Skincare is Healthcare–Why We Should Focus on Our Largest Organ First

Skincare is Healthcare–Why We Should Focus on Our Largest Organ First

It’s always astonished me, how the idea of taking care of one’s skin is considered by so many to be an act of vanity. Images of vintage ladies applying cold cream at their decadent vanities come to mind. I watched the Amazon Prime show “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (OK–I binge watched the whole thing in two evenings); and I myself marveled at the clips of Midge and Rose sneaking off to the bathroom after their husbands fell asleep to apply their night cream, and then sneaking back in at the crack of dawn to remove it and apply their makeup before their husbands awoke. The idea that skincare is healthcare, not just a fluffy ritual, would have been quickly dismissed back then. And surprisingly, it’s still dismissed today.

I’ve spent the greater part of my life observing my own changing relationship with my skin.

I’ve also been studying the history of women’s beauty rituals and changing roles in society for quite some time. I’ve come to the understanding that the whole idea that caring for the skin is solely for beauty, vanity, or to impress or seduce a man; and the shaming that’s followed, really is a result of our patriarchal society. I’ve thought deeply about the damage caused by the whole “anti-aging” movement to women collectively, to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health–and what we can do to heal that hurt. I’ve written several blog posts that explore concepts of beauty, aging, and skin-related women’s image issues:

I’ve also given some thoughts about how to reclaim our sacred beauty and creative expression, and celebrate it without fear or shame:

While these are important issues, what we still need to discuss is the fact that skincare goes way beyond self-care or celebration of beauty.

We need to discuss the fact that in actuality, skincare is healthcare.

I find it fascinating that many health practitioners–even holistic ones–kind of snicker at me when I tell them that my focus is on skincare. They seem to think that focusing on skin is superficial or frivolous, and that there are more important organs that need attention–especially since most skin issues start inside (with the gut, liver, lymph, etc).

That may very well be true, but I start with the skin, because unlike the gut, liver, or lymphatic system–it is visible, and we see whatever’s ailing us reflected back multiple times a day. Its changes are immediately noticeable, and if there are blemishes, scars, flare-ups, spots, lines, and wrinkles, often, these affect how people feel about themselves.

I’m not the only one who believes that skincare is healthcare.

Eastern philosophies such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda often start with the skin during diagnosis, as the location and other physical characteristics of lesions, pigmentations, or features of the skin correlate directly to an internal organ or system that may need to be attended to. This is well and good, but in this day and age, constant stress and chronic illness is the norm; and people are used to living with symptoms such as digestive issues, chronic fatigue, mood swings, constant colds, painful menstrual cycles, and disturbed sleep. Because of that, those symptoms often go unnoticed, or are dismissed as stress or just getting old. But when the skin shows us something? A new wrinkle, spot, dilated blood vessel, or pimple? We pay attention.

The skin is the largest organ, and we have to stop treating it in a disembodied, disconnected way from the rest of our organs and systems.

The skin is an organ of digestion, elimination, immunity, respiration, temperature regulation, and sensation; and should be treated with as much reverence as the brain, heart, liver, and other vital organs of the body.

Clean Skin from Within by Dr Trevor CatesA truly holistic approach to skincare seeks to find the root cause of the symptom that’s choosing to manifest visibly on the surface. It’s definitely important to uncover things on the inside like food sensitivities, as well as environmental toxicants, and poor lifestyle habits which contribute to the underlying causes of the symptoms, but we also have to look at the actual skin. As my friend and colleague, Dr. Trevor Cates says in her book Clean Skin from Within, the skin is a magic mirror–it reflects back to us what’s going on inside.

What I offer in addition to caring for the skin from within, is that we can also start on the outside, by utilizing the skin’s powerful absorption abilities to deliver nutrients into the skin from the outside in. While the exact rate of absorption via the skin depends on many factors and varies from person to person, we know that delivering nutrients through the skin–AKA transdermally–is possible, because both the pharmaceutical and supplement industries use transdermal delivery systems for medications and micronutrients.

