Beauty, we are told, is in the eye of the beholder. As women, we continually seek approval and feel judged by how we look, regardless of what else we may accomplish. Ultimately, we must all come to terms with the fact that beauty is subjective. In an age of fillers and plastics, the pursuit of beauty is being forced into a one-dimensional mold of measurements, cup sizes and wrinkle depth.
The truth is that beauty cannot be measured. It is multidimensional. We are bombarded with images of women that were once truly beautiful, but now are caricatures of their former selves in their attempt to conform to current standards.
Integrative beauty attempts to redefine our definition and expectation of beauty. Beauty is actually wellness, vibrancy and vitality. It comes from within and may be that light, intellect or humor that then change how one perceives every other physical attribute.
As women continue to be trivialized and plasticized into standard dimensions, I would like women to embrace and take charge in turning our definition of beauty upside down – beauty is wellness, vibrancy and accomplishment. Here are 5 steps to embracing Integrative Beauty.
BEAUTY IS SELF ESTEEM
There is no beauty without self esteem. Women become victims and targets when their internal dialogue does not match their appearance. Self esteem should be taught, practiced and enforced. Self esteem, comes from accomplishments and education- not the newest make up line or beauty treatment. Find what you are good at and do it- you will find yourself beautiful and others will agree.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Try 1 new activity every 2-3 weeks.
Decluttering your brain can help you find the steps to pursue a hobby or career that you love.
Surround yourself with cheerleaders.
Positive people will support your aspirations wisely.
BEAUTY BEGINS WITH NUTRITION
Your face is a reflection of your food. Dehydration, excessive salt, sugar and alcohol take their toll on the health of your skin, hair and weight. I have lived this one- I lost a lot of my hair and had horrible acne after a nutrient poor diet in residency and medical school. You are what you eat. An integrative beauty assessment can help you identify your core nutritional needs.
Keep a food journal for 3 days.
Track the grams of sugar and the mg of salt that you may be getting daily. Try to keep sugar under 40 grams per day or 6 tsp. and salt fewer than 1500 mg per day. Eliminate all artificial sugars.
Cut the alcohol to 2-3 drinks per week.
Alcohol is ultimately sugar and can contribute to aging.
Get your 5.
Try to incorporate at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This will guarantee enough dietary fiber for daily elimination and lots of antioxidants for increased oxygenation to skin.
BEAUTY REQUIRES SLEEP
Sleep is the ultimate beauty secret. Consistent, regular sleep allows hormones to balance, inflammation to decrease and encourages detoxification. Aging is a direct consequence of hormonal imbalances, inflammation and poor detoxification. While many of us pursue creams, pills and elaborate detoxes to look better, sleeping is a cheap and easy way to prevent aging and find your inner glow.
Correcting sleep disturbances should be an essential part of your beauty regimen. If you are tossing and turning at night, talk to your doctor about potential solutions. Insomnia can be a symptom of hormonal fluctuations, stress, anxiety or excess caffeine and alcohol.
Minimize electronics prior to sleep.
Stay relaxed and prepared rest by limiting your TV, cell phone and IPad exposure.
Remove clutter in bedrooms.
Keeping your physical space clutter-free helps you relax from the day’s activities.
Try taking sleep-inducing supplements.
Take 150 mg of Tryptophan, 5 HTP or 200 mg of Magnesium Glycinate prior to sleep (please consult with your doctor).
SUPPLEMENTS FOR BEAUTY
I do believe in supplements, but even when it comes to looking good, supplements and cosmeceuticals should be targeted to your specific needs. Skin can be divided into different types and learning more about your specific skin type may help you choose the right supplements and topical products for your skin. An integrative beauty assessment may help you identify your skin type. Use our beauty tools to find the supplements that should be a part of your beauty regimen.
FIND YOUR HAPPINESS FACTOR AND MANAGE STRESS
Stress, anxiety and depression often takes it toll on our health and beauty. We have watched Presidents change dramatically after 4 years and know that repeated trauma and shock can leave some people unrecognizable from their former selves. Learning to manage stress and emotional upheavals is a critical beauty strategy.
I always advise women to schedule a few hours of self-care for themselves every week and I try to follow this advice myself. Cortisol lowering activities, including massage, acupuncture and yoga, prevent inflammation and premature aging. Shriodhara and champissage, ayurvedic scalp treatments, encourage blood flow to the brain, relaxing the scalp and nourishing healthy hair. Regular exercise improves oxygenation and blood flow to skin. Finally, cosmetic acupuncture stimulates collagen production while relieving stress and anxiety.
Schedule acupuncture or massage weekly.
Not only do these self-care treatments help lower your cortisol, when scheduled regularly, it gives you something to look forward to!
Be consistent with exercise.
Studies show time after time that people that exercise have lower levels of stress.
Create stress free zones in your home, office, and car.
Creating this sacred space gives you a quiet retreat when you begin to feel anxious or stressed.
Let’s turn the definition of beauty upside down and teach our teenagers and young women to strive for true beauty and internal happiness.
By Dr. Tasneem Bhatia
Integrative Health Expert,
Medical Director, Contributing Editor and Author