skin, and nails. However, the concept of a “holistic” practice is not revolutionary. In fact, it has been around for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Chinese practices. Now, more than ever, holistic approaches are at the forefront of the beauty industry. Despite the multitude of interpretations of the word, the actual definition describes it best.
According to the Cambridge English Dictionary, holistic is defined as “relating to the whole of something or to the total system instead of just to its parts. Holistic medicine attempts to treat the whole person, including mind and body, not just the injury or disease.”
Many skin care products are formulated to treat skin from this exact holistic perspective. They are developed to topically duplicate what the body does internally. As is well-known, skin is the largest, uninterrupted organ of the body. It is a mirror to a person’s general well-being. Because skin is an uninterrupted organ – meaning no beginning or end – everything is connected.
In order to treat clients holistically, it is imperative that skin care professionals have a basic understanding of the whole and how it affects the skin. When treating skin, whether it be in consultation with the client, teaching students, or during actual skin treatments, try to gather as much information from the client as possible to help guide in assessing the best treatments and home use for them. Home use is a key component to the healing of skin. For example, facial treatments have an incredible benefit, but if the client is not taking care of his or her skin on a daily basis, facial treatments act only as a bandage. It may be beneficial to approach skin as a puzzle. As an expert in the industry, it is the professional’s job to figure the puzzle out. Gathering as much information as possible about clients to truly understand them is the first step in putting together the pieces of the puzzle called skin.
Keeping in mind that everything starts with a single cell, understanding what is required for the health of a cell makes this very complex subject simple. Humans are simply one cell multiplied into trillions of cells. A single cell requires water, oxygen, rest, sun, nutrition, elimination, and activity – daily. If the requirements of the cell are not met, the whole begins to break down. There are two conditions that can impair or kill a cell: toxin and pressure. It is the professional’s job to do everything possible to avoid these two conditions, to teach clients to avoid these conditions, and to give the cell (multiplied by 72 trillion, or so) what is required on a daily basis.
The holistic approach can be simplified into a three-part model. It consists of the universe – meaning outside surroundings such as sun, oxygen, and water; the body – including the circulatory system, respiratory system, and so forth; and mental or emotional state. If any of these three categories are out of balance, skin, and overall health, will reflect this imbalance, as the whole has been compromised. When treating skin from a holistic perspective, the professional must take all three areas into consideration in order to assess how they can connect the pieces of that puzzle to make the skin healthy again. It is not just taking a piece of the puzzle and treating that part – professionals must take the whole picture into consideration if they hope to make a difference and to truly have a positive effect on the skin long-term.
With this understanding, there are two key factors that are going to heal and assist in making the skin healthy: balance and blood flow. Balance is a key factor in healing the skin and the body. In today’s world, that is much easier said than done. Most people are not completely in balance. An example of this would be growing up in a sunbelt state. The sun exposure (universe) will have a much different effect on the skin (integumentary system) than someone who lives in the midwest. When treating the skin holistically, professionals must take this into consideration and learn as much from the client as possible to help connect those pieces.
Blood flow is the other key factor. The only way one can heal, either topically or internally, is through blood. Circulation is essential for healing. There are many factors to take into consideration – for example, the quality of circulation and blood pressure. The professional has to determine how to increase vascular activity through the skin. Low blood pressure is something everyone should strive to have. However, when it comes to the health of skin, sometimes it can make the skin look sallow, contribute to dark circles, give a pasty look to the skin, and make the skin look sluggish. Often, premature aging takes place because there is not enough vascular activity throughout the skin. Therefore, the lack of nourishment can result in sagging and premature aging skin. The missing ingredient is strong and high-quality blood flow. The quality of blood is dependent on nourishment through food, exercise, oxygen, stress control, water, rest, and elimination.
The lack of strong vascular activity in the skin can be corrected by using non-aggressive products topically on a daily basis along with skin treatments. The results are immediate and it is only a short time before the skin looks alive, radiant, and – most importantly – healthy and whole.
When treating skin from a holistic perspective, non-aggressive methods should always be at the forefront of decision making. Starting slow and being conscious of meeting the requirements of skin as an organ is one of the first steps in taking a holistic approach, remembering that, like any other organ of the body, skin has the same requirements to keep it healthy and whole. Proper cleansing, toning muscles, and stimulating vascular activity through topically nourishing and a moisture support, as needed, is ideal. If the body takes care of its heart, liver, lungs, and all other organs, it is only logical that individuals try to meet the same requirements for the largest, uninterrupted organ of the body. Giving the cell what it requires on a daily basis, avoiding toxin and pressure, and meeting the requirements of this incredible organ through a proper skin care regimen is as holistic as one can get. Skin will always respond in a favorable way when treated holistically.
No one has perfect skin and many outside sources, and life circumstances, can affect it and how it behaves. As professionals, when treating skin holistically, start with awareness and fill in the missing pieces. Supplementing with vitamins, minerals, using products that help to increase blood flow, such as niacin, and incorporating water-based products, antioxidant-rich ingredients, and pH-balanced products are all essentials components to assist in making one’s skin as healthy as possible. One should never use abrasive ingredients or products that will risk the breaking of the capillaries in the skin, since this is the main source of healing.
When treating skin holistically, opting to address the client’s overall needs, rather than treating one condition, produces results that are substantial and long-lasting.