We can also deliver vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other powerful phytonutrients into the body via the skin through the use of carrier oils, essential oils, and herbs–or what I refer to as “whole food skin nutrition.” When we do this in addition to other holistic measures, we truly care for the skin–and the health–and will see results faster, which will last longer.

I started my blog and later, my business, with the notion that skincare is healthcare.

I also feel strongly that the way to vibrant skin and radiant health is through the use of plants. For these reasons, I decided to create the Herbal Skincare Summit: an online event that happens free January 8-12, 2018, and features stories, wisdom, and inspiration of renowned herbalists, holistic health, and skincare practitioners. Together, we’ll celebrate beauty, inspired by the magic, wisdom, and science (yes there is room for both magic and science in Mother Earth’s plant kingdom) of nature. I hope you can join us to learn more about how I truly feel the plants are here to bring us back to ourselves and the planet, through the skin.

Herbal Skincare Summit

Click HERE to register!

*This post contains affiliate links.

Photo credit: Wellcome Library

Science and Soul: Why You Need Both for Healing

Science and Soul: Why You Need Both for Healing

Fairly early on in my practice, I noticed something that may seem obvious, but it’s one of the biggest things that holds people back from looking and feeling their best. And that’s that whether they intellectually already know what they should do to get results, or they’ve just gotten professional results on what to do, they often don’t follow through. Or, they start off with a big bang (often as some sort of New Year’s resolution), and then something happens that makes them lose interest, give up, or otherwise fall off the wagon. Then, not only do they not get the results they wanted, but they also get the added feelings of guilt, shame, embarrassment, and hopelessness.

This is something I’ve experienced myself at various stages of my own healing journey as well. I realized that what was necessary for me to get my own lasting results (and stick with what I needed to do to keep those results for the long term), wasn’t in my head. Because my head understood what to do. My own blockages went deeper than the mind–they were at the soul level. Specifically, I was blocking my own awareness of and access to the wisdom of my own higher self. I began doing specific exercises to address this for myself, and once I did, the floodgates opened, and I began losing weight, getting clear skin, and feeling energized at what seemed like quantum speed.

I began to deepen my studies of various aspects of spirituality and metaphysics to understand why this happened for me–both ancient lineages and newer age belief systems–and all of what I studied pointed to the truth that one’s spirit (or soul, higher self, life-force energy, connection to God, the Force, the Source, whatever you want to call it) is what sets the stage for healing to occur at the mental and physical levels.

Integrative, naturopathic oncologist, Dr. Heather Paulson agrees.

In today’s episode of the Rachael Pontillo Show, I interview my friend and colleague, Dr. Heather Paulson, about her upcoming, free virtual event, The Science and Soul of Healing Summit. It starts this Monday, October 2nd, 2017, and will be an ongoing dialogue about the importance and validation of both spirituality and science, as it pertains to healing. Many schools of thought, for many years have believed that there’s no room for science in spirituality and that there’s no room for spirituality in science. Fortunately we live in a time where we get to experience the benefits of both, and more practitioners are beginning to see the value in both–especially in cases of life-threatening and chronic diseases.

Tens of thousands of health seekers from around the world will be watching this revolutionary event bringing together thoughtleaders, traditional healers, and doctors as we explore cutting-edge science and alternative traditional practices to discover the soul of healing. I am honored to be one of them, and share with you some of the methods I used personally to help myself look and feel better, and that I share with my own private clients.

Watch the interview below to hear more from Heather about why she feels this approach is so important to share, and hear her own story of healing both through science and the soul.

Click HERE to download the audio version of this episode free on my iTunes channel (and subscribe while you’re at it!)

The Science and Soul of Healing Summit is a free online conference that starts on Monday, October 2nd, 2017 and goes through Friday, October 6th, 2017.

