Are you a Jack (or Jane) of all trades? Or what’s now often referred to as a “multi-passionate” person or multi-passionate entrepreneur? That’s me too, and for a long time, I thought it was a bad thing. So many people (parents, teachers, successful friends) asked me why I can’t just focus on one thing? Why do I need to explore more interests, earn more certifications, pivot in my business when I can just focus on doing one thing really well and make a ton of money? First of all, that’s not necessarily realistic–but second of all, it’s just not my nature. And if you’re reading this, I’m guessing it’s not in your nature too. So today I want to celebrate us multi-passionate entrepreneurs and people, because what I’ve come to figure out is that there are a LOT of good things about being like us.
If you are a multi-passionate entrepreneur, I’m sure you can attest to this: when someone asks you “What do you do?” It’s really hard to give a simple answer.
When I was in both nutrition school, and when I studied marketing, branding, and even PR later on, I was asked to give my “elevator pitch,” which is typically an introductory statement that is typically given in one minute or less, to tell people what I do. And like many other people, I was really tripped up with that, because it’s not easy to say everything that I do. I can’t exactly say “I’m an author, blogger, holistic skincare entrepreneur, skincare formulator, skincare educator, herbalist, Reiki practitioner, health coach, aesthetician, metaphysical minister, qi gong practitioner, speaker, mentor, intuitive, skincare business and marketing coach, copywriter, editor, and curriculum developer.” Not if I want the conversation to continue beyond “What?” or “Oh, that’s nice” (with a glazed over gaze).
I was able, years and years later, able to narrow it down to holistic skincare entrepreneur. OK fine, sometimes I get a little more descriptive, and I say holistic skincare coach, educator, formulator, and author. Those are all different descriptors of what I do. But really, my main thing is holistic and integrative skincare, and I run two businesses that serve people in that world.
But my multi-passionate entrepreneur self didn’t want to be pigeonholed.
Luckily, In that holistic skincare realm–which of course is part of the beauty, wellness, and health health industries–there are all sorts of different offshoots in which holistic skincare can spring into, which is a really good thing, because multi-passionate entrepreneurs tend to get bored easily! If this is you, you know what I mean.
Now, there are certainly some entrepreneurs who find their one thing, and they love that thing enough that they make a whole lifelong career out of it. And that is amazing if that’s you. That’s just not me.
Skincare is my thing now, and it probably always will be my main thing, because I keep coming back to it. That’s how I know that the way I’m meant to deliver my life’s purpose in this world. Whatever that “big plan” is, it’s through skincare. I just had to figure out what within skincare I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it.
And before I got to this point, I was one of those people who took a really long time to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up. And I hear this from a lot of people who have their own businesses now as well. So I’m just going to tell you a little bit about how I got here.
But before I do that, I wanted to tell you that I now offer a free class called Skincare Business Crash Course. If your multi-passionate entrepreneurial spirit has an inkling of desire for starting a skincare business, or if you already have a business in the skincare world, and you want to see what else you can do with that that might include custom formulation, or having your own signature skincare brand, I can help you with that. Register HERE.
Back to the story of how I became a multi-passionate entrepreneur.
I want you to know that if you are a multi-passionate entrepreneur, it’s great. You’re perfect just the way you are. You don’t have to only focus on one thing, and feel like you’ll never be able to experience all of these amazing other things that you’re interested in and you’re passionate about in your life.
It’s really OK to have a lot of things that you love doing; but the biggest pitfall that I’ve seen, that I’ve observed from other multi-passionate entrepreneurs in my life, both friends and family members, as well as some things that I experienced in the earlier stages of my business, is that it can be a little bit distracting. When you find yourself getting bored with one thing and then moving on to another thing, you spread yourself really thin. It might seem like a lot gets done, but it doesn’t always get done effectively, well, efficiently, or cost effectively.
I tell the whole story of some of the challenges I experienced as a multi passionate person in this video:
Click HERE for a list of things I wish I knew before I started my businesses.
