Five elements in skincare

The skin faces different weather conditions here in the North, and each season has its own challenges for the skin. Our individual condition affects which season is the easiest and most difficult for us. It usually comes to mind that winter is the most challenging for all skins, but this is not always the case. Through Chinese medicine, we can understand the causes of skin and body difficulties at a particular time of year. 

In Chinese medicine, we talk about the five elements or the five phases. Water - Wood - Fire - Earth - Metal. They are described as either a circle with all five elements in a row or a circle of four elements with the fifth element in the middle. 

Today we talk about the element earth. The earth element is depicted in the perimeter of five elements after the fire and its season is late summer. Also, the time of the earth element is always at the change of seasons. And in my experience as a holistic skin therapist, it’s a challenging time with skin for most.

 

Skin and skincare as the seasons change

In Chinese medicine, dampness is associated with the earth element. And usually as the seasons change, there is a wet period. Increase in dampness can be reflected in the accumulation of waste products in the skin, i.e., impurities, swelling, and dullness. Pimples and rashes also become easier and do not heal as easily. Dampness is also associated with fluid buildup and is visible on the face as morning swelling. When the earth element is active, we may also find it easier to experience flaking on the skin. Abnormal scaling of the epidermis is also associated with dampness and the inability of regenerating skin cells to come off naturally. The skin is also irritated more easily during the earth element. 

It is good to take into account the body's sensitivity to dampness in the diet. Avoid cold and raw foods that increase dampness. Milk, sugar, and wheat are also fluid accumulators and can increase skin problems, especially as the seasons change. Accumulation of dampness in the body causes discomfort, exhaustion, “brain fog,” intestinal and skin symptoms. Prefer warm, cooked, and easily digestible food. You can take into account the season we are moving into in your diet and add flavors that support it. The taste of spring is sour, bitter in summer, sweet in late summer, pungent in autumn and salty in winter. 

The change of seasons is also internal. The basic idea of Chinese medicine involves Yin and Yang. Two opposing forces that, however, do not work against each other but live in a constant state of transformation. When Yin grows to the extreme, it transforms into Yang. And when Yang reaches its peak, it transforms into Yin. Continuous change and its acceptance are essential in life. Every change of season also reflects the inner change taking place in us and whether we stick to something just to let go and adapt to the rhythm of life.

During the earth element, it is good to pay special attention to the skin’s overall well-being. This can be a generally exhausting time so rest, calm exercise, and regular eating are especially important for the skin as well. It is also important to treat the skin gently, and not to overtreat that happens easily when the skin is more challenging than normal.

Acupuncture, guasha and facial cupping are especially effective as the seasons change. They bring a gentle detox effect to the face by improving blood, energy, and lymph circulation. At the same time, you can absorb facial oils more effectively on your skin.

Make sure that your skin gets enough hydration. Our Shen tonic elixir is excellent when seasons change, because it is formulated to gently boost circulation of qi and fluids on your face. Organic marshmallow root, poria mushroom, rose and apple water quickly hydrates all skin types. To lock this moisture in your skin, follow with Essence balm. It contains effective synergy of traditional Chinese herbs and Nordic wild plants to enhance your skins protective barrier.

Facial acupuncture quickly corrects skin imbalances and at the same time comprehensively checks your situation with the help of tongue and pulse diagnostics.