The Science and Soul of Healing Summit will teach you:

  • What’s stopping you from experience better health
  • Where Science and Traditional Healing Come Together
  • How Your Childhood influences Your Health as an Adult
  • Ways to Cultivate Love to Change Cellular Health
  • Musical Vibrations that Heal
  • The Truths hidden in Traditional Cherokee Healing Practices
  • Essential Oils that Create Peace and Heal Traumas
  • How Your Hands Can Heal You
  • Flowers that create joy and spontaneity
  • Healing Properties of Crystals
  • Soulful Nutrition
  • Rituals for Self-Care
  • The Power of Prana
  • And more!

Register for FREE here to make sure you don’t miss a single inspiring, informative, and potentially life-saving interview.

If you can’t watch all the interviews between October 2-6, don’t worry! You can own access to ALL of the expert interviews at huge savings. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to learn from these healers. Now through October 6th purchase the entire collection of interviews here.

Dr. Heather PaulsonAbout Dr. Heather Paulson

Dr. Heather Paulson is a board certified naturopathic oncologist focusing on natural and integrative cancer care. She founded The Paulson Center for Integrative Healing, a wellness center named in honor of her Dad who died of colon cancer, and dedicated to helping people with cancer and hematological disorders regain health. Dr. Paulson is adjunct faculty at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and trains other physicians in cancer care and support. She is also the best selling author of Cancer Proof: 7 Natural Ways to Live Cancer Free. You can reach Dr. Paulson at

*Affiliate disclaimer

How the Sacred Feminine Can Save Your Life

How the Sacred Feminine Can Save Your Life

Have you ever hit rock bottom? Like REALLY hit rock bottom–as in you seriously don’t know how your life can go on, or if it will ever be the same since everything you thought was your reality is crumbling apart? Maybe it’s a health crisis, a love crisis, a job crisis, an accident, or another type of tragedy. Moments like these bring even the least spiritual or religious people to their knees in prayers to God, Jesus, Allah, or another male “father” deity. I’m not saying that’s wrong to do–but have you ever prayed to the Goddess or sacred feminine?

I want to share my friend Zinnia Gupte’s amazing story with you.

Zinnia was going through a divorce. From the outside, it looked like she was losing everything: her husband of12 years, her house, her job, her city. Everything that made her life what it was, was falling away. 

Zinnia guiding women in Sacred Feminine dance

Zinnia leading a group of women in sacred feminine dance in Ibiza.

Despite being from a long lineage of priestesses (her mother, her mother’s mother, her grandmother’s mother…), it was a time where her faith was running on low. In one of those rock bottom moments, Zinnia got on her knees and asked the goddesses to ‘show her.’ Was there anyone out there? Because it felt like she was entirely alone.

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I ever find myself broken down and asking God, Goddess, or the Universe to send me a sign or show me how I can move through my pain, I sure hope they give me the same answer that Zinnia got–to dance. Dance? Dance. She trusted it, and she danced. 

Moved by the voices she was hearing, Zinnia moved to Ibiza, Spain, where she was able to generate joy and heal herself by reconnecting with her love of dance. Subsequently, this spurred a whole new chapter in her life, characterized by living in love, creating from a divine place, and helping other women do the same.

Below you’ll find my interview with Zinnia, where we talk about how she helps women discover their sacred feminine power through her mentorship and through her Goddess Power oracle cards, which I have to say, I am a little bit obsessed with.

How is the feminine model different from the male?

We’ve been living in a certain reality for as long as we’ve known, conditioned into the masculine model of control, competition, and domination. In this model we have order–we have hierarchy and dualism.

The collaborative feminine model, on the other hand, is based on abundance–there is enough for everyone; the more we give, the more gain. This mindset allows us to break away from competition–feeling like someone else has to be wrong for us to be right, someone else has to have less in order for us to have more.