The moral of the story is that I found ways to infuse all of my loves–all of my passions–into my two businesses. They don’t always show up in the same ways, and I am sensitive to the fact that people come to me from diverse backgrounds–but I feel that as women, connecting with the Divine creatrix within is something that is so needed in today’s white male-dominated world.
Being a multi-passionate entrepreneur has helped me create a beautiful life.
Both my businesses are doing very well. And, I’m a mom. I have two girls who are amazing. They’re 13 and 10, and they’re ballet dancers, and one of them I actually homeschool. I actually am able to make time for all of that. I have time for these incredible growing businesses, which are like two other children in my life. But I also have time to be a very present mom for both my kids. I have time to be a very present wife for my husband. I have time for my pets and for my volunteer work. And I also do ballet myself, and I have time for that. I make time for it.
I think that being a multi-passionate entrepreneur is fantastic, because it makes you really good at multi-tasking. It makes you really good at coming up with quick solutions, and making strong connections that might not makes sense to everyone. But when you draw from different strengths that you’ve accumulated through all of these interests, and you’re able to unite them, it makes your thing really special and unique. And it makes you able to offer something that other people just can’t, because it is uniquely yours.
So if you are a multi-passionate entrepreneur, pat yourself on the back. Hug yourself. Because you’re awesome.
You have all of these incredible, incredible strengths and talents and interests and messages that you’re just dying to share with the world. And they’ve been sent to you for a reason. You’re the one who’s meant to deliver them.
But what I want to encourage you to do, instead of getting a little bit distracted and jumping around and having that butterfly shiny object syndrome, instead of just hopping from one thing to the next to the next to the next, see how you can connect them. See how you can make them a logical path. And see how all of these things can be your toolbox.
Are you a multi-passionate entrepreneur too?
I’d LOVE to know how you nurture all of your interests and how they enrich your business. If it’s something you find challenging, I’d love to hear about that too. Please share in the comments below!
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For all of us who love a good beauty DIY trend or brand new cosmetic item, there’s a fresh game-changer in town. The name is activated charcoal, and it’s been making headlines in the beauty world. While it’s not new, per se, it’s definitely on trend. Don’t be fooled by the name: although charcoal might bring along thoughts of being on Santa’s naughty list, there are many beauty benefits to this lightweight black carbon.
An ounce of activated charcoal powder is as cheap as three dollars and can be the perfect ingredient to many DIY beauty projects. Whether you want to concoct your own beauty project or you’d prefer to head straight to the store, one thing is for sure: activated charcoal has plenty of cosmetic uses and won’t break the bank in the process. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular uses.
Activated charcoal for pearly whites
When we think of having nice white teeth, we certainly don’t imagine a fog of darkness smeared across them, do we?
Oddly enough, activated charcoal has been hitting the shelves of many retailers for its teeth whitening advantages. Activated charcoal is known for pulling toxins and removing stains, so it only makes sense to apply it to your teeth, where unwanted staining can occur from delicious hot coffee, tea, a glass of red wine, or nearly anything else.
Surprisingly, after using activated charcoal on your teeth, all of the blackness washes away and will leave your teeth feeling clean, polished, and smooth. It might look unpleasant when you stare into the mirror, but after continued use, you’ll more than likely notice results.
Many popular toothpaste brands have even included charcoal in some of their products. Examples include:
If you’ve been experiencing less than desirable skin conditions, you’ll be amazed by the multitude of benefits that activated charcoal can provide. To begin with, this miracle carbon draws out some of the nasty things that negatively impact your skin, such as an overabundance of the wrong types of bacteria, dirt and built-up dead skin cells.
With activated charcoal, you can easily draw out oil, dirt, and any other substance that is causing clogged pores. It does this through its mighty powers of adsorption.
A fresh and glowing face is completely achievable thanks to this super-ingredient for your skin. Applying this product to your face in the form of a facial mask, scrub, cleanser, or on-the-spot treatment like black drawing salve will quickly draw out dirt and other skin imperfections.
