Values Centered Skincare (Part 1)

By Lauren

“Healthcare begins from the inside out AND the outside in.  We can consciously consume nutritious food, high quality water, and skin-enhancing supplements but if we lack consciousness around what we apply to our skin we could be causing more harm than we realize and be living out of alignment with what we truly value.” 

I was born and raised in the city of Los Angeles.  It wasn’t until college that I became aware how rare this was and surprising to people.  At my UCLA orientation freshman year, students would shriek, “you were born here?!”  As if children couldn’t somehow survive growing up in this place and possibly turnout normal.  Immersed in the entertainment industry a continuous concern for self-image subconsciously permeates the city.  Surrounded by billboards, advertisements, and newsstands filled with the latest celebrity-centric magazines, all while growing up in the 90’s amidst the climax of the plastic surgery craze, it was easy to get swept away in myriad of confusing messages about what made a girl beautiful.

The message certainly wasn’t that beauty could be found within but instead was only “skin deep.” It was a time when the external seemed to matter more than the internal, a time when heavy MAC makeup was all the rage and Sephora was exploding.  Walking into the local pharmacy was like walking into a magical land of skincare options in a variety of colorful packages, interesting scents, and the latest promises for blemish-free skin.  The plethora of options was astonishing and overwhelming.  The message was “more is better” and value-centric purchasing was entirely absent.  

During college, I discovered yoga and began a journey of inner inquiry and self-discovery.  Eventually, the practice began to alter the way I perceived myself and yogic philosophy began to shift the choices I was making ranging from nutrition to personal care products.  I started to become curious about the choices I was making and why.  

One day, after many years of practice, I returned home after a visit to the local pharmacy carrying bags loaded with shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face cleansers, moisturizer, and more because who doesn’t feel better with a little self-care in the form of new goodies?  My then boyfriend, now husband, questioned the quality of what was in the bags.  We looked at the ingredients and read a list of toxic sounding elements that we couldn’t pronounce.  The packaging also revealed that the products were, in all likelihood, tested on animals and were not marked with the “cruelty-free” stamp.

At first, I felt frustrated.  I thought I had done something nice for us and our home but I quickly realized that keeping these products didn’t feel in alignment with my values.  I drove back to the store and returned the items opting to purchase new products with fewer and cleaner ingredients that promised no animal testing.  This moment marked a shift in my consuming habits and brought me forward into a new way of viewing the power of my dollar.  

Your skin is the largest organ in your body and absorbs everything you apply to it.  Healthcare begins from the inside out AND the outside in.  We can consciously consume nutritious food, high quality water, and skin-enhancing supplements but if we lack consciousness around what we apply to our skin we could be causing more harm than we realize and be living out of alignment with what we truly value.  If we value health, integrity, and compassion we need to apply those values to every purchase we make including what we apply to our skin.