Our breathe gives us life, yet we are not taught how to breathe most effectively, especially in the west. Most people breathe through their mouths which is not ideal. It increases the risk of respiratory ailments, decreases oxygen intake & can even effect your face shape.
Breathing through your nose pressurises the air, allowing the lungs to absorb up to 20% more oxygen. A mucous membrane lines your nasal cavity & helps keep your nose moist. Little hairs inside your nasal cavity filter the air you breathe & block dirt & dust from getting into your lungs.
When you breathe from your mouth, the air is moistened, but not filtered. During nasal breathing, your nose releases nitric oxide (NO). NO is a vasodilator, which means it helps to widen blood vessels. This can help improve oxygen circulation in your body.
TIP: Place one hand on your chest & the other on your stomach & breathe. If your chest is moving more you are likely mouth breathing. If your stomach expands you are likely breathing correctly through your nose.
TIP: Take slow, deep breaths through the nose in times of stress. This calms our parasympathetic nervous system.
TIP: Add meditation, yoga or breathwork in to your lifestyle to develop a greater connection with yourself & your breath.
Alcohol inflames the body, toxifies the liver & dehydrates the skin. Since a lot of the body's water is held in the skin, alcohol can lead to dryer skin. However, life is for living so it is about balance.
TIP: Pay attention to your skin & energy levels during & in the days after drinking. For some it has a more negative effect than others, particularly if you have a damaged gut. What you drink, the quality, quantity & frequency of it is also important.
TIP: Alcohol is not the only social lubricant & you don't need it to have fun. A big pot of tea, fresh blended juices & herbal drinks can add variety in a social setting. Matcha, raw cacao, ashwaganda, ginseng, rosehip teas & spiced chai are some of our favourite teas. They are energising, unique & a great way to share culture.
TIP: Drink a glass of water in between drinks to help with hydration.
TIP: If your skin & immune system are still highly problematic, avoid liqueurs, port, run & wine which are very high in natural chemicals. Gin, whisky & vodka are generally safer choices followed by beer & cider. Careful with wheat beer if you have a gluten sensitivity.
TIP: Cut out alcohol completely in Phase 1 of The HAD Diet to kick start your internal recovery. Once your body has strengthened & your skin is better you can have it in moderation occasionally.
Prioritise your Passions.
Make time for the things that energise you & help you develop as a person. Often times, we allow our passions & hobbies to take a back seat due to the pressures of work & life. It is actually good for brain health to engage in a variety of stimulating activities.
As adults we are often not encouraged to explore our creativity. Children are innately full of wonder, joy & curiosity.
They play, build & imagine. Bring back that childlike joy for life.
Prioritise making time for your passions & don't be held back by what others think. Maybe it’s taking a pottery class, drawing again, joining a choir, starting that business you’ve always wanted to, writing a book, attending a comedy club, learning an instrument, attending the new Van Gogh exhibit, picking up photography or staring through a telescope at the night sky.
TIP: Think back to your childhood. What were you like? Bring more of that back.
TIP: Look at what you effortlessly spend time on & reach a flow state in. What do you read about, watch, listen to or do?
TIP: Pay attention to your energy levels. Does something energise or drain you. What makes you feel alive?
TIP: Eventbrite is an incredible way to discover new activities, events, talks, experiences & hobbies. They have both online & in person events & you can filter by day, category or theme. Everything from art openings to physics talks to group exercise. It is a ticketing platform used by most small businesses who run events.
Balance your stress
Stress is usually a reaction to mental or emotional pressure. It's often related to feeling like you're losing control over something, but sometimes
there's no obvious cause. When you're feeling anxious or scared, your body
releases stress hormones such as adrenaline & cortisol.
Stress exacerbates skin problems as it increases inflammation & impairs the immune system. Forms of stress include physical, mental, emotional & social stress. Occasional stress can help us make important changes, difficult decisions & perform.
However, chronic stress is a signal of imbalance & need for change. When we are stressed, our immune system is supressed effecting healing. Our energy levels are depleted & our amygdala is engaged preventing higher level thinking.
TIP: Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings & actions over time. Keeping a daily journal helps to understand yourself & stressors.
TIP: Look at what stresses you & whether it is best to ignore it, change your perspective on it or cut it out completely.
TIP: Invest in the activities, experiences & people that energise you. Pay close attention to how you feel, mentally, physically & energetically to get an indication of what works best for you.
TIP: Develop a meditation practice. This allows you to have a greater understanding of yourself and how you perceive and react to the world. It allows you to take a different perspective & engage higher level thinking.
Exercise with Joy.
Exercise increases blood flow, nourishes skin cells, helps carry away waste products & detoxifies the body. It also decreases stress, improves circulation & your levels of serotonin & dopamine rise making you feel great.