The abundance mindset is what allowed Zinnia to go from working at a job that left her drained and unfulfilled to becoming a mentor, a priestess, and a dancing her way through life. Her bravery came from knowing that the world wants to provide for her, and that she can be powerful through giving. And she’s working to help more women find their power through collaborative characteristics: Trust is power. Nurture is power. Strategy is power. Boundaries are powerful, too.

img_6723Last year I wrote an article talking about how DIY skincare can foster female empowerment (I know it seems like a stretch, but read it!) In the article I mention ‘Lean in’ feminism, the Sheryl Sandberg type of feminism that tells us we should be more like men if we want to succeed. Of course, this is an oversimplification of her message, but for many women, it doesn’t resonate. While it may seem in some ways to help level the playing field in the corporate environment, it may also leave women feeling unfulfilled, always wanting something more (though they can’t put their finger on what’s missing), or like they’re trying to be something they’re not–which in essence, is exactly what they’re doing. This calls for a more modern model of feminism–the sacred feminine model–which celebrates the innate gifts and abilities of women as equally important and complementary to those of men, as well the feminine aspect of God and/or the Universe. In a patriarchal society, this approach is an excellent way to restore balance.

Zinnia’s work helps cultivate this school of the sacred feminine that lets us live an empowered life gracefully, as women. Her Goddess Power Card deck is an excellent tool both for beginners, and longtime practitioners of the sacred feminine.

In my interview with Zinnia below, we talk about her Goddess Power Cards, which help offer guidance in the mode of healing you most resonate with. Each card character presents a Goddess, professes a mode of power, like trust or strategy, and also offers numerology, flower essence, tarot, and even herbal advice. So essentially it allows you to listen to the wisdom of the goddesses and interpret it in the modality of your choosing.

Watch my interview with Zinnia Gupte to learn more about the sacred feminine and why I have become a bit obsessed with her Goddess Power cards:

Click HERE to download the audio version of this episode free on my iTunes channel (and subscribe while you’re at it!)

About Zinnia Gupte:

Zinnia Gupte, sacred feminine leaderZinnia is an author, inspirational speaker, priestess and women’s leadership mentor who helps women embrace their sacred feminine power.
Her first book, Messages From Shakti was a #1 best-seller on Amazon women’s growth and development. Zinnia hosts the Shakti Power podcast on iTunes and offers mentorship, group coaching, free talks and workshops about her signature process Shakti Power. Her courses are designed to help women reimagine their lives and generate more power.
Zinnia divides her time between New York City and Ibiza, Spain and teaches sacred dance every year in Spain at the Ibiza Spirit Festival. Reach Zinnia at and receive your free Shakti Goddess Gift! Click HERE to get your own Goddess Power Card deck–it’s really a wonderful deck and I know you’ll love it!

share-your-thoughts-2-150x150Is the sacred feminine part of your own spiritual and life practice?

And how did Zinnia’s message resonate with you? Tell me more in the comments below!
*Images of Zinnia are used here with permission from
3 Ways to Use the Law of Attraction to Get Clear Skin

3 Ways to Use the Law of Attraction to Get Clear Skin

The Law of Attraction. Loved by New Agers and woo woos alike, poo-pooed by cynics and skeptics alike. It’s a rather polarizing concept–a “Universal Law.” People either “get it” and grasp it with might, or they shun it completely. It can be hard to translate a spiritual concept like a Universal Law into mainstream practicality, but many people have done so successfully–especially when it comes to using the Law of Attraction to earn more money. It always seems like once it’s about making more money–something that many people place extremely high value on–more people buy into it. Even if they won’t admit it publicly. Because, what if? Many books have been written on the subject, old and new, from The Master Key System to Kate Northrup’s Money: A Love Story.

Law of Attraction for Clear SkinOther well-known books have alluded to using the Law of Attraction to attract things other than wealth and success. Books like those in The Secret series, speak of using it to improve health, relationships, and even to help break bad habits. But it’s always the money books that appeal to those who might be newer to metaphysical concepts or other New Age-y stuff.

Why is that?

Why is it easier to take a leap of faith when there’s a possibility of miraculously manifesting money, but much harder when talking about improving things like skin, health, or self-image? Why is it easier to force your mind to think positively and abundantly when there’s money at stake, but not to eat healthier or practice activities of self-care? Is it because those subjects are too woo-woo too? Or is it something worse–that more people place value on money than they do on their own health and wellbeing? Sadly, the latter rings true.