Now, you might be tempted to stop reading this post and go order some charcoal powder for your face right now; but before you do that, you should know that like the previous hack, some popular brands have also taken advantage of the rave and created their own charcoal mask products.
These commercially prepared masks have different ingredients that may make them better or worse for your skin type and goals, so it’s best to read reviews to help you determine which activated charcoal mask is perfect for you before jumping in.
For gorgeous hair
Now that we’ve covered teeth and skin, it’s time to review how activated charcoal can make a difference for your hair.
Just like how it removes toxins from your teeth and skin, activated charcoal does the same to your hair. If you’ve experienced anything unpleasant such as clogged hair follicles, dandruff, or even scalp infections, activated charcoal should be one of the first beauty items you reach out for.
Did you know that using activated charcoal on your hair not only improves its overall appearance, but can encourage hair growth as well?
That’s right – charcoal works its magic by pulling out toxins and pollutants that restrict and compromise the health of your hair, making it grow faster and look healthier. Dirt and other substances weigh down your hair and regular shampoos are not only incapable of removing as much as activated charcoal, but they actually leave back more residue as well.
Final word on activated charcoal
Although activated charcoal has been around since practically the beginning of time, we’re now finally appreciating its detoxifying advantages on teeth, skin, and hair. Whether you decide to opt for a fun DIY project or premade mask, toothpaste or shampoo, you can rest assured that you’ve made the right decision for your pocket and your beauty – which is rare!
Pro tip: when going the DIY route, you might want to opt for the activated charcoal in capsules. They’re less messy and make it easier to gauge proportions.
About the author:
Thanks to today’s guest writer, Trish Sutton for this fabulous article! Trysh is a wife, mother, strategic leader and teacher. She runs a website called Pure Path, which is a naturopathic wellness site that promotes healthy living and healing through the use of essential oils and sustainable living.
You can follow her on social media to learn more about the benefits of essential oils, and healthy living practices.
Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Youtube | Google Plus
Is activated charcoal part of your skin, hair, or oral hygiene routine?
How do you like it? Please share your experience in the comments below!
*This post contains affiliate links.
In case you missed it, last week, I hosted the first ever Herbal Skincare Summit (the live event is over, but you can purchase it and watch or listen anytime HERE!). In this virtual event, I brought together 18 herbalists, holistic health, and skincare experts to offer their stories, wisdom, inspiration, and practical tips for how to use the magic and science of herbs for clear, vibrant skin. I’ve been wanting to do a summit for a long time, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to offer, since there are so many great summits out there! I didn’t want to say more of what’s already been said (at least not in the same way), and I’ll be honest–I don’t really like doing things the same way that have already been done.
We can always make the argument that there are no “original” ideas, because all creation comes from the same collective source consciousness.
And I fully believe that, but, what I needed to figure out for myself was what message did this source consciousness intend to come through me? And in what way? And who else was meant to be involved? Obviously I was meant to talk about skincare–and skincare in a holistic way, of course. But “holistic skincare” is such a massive umbrella these days, which I am very happy about!
So many people are writing about it, teaching about it, and practicing it both personally and professionally, that the definition I assigned the term in my book Love Your Skin, Love Yourself back in 2013, has now become commonplace. At the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance, we had a discussion about what “holistic” really means, and while we were able to offer some different perspectives, we realized that it really still is such a large umbrella term that can mean so many things. And while not all definitions might be “right” to every person who identifies as holistic, all are a step in the “right” direction.
But none of this helped narrow things down for me! I didn’t want to just do a “holistic skincare” summit, because versions of that have already been done. So I began to do what I always do to help me brainstorm–I set my intention during meditation that I wanted to co-create something that was not only beneficial and inspirational, but also that was needed at the time it would be delivered. I also brought in my allies–my bearded dragons, my stones, and my herbs, because they also share in this same source consciousness.
