You may or may not have heard of the ‘skin microbiome’, or you may have heard of the ‘gut microbiome’. In a nutshell, both these biomes are an ecosystem within our body made up of millions of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Their main purpose is to protect us and fight against infection and toxins. Our skin microbiome helps fight off toxins and chemicals our skin comes into contact with from our environment. In today’s modern world, we are exposed to a lot of toxins in the environment and our skin microbiome can be working in over-drive to protect us.
Our skin microbiome has the incredible ability to show us signs there is an imbalance in its ecosystem and within our body. Conditions like acne, psoriasis, eczema, oily and dry skin, under-eye bags and underarm odor can tell us something isn’t quite right and it’s important to address the root cause. The state of our mind greatly affects our skin. Stress releases cortisol in the body which can then put our hormones out of whack, leading to acne or breakouts. Similarly with food, what we put into our bodies affects our skin microbiome too.
Someone who has seen first-hand the importance of taking care of your skin and its microbiome is Emmily Banks, natural makeup artist and founder of blog Depths of Beauty. Our skin is our largest organ, and the things we put on our skin are absorbed straight into our blood stream is a message you will often hear from Emmily, who shares with her audience how toxins, harsh chemicals, parabens and preservatives that can be found in commercial makeup and skin care are toxic to our skin’s microbiome.
We had the exciting opportunity to chat with Emmily about switching to toxic-free products, what happens to our skin from long-term stress and the importance of fermented food and probiotics for a healthy gut and glowing skin.
Q – You help many people switch to natural, organic, toxic-free makeup and skin care, as well as educate people about integrating a holistic beauty approach with nutrition and mental health also – what do you find are the most common reasons people are wanting to take action and change their lifestyle?
Emmily – I think a lot of the time people don’t realise what damage mainstream products are doing to their health, the health of the environment and the health of animals. Often once people know that these toxic ingredients could be impacting their endocrine systems, reproductive systems, skin health, and that of their children’s too- they are quick to want to take control and make positive changes.
Q – Your mental state can affect your skin. What does long-term stress do to our skin over time?
Emmily – Long-term stress can cause oxidative stress within our skin cells, which is basically the inability of the body to counteract free radicals with antioxidant protection, which can interfere with DNA and can cause cell damage. When this happens to our skin cells we notice changes in skin elasticity, texture and vibrance so they key youthful looking skin is keeping these cells healthy and happy by trying to reduce stress and exposure to free radicals.
Q – What are some products or ingredients we can use on our skin to calm our mind?
Emmily – Essential oils are an incredible gift from the earth that I use throughout the day, everyday to support my mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. Lavender is always a great one for calming the mind, I place a tiny drop of pure lavender essential oil on the soles of my feet (the most absorbent part of the body) at nighttime and it works wonders for calming my nervous system.
Q – What are some of the foods and ingredients you incorporate in your diet for glowing healthy skin?
Emmily – I recommend people nourish their bodies from within and incorporate as many nutrient dense whole foods as close to their natural state as possible; including plenty of healthy fats, fermented foods and filtered water. I also try to eat organic where possible. I also find including some form of movement in my days really helps to keep skin clear and glowing.
Q – In Ayurveda, we use natural food products on the skin regularly. Probiotics like yoghurt applied to the skin are now said to affect the skin’s microbiome. What are your thoughts about applying fermented products or even probiotic skin products to the skin?
Emmily – I am a firm believer that you shouldn’t put anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat because 60-90% of what we put on our skin is absorbed straight into our bloodstreams. I am a huge fan of fermented veggies for gut and skin health so couldn’t imagine anything better to be putting on your skin. Probiotic skin products such as The Beauty Chef Probiotic Skin Refiner which uses probiotics and Lactic Acid to break down old skin cells, boost skin cell immunity and to nourish the skin from the outside in, are an incredible way to support the health of your skin.
If you’re interested in learning more about natural makeup, Emmily has some upcoming masterclasses where you can trial and test products and learn tips and techniques from Emmily. Queenslanders, she’s even coming to the Gold Coast!