I understand. One of the hardest things to do when you’re feeling bad about something–whether it’s a circumstance around you, or something going on with you personally–is to keep a positive mindset. Life can be really tough sometimes! And during those times, attempting to put on a happy face or repeat positive affirmations in your mind might seem at best inauthentic, and at worst, like a joke.

As a metaphysician, part of my work is to help people take harder to grasp (or believe) concepts like the Law of Attraction, and make it relevant to them in their daily lives, so they can see it at work and KNOW that it’s at work. That last part–knowing that it’s at work can be especially challenging. That’s something I, myself, had to learn the hard way (click HERE to read that lesson). In my practice as a health and image coach, as well as in my own personal story, I’ve seen how important a positive mindset is if you truly want positive change to occur. I was not able to improve my own skin and self-image, until I was able to control my thought processes, and convert them from negative to positive. It’s everything–because without it, the Law of Attraction will have the opposite effect. Instead of “like attracts like,” dislike will attract dislike.

How can the Law of Attraction work for you to help you get better skin?

www.divagirlphillyconference2016.eventbrite.com_-300x300In the video below, I share a talk I recently gave at the 2nd Annual Diva Girl Philly Conference at the University of Pennsylvania. In this talk, I discuss a bit of how the Law of Attraction works in general, but also how it can be used to help you have the beautiful skin–and self-image–that you want and deserve.

Three of the techniques I discuss are:

Learn to “catch” negative thought processes, and convert them to something neutral and true. Next time you find yourself scrutinizing your skin in front of the mirror, picking at blackheads, frowning at fine lines or dark spots, STOP. Take a deep breath, and tell yourself something that’s neutral and true. “I have brown hair.” “My shirt is blue.” It’s not negative, or positive–it’s just an observation that’s true.

Fake it ’til you believe it. In the video, I talk about how humans learn best by repetition, whether it’s something that’s true or not. Western society teaches women repeatedly that they are too old, too fat, too dark, too emotional, too intense, too much, and so on, ALL THE TIME. We see it in mass media, social media, advertising–we even see it starting with our children. How many times are things people believe about themselves actually true–and how many times are they only true within a false (and broken) societal construct? The more we repeat a behavior, the more true it is. So even if we adopt a “fake” positive attitude, the more we think it, the sooner it will become truth.

Use visualization to retrain your brain. Did you know that the brain believes what you tell it to believe? It’s true–and it’s actually really cool, because by using tools like visualization and affirmation, we can influence how the brain reacts to certain stimuli. Visualization is a great tool–and it simply starts with using your imagination. In the video I teach you about my “Goddess You” visualization, which is a tool I use almost every day–and it really helps me.

Watch the video below to learn more about these three tips, and get even more practical information about how to use the Law of Attraction to get the image you want:

I hope you enjoyed that! I also encourage you to check out Diva Girl, and see how you can get involved in this wonderful women’s community where support and empowerment are the goals.

How to Use Astrology for Clearer Skin

How to Use Astrology for Clearer Skin

Interview with Anne Nordhaus-BikeAstrology is topic loaded with preconceived notions. Some people live their lives by it, others dabble in it for fun, others consider it too “woo woo” or “out there” to have any validity or practical uses in real life. In today’s Spiritual Skincare Sundays offering, I encourage you to broaden your thinking about astrology–especially in terms of its uses for health and wellness, and specifically, your skin.

I’m going to start out with total honesty–when astrologer and artist, Anne Nordhaus-Bike, first expressed interest in talking to me about astrology’s place in skin health, I was skeptical. I’ve always liked astrology, and have started utilizing it more for planning purposes, but much of it is still new to me. The idea of astrology as a mind-body-spirit healing system was completely new to me–but since I’ve had great experiences with other mind-body-spirit systems like Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, I was very interested to learn more.

Astrology isn’t just about horoscopes-it’s about life.

