An Aesthetic Nurse Gives Us the At-Home Skincare Tips We Need Right Now
Our skin tells a story. Sometimes it's one of vibrance and ease. Other times it's a tale of dehydration or anxiety. The incredible beauty of our largest organ is that it acts as an essential barrier and also offers a barometer for what's going on inside of us.
Perhaps now more than ever our skin may be telling a tale of unease—which is what Rachel Varga, BScN, RN, CANS has been seeing in her work. "I've had clients tell me through my online consultations that they're noticing that their skin is definitely drier and rougher feeling while we're going through this time of stress," says Varga, a board certified aesthetic nurse specialist. "So really bumping up your skin care to mitigate that is really important."
Given the current circumstances, Varga, who specializes in skin rejuvenation and anti-aging techniques, has been seeing her clients virtually to keep their skin vibrant and rejuvenated. As she illuminates, the most important thing to keep skin in good health—glowing, fresh, and clear—is to honor consistent care and "stay dialed into your skin care routine." This, says Varga, is the most important thing we can do for our glow.
But it doesn't stop there. Varga recently spoke with us virtually to lend more of her aesthetic wisdom—which we unveil below. While she is a practitioner of western medicine, she leans heavily into the spiritual and emotional side of self-care. "Beauty is a feeling and a quiet confidence that comes from being perfectly aligned—or as close to perfect as possible—with your body-mind-spirit," she says. "Beautiful alignment is what creates and cultivates radiance."
#1 Stay Dialed In
What does this mean, exactly? Varga says staying dialed in with a consistent routine starts and ends with cleansing morning and night. (And this means using a proper cleanser, not just a splash of water.) This is critical for all types of skin, even those with sensitive complexions. It's easy to slack right now, given our odd schedules and waning routines. "Sometimes we get tired and we just want to curl up and go to bed," says Varga, who admits she'd skipped a cleansing or two recently. But when possible, stay consistent with cleansing, as well as "nourishing your skin afterwards with oils or moisturizers." She continues: "You want to use something that is going to be adequately nourishing and hydrating your skin." Varga also recommends exfoliating several times a week with "something that has a little bit of grit to it" and applying a favorite mask once a week.
#2 Nourish and Protect
Is it really essential to use all the products we normally do—even if we're staying indoors? Yes, says Varga. This goes for feeding the skin and protecting it from UVA and UVB rays, as well as the harmful blue light emitted from the screens of our computer and phones. "It is more important than ever, if we're hanging out in front of our computer, to be nourishing our skin with antioxidants and protecting it with sunscreen," she says. Opt for protection that is mineral-based—zinc or titanium—and not chemical. " Chemical filters are interfering with our bodies' hormones—and they're killing our coral reefs," says Varga. If you're concerned about getting adequate vitamin D, Varga says she loves to stand by her window in the morning while she's getting ready. "Before I put on any of my products, I let the sun hit my eyes [and] I let the sun hit my skin for about ten minutes," she says.
#3 Be Intuitive
We know that optimal nutrition is vital for keeping skin healthy. It's also important that we cater our nutrition according to individual needs—which is aligned with Ayurvedic principles. "It's not about doing the fad diet or going gluten free or keto, it's about what does your body's constitution actually want?" says Varga. It's ideal to gain the counsel of an expert, as Varga suggests, but if this isn't an option, lean into your intuition and pay attention to how certain foods feel for you. And choose options "with lots of fresh enzymes," she says. It's common to stock up on pantry goods right now, but so much of that is "not high vibratory foods," according to Varga. When it's possible and safe—given trips to the market are limited right now—incorporate fresh produce into your meals. "To get vibrant skin, you really want to make sure you're giving your body the enzymes that it needs in order for it to complete all of the biochemical pathways that it needs to do, including our detox pathways," says Varga.
#4 Filter and Hydrate—Plus, Follow This Brilliant Tip
That's right: Drink water throughout the day but make sure it's filtered. To kill the bacteria and viruses, city water is often full of antiviral and antimicrobial agents such as chlorine and fluoride, says Varga, who recommends investing in a good quality filter—one that can be installed in your sink—to help rid these additives. Adding lemon is great, as is sipping water that is room temperature or slightly warmed (which we're on board with at UMA), but Varga says to make sure you're warming up your water in a metal kettle and not plastic. Lastly, consider this tip: "Sometimes when we're dealing with stress, adding a little Himalayan rock salt to our water is really helpful to help to replenish your salt stores that get eaten up by your adrenals when we're under times of stress."
To learn more about Rachel Varga and her practice, visit: rachelvarga.ca.