I started spending more time outdoors, and was guided to have more conversations about skincare with plant and stone people, and that’s when I realized four things:
- There are SO many ways nature can help the skin that aren’t being talked about enough
- Skincare is healthcare–and not enough people understand that. There is still this misconception that caring about the skin means that you are in some way vain or superficial–even in the holistic and herbal community
- Many of the lessons that nature teaches can’t be Googled–they are told through stories and must be experienced
- Live interaction is a must
That’s how the idea to focus specifically on educating people not just about how to use herbs for healthy skin, but also on how to tap into herbal intuition and “earth wisdom” (as Herbal Skincare Summit speaker, Maia Toll would say), to learn from the plants. And to do that, we needed to tell stories. And I needed to do at least some of it live. So I decided to offer a live wrap up session on Facebook every evening of the Herbal Skincare Summit, to connect with people, and celebrate the teachings of each day. I truly think it was one of the best aspects of this summit–and since the videos are still there (click here to find and watch them), they help the good vibes spread farther and last longer.
So while each Herbal Skincare Summit speaker was invited to speak on the subject in the way that most resonated with them, I asked each for two things:
- Their story–how did the plants first call to them and how did they come to do what they do?
- Their favorite herb
And what I found when I was going through each interview, and what many Herbal Skincare Summit attendees emailed me to say, was that they learned just as much from the stories, as they did from the actual “content.”
Personally, I was so inspired by the speakers, that as I went through the videos, I took an entire single subject, wirebound, college-ruled notebook full of notes. I wrote down quotes, herbs, ideas for recipes, and what l later described as “:#herbalaha” moments that came through as I was listening. I realized that in this notebook was something very special–a true treasure chest of collaborative gold that was co-created by the teachers, the plants, our attendees (all attendees were asked to share their favorite herbs and “herbalaha moments from the summit) and myself.
Here are just a couple of #herbalaha examples (and I’ve sprinkled a few others throughout this page 🙂
“As the skin is an organ of digestion, it actually tastes herbs. For each of the doshas, there are particular tastes that bring balance.” —Melanie Sachs
“We need to go back to the basics. We need to go back to what our great grandmothers were using 200 years before the chemical revolution.” —Tammie Umbel
“A lot of the time, we think if we see a little benefit in one thing, more is better. So we isolate it and boost it up–but then we’re missing the more balanced benefits that nature allows for us by using the whole plant.” —Dr. Trevor Cates
That notebook has so much love and positive energy infused into its pages, that I decided early during Summit Week (I did not plan it before), that I wanted to offer it back as a gift to those who purchase the Herbal Skincare Summit kit, as well as our speakers. So I am now working on turning it into the Herbal Skincare Summit Companion e-Book, which will be given exclusively to anyone who purchases the Herbal Skincare Summit kit.
I don’t have a release date yet, because it is a lot of information to compile and organize, and I want it to be a beautiful offering.
But if you already have purchased the Herbal Skincare Summit Kit, or would like to purchase it now (click HERE to do that), you will receive it once it is published. I am so excited to have this opportunity to continue to spread the goodness that was created by the Herbal Skincare Summit, to those who most want to receive it!
As I sit at my desk in a beautiful suite at a retreat in Palm Springs (this retreat was planned before the summit was, but the timing could not have worked out more perfectly that I’m here the week following the Herbal Skincare Summit), I’m reflecting on how peaceful, inspired, and happy I still feel from the summit. I treated myself to an in-room facial yesterday after I arrived (my airplane-dehydrated skin NEEDED it!), and was pleasantly surprised that the aesthetician who came, knew about the summit and had positive feedback. This event had such a positive impact, and it’s my mission to continue that.
After watching the Herbal Skincare Summit, I hope you fall in love–or deeper in love–with both your skin and the plants too!
Did you attend the Herbal Skincare Summit live or purchase the Kit?
What was your greatest #herbalaha moment? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!
