Ally, my go-to facialist in Portland - in fact, the only one I've trusted to work on my skin in three years - shared her miraculous holistic brow and lash thickening DIY here. As a holistic and intuitive esthetician, today she shares the importance of tuning into the conversation your skin is having with you at all times.
A | Your skin is so many wonderful things, all at once. A protective, waterproof cocoon. A beautifully sensual playground. A definitive boundary. A living, breathing, vital organ. A warning light when something is amiss internally. A temperature regulator. A detoxifying organ. It’s flexible, yet strong. Your skin holds resilience and quiet power. It’s awe-inspiring.
My teacher once likened the skin and digestive system to a doughnut. Although a strange (and maybe gross) analogy, it makes sense. The skin and digestive system are really a continuous loop, like a doughnut. The skin being the outside of the doughnut, the GI tract being the inside. Yes, they are a bit different, but they have more similarities than you might think. They are both protective, they both have an important bacterial ecosystem, they both absorb and detoxify, and they both play a vital role in synthesizing vitamins.
Which is why the skin can be an indicator of digestive health, or specifically, it’s a fantastic warning light when things in the gut are amiss (reactivity, inflammation, eczema, cystic acne). It is also a wonderful warning light for the liver (yellowing of the skin, breakouts), thyroid (face & body dryness, hair loss), sex hormones (jawline, neck & back breakouts, melasma, excess face & body hair), adrenals (puffiness, dark circles, dry skin, melasma) and nutrient deficiencies (pale skin, hair loss, rashes).
Your skin can tell you all of these things, and yet you can miss the signals so easily by trying to categorize it. The skin is not easily categorized, because it’s not static. It’s constantly changing, according to internal and external stimulus. Just like any other organ, it’s always recalibrating, aiming for balance. Assigning a static category (dry, sensitive, etc) to your skin is kind of an insult to its vast, immeasurable nature. Not that it’s inaccurate, it’s just that your skin is so much more than that.
Learning your skin’s language can help you navigate your overall health in so many ways, and all it takes is attention. Okay, attention and sometimes a bit of detective work. When your skin acts funny, ask yourself why. When did it start acting funny? Take a look at your life right around then, and see what’s different. Did you see an uptick in stress levels? Did you try out a new shampoo or laundry detergent? Did you start eating or drinking differently?
There are plenty more questions in this vein, but the point isn’t to have a list of questions. The point is to think about the intricate tapestry of your life, and see if there is a pattern or a specific change that triggered your skin’s response. The point is to integrate information from your skin into your overall view of your health (both emotional and physical). Pay attention to your skin, that’s really all it takes to learn its invaluable secret language.
That's not all you can glean from your skin. When you learn to look for it, your skin will connect you with your subconscious emotions and intuition. When people say, "Go with your gut," we already know the deep connection between your skin and gut. It might be more accurate to say, "Go with your skin."
For me, sometimes I'll feel goosebumps on my arms. I've learned that in my body, goosebumps represent my intuition. I know to take notice when goosebumps blossom on my skin, when what I'm saying is true and important. When I'm around someone who is dangerous or untrustworthy, my skin responds with a sensation of static electricity. When I have really epic chemistry with someone, their touch feels like an electric jolt of recognition. When I touch someone and get a sensation of emotional warmth and softness, I know I've found one of my tribe. I learned these skin cues by paying attention, and looking for the pattern.
You might not have the exact same sensory language. Perhaps you experience a hot sensation on your face or ears, or an itchy scalp. Not everyone has the same skin language, but you can learn yours by paying attention and looking for the pattern.
For deeper wisdom, consult or visit Ally at her Portland space Heart Of Gold.