Horoscope_imageIt’s about our lives on this planet, at this time, and about our places in the Universe and in time. It’s about how our individual bodies react and respond to Universal influences and nature as well, and though these concepts might seem deep, the practice of astrology itself is actually quite practical.

In today’s interview, Anne Nordhaus-Bike talks to us about how each astrological sign under which we were born is attributed to a different element and season-much like the doshas in Ayurveda or elements of TCM. Different elements and seasons have different characteristics, as do skin conditions, and other ailments, and each element or season also has a balancing or pacifying counterpart. It also has a season or element that makes matter worse if imbalance exists. So in this way, astrology really can be interpreted as the mind-body-spirit healing system of Western Philosophy–which for many Westerners, might be more accessible and practical than TCM or Ayurveda.

Watch Anne Nordhaus-Bike’s explanation of how astrology affects the skin:

About Anne:

Anne Nordhaus-Bike March 2016 eventAnne Nordhaus-Bike is an award-winning artist, astrologer, and journalist. She also has decades of corporate communication experience with clients including many Fortune 500 firms. She founded her own firm, ANB Communications, in 1993. Today, she blends her business savvy and spiritual smarts to provide a holistic, innovative approach in delivering communication and team building solutions for executives, business owners, and entrepreneurs. She is a frequent guest on WGN Radio in Chicago and serves on the board of the Gazette Chicago newspaper. She also served on the board for Democratic Leadership For The 21st Century- Chicago (DL21C) as recruitment chair and on the communications committee. The recipient of numerous communication awards throughout her career, she was honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, NY, which added her to its “Wall Of Fame.”

Learn more from Anne:

Get your astrological chart, and check out her art on her website, Click HERE to receive Anne’s free Art and Astrology Toolkit and  Living in Harmony newsletter.

Did you like this interview?

Click HERE to get the audio FREE on iTunes (don’t forget to click ‘subscribe’ while you’re there!

I’d love to hear from you–is astrology part of your life?

Share your thoughts-2How do you work with it now? What was your biggest takeaway from my interview with Anne? Please share in the comments below.

*Image 2 by Aadishakti-astrology (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Guided Meditation: Ground and Connect

Guided Meditation: Ground and Connect

Guided MeditationTwo of the most common misconceptions about meditation and visualization are that:

  1. You have to do it for a really long time for it to be effective
  2. You have to be “that” kind of person–super zen, outwardly spiritual, surrounded by gemstones and crystals

While it’s certainly beneficial to spend hours meditating or have a sacred space full of spiritual accoutrements, it’s definitely not mandatory–and you don’t need to *be* a certain way or not. Whoever you are, whatever you believe, you can benefit from even small doses of meditation and visualization, and often guided meditation and visualization exercise are a great way to add these practices to your life simply.

Today’s offering is a guided meditation to help you ground and connect.

It’s brief–less than 6 minutes–and is designed for anyone at any spiritual level or belief system. This is a meditation I often share with my clients, anytime they’re going through stressful times–especially for my busy moms or CEOs (who actually have a LOT in common!). During stressful times, it’s easy to feel “all over the place” or chaotic. When you’re working on something for someone else, whether it’s caring for children or tending to tasks and projects (or both!), it’s common to also feel unsupported and disconnected from who you really are and what your needs are personally.

I also recommend this meditation for my clients who are at the beginning stages of healing from a skin condition, and also for those who may have healed their physical condition but still experience the emotional and spiritual remnants. There’s a lot of fear, uncertainty, and insecurity associated with having a skin condition, and those same feelings of disconnect, lack of support, and chaos are common.

Enjoy this grounding, connecting, guided meditation here:

If you’d like to own this guided meditation, you can download it FREE on iTunes–remember to subscribe while you’re there!

Share your thoughts-2I’d love to know, did you find this brief guided meditation helpful?

Please share here in the comments, or come over to the private Spiritual Skincare Sundays group on Facebook and join our discussion there.

May you always have the peace that comes with feeling grounded and supported.

So it is.

Pin It on Pinterest