There are a lot of things that signal to us that the seasons are changing–though it seems lately, the weather isn’t one of them. One of definitive sign though, is skincare articles about how to adjust your beauty routine to account for drier winter weather. Am I right? Once those pumpkin spice lattés start steaming, blogs abound without tips for how to combat common cold season skin woes. I’ve written articles about seasonal skin health here, and also on the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance’s blog, but today I wanted to approach it from a slightly different angle. This is also the time of year the humidifier comes out of the hall closet (at least in my house), so naturally, the topic of humidifiers has on my mind. I’ve had friends who swear by using a humidifier for dry skin, to get them through winter without their skin completely freaking out. I’ve even recommended humidifier use for my clients with super-dry skin.
However, it’s always been in the back of my mind–especially when I teach about microbial growth associated with excessive moisture in Create Your Skincare, that humidifiers pose risks as far as bacterial and fungal growth. So I decided to do a bit of research on the subject. Here’s what I found–both the pros and cons–of using a humidifier for dry skin.
Why use a humidifier for dry skin during winter months
During cold, winter months–whether it’s due to the fireplace or your heating system–indoor air has less moisture in it. From a dry throat or hacking cough, to chapped lips and bloody noses, you have surely experienced some of this wrath.
Many people use humidifiers to ease these symptoms. Humidifiers emit mist, thereby increasing the amount of water in the air of a given space. This can especially be helpful when dealing with winter colds (especially if your humidifier has an essential oil well), as the extra moisture helps to ease congestion. Some parents find this useful for easing cold symptoms in children who are too young for conventional medication, or who choose to try natural and holistic means before medications.
Not only can humidifiers help deal with symptoms of colds, some may even lend a hand in preventing them. The moisture in the air helps to maintain the mucus membrane that lines your nose and throat; part of your body’s important defense against respiratory infections.
In certain climates, dry conditions may persist all year long. Dryness can also result from air conditioning and heaters, so if you run yours most months of the year, your house my might be chronically dry.
In addition to your nose and throat, your skin is also affected by how much moisture there is in the air. You’ve probably experienced what your skin looks like in high humidity (for me the effects are pretty amazing). Well, winter dryness has the opposite effect, essentially dehydrating your skin–the dry air actually can “suck” the moisture out of your skin, which is technically called trans-epidermal water loss (known to us aestheticians as TEWL). Not only does this exaggerate the look of fine lines and wrinkles, it can also exacerbate skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea, and affect the skin’s immune function.
A good moisturizer containing rich emollients certainly helps!
Click HERE to learn to create and customize two simple, highly emollient skin moisturizers at home.
But if you’re constantly exposing your skin to dry conditions, it’s going to be an uphill battle. Thus, many people find it effective to humidify a room or two in their homes to mitigate dryness.
Types of humidifiers and their risks
Not all humidifiers are created equal. At the simplest level, humidifiers can be broken down into warm mist and cool mist.
Warm mist humidifiers create steam that cools before leaving the machine. The process of boiling the water before it enters the air kills off bacteria, making this type a generally more clean option.
Cool mist humidifiers vaporize but do not boil water. The pros of using this kind is that there is no risk of burning yourself, and they use less energy.
For parents who uses humidifiers in their kids’ rooms, cold mist if often preferred to prevent accidents. However, bacteria can accumulate quite quickly in standing water, and without boiling it first, this bacteria can be spread through the air, infection people in the room.
Sicknesses contracted through airborne bacteria emitted from humidifiers is not common, but is more likely among the immunocompromised, children, and the elderly.
Some cool mist humidifiers use UV light to kill microbials. I found this Health article to be a pretty helpful guide to a few different brands and types of humidifiers on the market. Since I have not used these, I’m not endorsing a particular one, but it’s a good overview of some of the price points and features available.
In addition to the threat of bacterial build up, mineral build-up can also be a problem. There was a case study at the University of Utah on an infant who was injured by breathing in airborne minerals from a humidifier. In this regard, distilled water is the ideal choice for filling your humidifier. There are also some humidifiers that claim to inhibit mineral buildup, which you’ll find in the above Health article.
