Taoism is one of the many ancient philosophies of Asia – it’s sometimes called a religion, but really it’s more of a philosophy – and one thread of Taoist thought for 2,000 years has concentrated on the idea that the happiest and best way to live is in harmony with the natural flow of energy in the universe.
In Eastern thought, the two basic energetic forces are Yin and Yang, which are in dynamic balance. Yin is usually more identified with the feminine (though it’s way more complicated than that) and Yang is more identified with the masculine.
In the body Yin refers to everything that is nourishing, moistening, cooling and calming .Yang, on the other hand, refers to the body’s functions that are active, motivating, warming and energizing. Where skin care is concerned, for example, the skin’s ability to stay nourished and moist is about Yin and its ability to bounce back and have elasticity is about Yang. Furthermore, lack of redness is thanks to the cooling functions of yin, whereas lack of puffiness is due to yang’s ability to move fluids.
So a skin that’s in dynamic balance is healthy. Take PH for example. The acid alkaline balance of the skin is very finely tuned and in dynamic balance, just like yin and yang. Normally skin is mildly acidic, with a pH of 5.00. This means that it’s able to protect the body from invasion and is the perfect environment to support the micro-flora of healthy bacteria that populate the skins surface. Pollution, unbalanced skincare products, even stress can affect the skin’s pH balance making it more alkaline and lowering the skin’s natural defenses.
So a good skin care regimen should focus on drawing the skin gently back into balance. Many of the harsher products on the market do the opposite. They attack a problem or symptom very specifically and in doing so upset the unique eco-system that keeps the skin looking radiant.
Here are my top five tips for naturally balanced skin:
- Avoid harsh cleansers, which can be abrasive and strip the skin of its natural oils as well as upset its pH balance. Look for gentle natural plant-based cleansers. Or better yet remove your make up with an oil-based cleanser then use a natural foaming cleanser to remove the excess oil.
- Hydrate from the inside out by drinking lots of water and eating plenty of healthy fats such as those found in coconut oil, avocados, olive oil, flax seeds and fatty fish.
- Get plenty of sleep. Your skin rejuvenates itself while you are sleeping so make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours a night.
- Avoid foods that are inflammatory. The biggest culprits are processed sugars, which can cause skin inflammation and acne.
- Use a good quality moisturizer that is natural and pH balanced to help the skin maintain its tone and elasticity.