We have all arrived at this particular stage in life with some beliefs. These beliefs are usually based on conditioning throughout life and information we have been given along the way. Some of it is good conditioning and some not. All of this helps form our belief system and has a direct affect on our life. What you continually think is what you believe. You’ve heard the phrase “you are what you eat” well you are also what you think. Thoughts shapes our confidence, our sense of self-worth, our career paths, our relationships, you name it. But remember your thoughts and beliefs also affect your skin.
I’m not just talking about how positive thoughts produce positive results, but about really looking at what you’ve believed to be true about your skin and asking yourself, is this a valid belief? Is it based in fact?
For example, you may have been told at one point that majority of the sun damage your skin receives happens before your 18th birthday. Or that once the damage is done you can’t reverse it. (This is one I’ve heard many times throughout the years) So your 45-year old self might believe, well, what’s the point in trying to protect or repair your skin or even just take basic steps to take care of your skin. It’s too late right? Wrong.
There is plenty of evidence that protecting your skin from further UV exposure and getting the right combination of topical moisture, vitamins and anti-oxidants as well as feeding your body the right vitamins and anti-oxidants will improve the appearance of past sun damage and even reverse some of that damage. There is a tendency, I think, to believe that there is no hope because frankly it’s easier to do nothing. When you do nothing there is no work or effort involved and there is also no risk of disappointment.
As an esthetician who has treated acne clients for 13 years, one of the things I’ve noticed with the clients who get measurable skin improvements or have completely cleared their acne is that they believe they can. There are so many factors that go into acne-prone skin, hormones, environment, stress, diet, topical products. I find that if both myself and the client go into it with an open mind and are willing to try different things and adjust our protocol along the way and if we both believe it’s possible then we get better results. If the client says things like “I’ve tried everything, nothing works” or “I have awful skin, just like my mom.” and they’ve made up their mind about having “awful skin” or “nothing works” then it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy because they aren’t willing to try things that do work.
Even seasoned estheticians have fallen into the trap of this kind of thinking. I started out in my esthetics career with a skin sensitivity problem and a hormonal acne problem. My skin was red, rashy, reactive and constantly breaking out. So many people along the way, professional estheticians, doctors and lots of skincare sales people had told me that it’s just the card I was dealt. I just had sensitive, oily, acne-prone skin and I was born with it and there’s not much I could do other than keep it clean and treat it as “sensitive”. I believed that for a long time until I started to have other health problems and really started to question other causes besides “you’re just born this way” and found that I had a whole range of food sensitivities and nutritional deficiencies and that my whole system had become inflamed. It wasn’t that I was “born with” bad skin because after all, as a child my skin was clear and not ruddy. The proof was there all along. Addressing my food sensitivities lowered my inflammation and my body was able to retain more nutrients from food which therefore transformed my skin. It is much clearer and less red and rarely breaks out anymore.
“I used to be a big "picker" of my skin.” says Melissa Hoefler, Esthetician. “I thought I had to literally clean out every single pore and would pick until my face was bright red, bruised, and inflamed. Even though I thought I was doing good by cleaning out my pores, it caused a lot of scarring and repeat breakouts from spreading bacteria. When I started listening to my own advice and quit picking - letting my cleanser and serums do their job - my skin was able to heal and I have clearer skin/pores now! Sometimes it's easy to instruct others on how to have healthy skin, but we overlook it when taking care of ourselves.”
So, if you’re not reaching your skincare goals and feel like you are just “stuck with” your skin condition or if you are trying everything under the sun and nothing works, I encourage you to really take a close look at what you believe about your skin. What are you telling yourself when you look at it? Is it really a fact? Talk to your esthetician about your beliefs and find out the facts then go forward with an open mind.