Regardless of which type of humidifier you use, you should wash it every three days or more often to prevent the growth of bacteria, and if it uses a filter, change it often. You should also avoid filling the humidifier with tap water, which is not microbe free. The best option is to boil the water first, or use distilled water.
I’ll also caution you that sometimes humidifiers break–and you won’t always see it coming. I remember one night when my older daughter was really little, she came into our room in the middle of the night because she couldn’t breathe. Why couldn’t she breathe? Because her warm mist humidifier went rogue and turned her bedroom into a tropical rainforest. It was literally raining from her ceiling, and we had to undergo preventative mold remediation just to be on the safe side. I will say though, that this particular humidifier was probably not the best quality–and as with most things in life, you get what you pay for.
But that dewy complexion though…
There are risks associated with using humidifiers, and I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I hadn’t communicated them in addition to their benefits. However, with proper usage and cleaning, they really can be an amazing tool for getting through the winter,
The American Osteopathic College of Dermatology recommends a humidity level between 45 and 55 percent. Running central air in your home can reduce it down to a whopping 10 percent! This is a serious difference and can really affect your skin and respiratory health.
So many people trudge through winters, cursing how dry their skin looks and feels everyday. Dull, dry, lifeless… it’s not a fun look OR feeling. I don’t suffer as much now that I make my own skincare and am pretty diligent about my diet, but I still have my days.
In addition to drinking lots of water, using a heavier moisturizer, and limiting your time in steamy showers, consider adding a humidifier to your routine. Choose the type that’s best for you and clean it and change the filters often, and you may be on your way to taking your best holiday photo yet.
Do you notice a difference when you use a humidifier for dry skin? Positive or negative?
Please share your experience in the comments below!
Matt Freije – ‘Home Humidifiers – Reducing Your Exposure to Harmful Bacteria’
“What One Sees” by Ryan Cadby, “Drought” by Katie Tegtmeyer, “Plume” by Ryan Hyde
In Part 1 of the Lung-Skin Connection, we talked about how lung health often influences skin health. We also discussed the importance of air quality–both indoor and outdoor–and shared a few tips on how to freshen up your indoor air and protect yourself outside–especially if you live in a city, or an area with compromised air quality as a result of environmental disasters such as smoke from wildfires, or mold from hurricanes. So what are some other ways we can help protect and rejuvenate our lungs, and therefore, our skin?
Herbs, of course. While there are too many herbs to list here that benefit the herbs and skin, I figured I’d start you off with five of my favorites. Here are…
5 herbs to support a healthy lung-skin connection
This herb has dozens of benefits. For the lungs, it encourages the clearing of mucus and reduces your mucus production, helping to keep you free and clear. It is helpful to take at the tail end of illness, as it soothes dry coughs and sore throats, and acts as a recuperative tonic.
Remember, the lungs are associated with air–and too much dryness in the lungs and body often lead to chronically dry skin on the outside. Because this demulcent herb helps to keep the body moisturized from the inside out, I recommend drinking it as a tea regularly. The more moisturized your body is, the better it is at warding off infections and getting rid of toxins from the body.
It’s great to be able to recommend an herb that people are already familiar with using. It’s sometimes easier to add herbs into meals you already eat, than worry about making teas or tinctures. Truly, some of the herbs many of us use regularly in cooking have amazing benefits that we might not realize.
Thyme is definitely one of them! Its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties make it helpful in supporting a healthy respiratory system. Plus, it has expectorant qualities, making it helpful to relieve dry, unproductive coughs.
Oregano is another example of a common culinary herb that packs serious medicinal punch! Oregano is perhaps more known in the world of herbalism for its antibacterial qualities. They are strong! And many people enjoy using oil of oregano or oregano essential oil to reap these benefits. Take caution when using oregano essential oil, though. It is powerful, and should not be taken internally or used undiluted.
Another way to get the benefits of oregano, besides cooking with it, is to take the powdered herb in capsule form. Doing so regularly can help keep your lungs clean.
This invigorating herb already has a reputation as an ally of the lungs. Especially pleasant when used in a diffuser, eucalyptus has a palpable effect on the lungs and sinuses when inhaled. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can add a couple drops of the essential oil in a pot of boiling water and let the steam wash over your home, or use it in a hot shower. If you don’t have the essential oil, you can tie a bunch of fresh eucalyptus to your showered and the hot, steamy shower will act as a diffuser.
Eucalyptus is a great example of an herb that supports a healthy lung-skin connection, quite literally in fact, since you can benefit from it both by inhaling it and by applying it topically. You can also dilute eucalyptus essential oil or in a carrier oil or infuse a carrier oil with the herb itself to use as a massage oil, or in a salve.
This special herb increases oxygenation of the lungs, soothes sore throats and inflammation, and is highly effective against viral respiratory infections. Quite the resume!
Osha is not to be used lightly, but can be very effective. A tea or tincture induces sweating, which can help in the elimination of toxins. This is a great herb to use under the guidance of a trained herbalist if you’re noticing clear signs of respiratory distress.
There is a lot to take in regarding lung health, air quality, and the skin. Recognizing the lung-skin connection is important, and it’s a good idea to keep air quality on your radar and pay attention to any signs of lung distress. But don’t let the stress transfer over to you. Do your best to get out into nature when you can, reduce your environmental impact, and nourish your body with lung-nurturing herbs! Your skin will thank you.
Have you tried any of these herbal remedies for healthy lungs?
And if so, have you noticed a change in your skin? Please share in the comments below!
Fenugreek seed by Bhaskaranaidu ,Thymus vulgaris by Kurt Stuber, Oregano by Thomas Then, Eucalyptus by Toby Hudson, Osha by Jerry Friedman via Wikimedia Commons
Ah, the great outdoors! I wouldn’t be a true holistic health advocate if I didn’t wholeheartedly believe in the power of getting outside and experiencing nature. But in our current climate of car-clogged highways and pollution-exuding factories that never sleep, sometimes outdoor air isn’t exactly fresh. Does that mean we should spend more time indoors? Hardly. Indoor quality is often just as polluted, if not moreso, than outdoor air. When we breathe in polluted air, day in and day out, our bodies must work overtime to remove them. Out of the five main detoxifying organs of the body (kidneys, lungs, colon, liver, and skin), the lungs and the skin tend to become most taxed in the presence of constant air pollution. While all of our organs and systems are interdependent on each other for optimal functioning, the lung-skin connection often gets ignored.
You hear a lot about associations between skin health and heart, liver, gut, and endocrine health. But when our lung health is compromised, we our skin reacts too, often with chronic dryness, eczema flare-ups, and premature signs of aging such as hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles. While our organs all perform multiple tasks to keep us healthy, the lungs and the skin have those of respiration and detoxification in common.
The lung-skin connection is well known in Eastern healing modalities.
Both Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine share the school of thought that says that skin eruptions and flare-ups that occur on certain areas on the face are linked with certain health issues. Sometimes called face mapping, it tells us that we see pimples popping up on a certain area of our face, it’s a signal that we need to be examining different areas of our health.
Acute flare-ups and sudden skin changes are more often associated with the liver, however more chronic skin issues are associated with the lungs. The lungs are associated with air, metal, and movement. When toxicants enter into the lungs, they must be expelled, otherwise they can build up and cause stagnation, mucus build-up, and inflammation. The skin, too, acts as a semipermeable barrier between outside pollutants and our inner organs. If the skin can’t “breathe” due to overexposure to toxicants or improper usage of skincare products, then similar stagnation-related problems also occur.
Lung health and wrinkles
It’s widely known that smoking has a powerful negative affect on the appearance and health of the skin.
Click HERE to read about how smoking affects the skin.
But toxicants in the air also take a huge toll on the way we age, and there have been a couple studies that have demonstrated this.
The Journal of Investigative Dermatology published a study that examined 400 women between 70 and 80 years old for signs of skin aging. They also took into consideration where these women lived and took measurements of general traffic emissions as well as ambient particles from fixed monitoring sites.
Here’s the one I thought was hilarious. They also tested dust in the women’s homes and analyzed it for pollutants. Imagine having your home scientifically analyzed for how clean or dirty it was. What a nightmare!
But I digress. Using what they measured about these women’s environments and how much their skin had aged, they found that air pollution was significantly linked to visible signs of skin aging, including hyperpigmentation, age spots, and wrinkles.
Traffic pollution was associated with twenty percent more age spots on the forehead and cheeks, and all types of pollution were found to be linked with more pronounced smile lines.
Now, women are beautiful no matter how we age, and our worth is certainly not correlated with how deep our wrinkles are. I am, however, realistic in knowing that for many women, this is a concern. If knowing these statistics motivates you to take care of your lungs, I’m happy.
Another study published in the Journal of Dermatological Science reviewed pollution and skin. They looked at research that had been done so far, collaborating with experts on environmental health, clinical research in dermatology and cosmetic dermatology. They looked only at studies that examined the effects of pollution on skin.
Their findings confirmed that air pollution damages skin, ozone depletes skin antioxidants, and that pollution-induced skin damage is a global problem.
The air, your lungs, and your skin
The EPA has a grim list of potential risks associated with breathing bad air. It’s not pretty.
Ozone, nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter, and sulfur dioxide are among some of the airborne materials that can irritate or damage lung tissue, putting you at greater risk for infections. Repeated or high levels of exposure to some of these can cause permanent damage, cancer, or even premature death.
Many of these symptoms aren’t observed right away. During fire events it’s more obvious that air quality is low, but on a normal day you may not be aware that what you’re breathing isn’t totally healthy.
Air quality isn’t something we have much control over, but we can benefit from being aware of our local air quality, its fluctuations, and knowing what we can do to help our lungs stay healthy.
Where’s the good air?
Different factors affect the air quality in the place you live, such as topography (valleys tend collect smog), amount of cars on the road, density of trees, number of factories and other high-emission buildings, and incidents of fires.
My friend Dr. Trevor Cates wrote an article on air quality and health and in it she shared this awesome resource for checking the air quality in your city. Don’t worry– if your city doesn’t score well, you’re not completely doomed. I share this because it’s always better to know what you’re dealing with, so you can put some attention on nurturing and protecting your lungs.
Depending on where you live, the air quality inside your house and can actually be worse! In fact, the EPA ranks indoor air quality among the top five environmental risks to public health. Off-gassing of chemicals from carpet and furniture, household cleaning supplies, as well as toxins brought into the house on clothing and shoes can accumulate and wreak havoc on your home air quality.
Here are some solutions for dealing with poor air quality both inside and outside the home:
Outdoor air pollution:
- Avoid exercising on high pollution days or near heavy traffic areas.
- Spend time in your local forests or highly vegetated areas.
- Do your part to improve the air quality in your region! Reduce your use of wood burning stoves, drive as little as possible and don’t idle your vehicle, and support local efforts to reduce pollution.
Indoor air pollution:
- Open your windows whenever possible to circulate fresh air throughout your space.
- Invest in an air purifier, especially if your outdoor air quality is poor and thus opening the windows isn’t always the ideal solution.
- Fill your house with plants that clean the air such as Spider Plant and Dracaena
- Vacuum often if you have carpet.
- Diffuse essential oils, especially those that support the lungs (keep reading to find out which herbs I recommend!)
In next week’s post, we’ll continue this discussion, and I’ll share some herbs with you that you can use to support healthy lung and skin health inside and out.
I’d love to hear from you!
Have you noticed a lung-skin connection in your own health? Please share in the comments below.
Image credits: Air-pollution.JPG: Zakysant at the German, designmilk