TIP: Find an activity that you enjoy & integrate it with your lifestyle instead of constantly forcing yourself to do something you don't want to. Maybe it's yoga, tai chi, hiking, swimming at the beach or walking barefoot in nature.
TIP: Wash off skincare products before exercising
especially on the face & hands.
TIP: When you exercise you do
heat up & sweat which can aggravate inflammation, especially if you have a
lot of broken/exposed skin. The trick is to engage in controlled exercise for short amounts of time. Go for a quick 20-30 minute run or exercise session a few times a week before building it up then shower.
TIP: Be careful with surface sprays on equipment, wipe it down with plain water before using it and layer with a
towel to avoid contact.
TIP: Use your own towel on your body instead of the gym towels which often have a build-up of detergents. Use the gym towels for your hair.
TIP: Take a cool shower immediately after to remove any excess sweat & irritants.
If you don’t have a shower available at least wash your face, hands & the crevices of your body (inner arm, armpits & behind the knees) immediately after exercise & pat dry with paper towel.
TIP: Be careful at chlorinated pools as they can be irritating & drying. Apply a thicker layer of moisturiser as a barrier if you must swim in chlorine or preferably swim in sea water. Use the steam room or sauna after to sweat out any absorbed chlorine & shower.
The body and skin is over 60% water, the brain & heart are composed of 73% water & the lungs are about 83% water. Getting the right quantity & quality of water is crucial for health as every cell, tissue & organ in your body needs water to work properly.
Depending on where you are from, the quality of your drinking water can vary considerably. Some countries still fluoridate their water, although many have stopped or removed it. Older pipes, filtration quality & chemical contamination can also effect water quality.
TIP: The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men & 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women.
TIP: Teas & vegetable juices are a great way to increase water consumption. Keeping
bottles of water & a pitcher ready in the fridge makes it easier to stay hydrated.
TIP: Install a reverse osmosis water filter as this will remove over 99% of other contaminants including lead, copper, mercury, arsenic, fluoride, glyphosate, chlorine & BPA's. If you can not, you can get a Brita style XL water filter tank that sits in the fridge and has a dispensing tap. However, ideally a reverse osmosis filter should be used.
TIP: Drink from glass/metal bottles to reduce exposure to hormone disrupting chemicals that can leach from plastics. Drink from glass, ceramic, stainless steel or porcelain, especially with hot drinks.
Ease off Smoking.
Smoking is one of the worst things you can do to your skin & general health. Cigarettes contain thousands of chemicals & toxins which thin the skin, deplete collagen levels & skin elasticity & reduces oxygen to the tissues. One inhalation of cigarette smoke produces more than a trillion free radicals in your lungs.
TIP: If you must smoke, it is better to vape as it causes less lung damage. However, due to the ease of consumption & nicotine levels, it is still highly addictive.
TIP: If you must smoke, pipe tobacco has less chemical additives. There are also herbal & plant based cigarettes made from mugwort for example which are healthier.
TIP: In countries where cannabis is legal, consider using edibles instead to minimise the lung damage from smoking. There is CBD oil & various forms of edible THC including in gummies & brownies.
Get Regular Vitamin D.
Regular controlled exposure to the sun is beneficial for skin problems as it helps to moderate the immune cells in the skin as well as increase the production of Vitamin D.
Exposure to the ultraviolet-B radiation in the sun’s rays causes a person’s skin to create Vitamin D which plays an important role in bone health. It also improves your mood as it releases serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood & helping a person feel calm & focused.
20-40% of the world's population is deficient in Vitamin D, particularly during the winter months. Your Vitamin D needs are also effected by your skin type, lifestyle & diet.
TIP: 10 to 15 minutes of casual sun exposure of hands, face & arms two to three times a week during the summer months is sufficient to keep your vitamin D levels high.
TIP: Ideally, we should cycle our days to match the solar rhythm for optimal circadian rhythm & sleep. Wavelengths at sunrise & sunset have the biggest impact to brain centres that regulate our circadian clock & our mood & alertness.
TIP: Take a Vitamin D supplement to match your needs or eat foods high in it especially during the winter.
Optimise Your Environment.
Make your home an energising, restorative place that is a reflection of yourself & remove common environmental irritants. The main irritants are dust (especially old clothing/carpets), grass, pollen, pets (especially cats), fragrances, air fresheners, deodorants, nickel, pesticides, pollution, laundry detergents, surface & floor sprays, soaps & shampoos.
TIP: Add personal touches, plants, photos, books & a variety of colours & materials. Ensure there is good air & light flow. Use Feng Shui principles to optimise the layout & allow greater energy flow.
TIP: Keep track of when & where you are getting itching including any products you have used or touched.
TIP: Choose wood, vinyl & tiles over carpet which holds on to irritants more easily. Use rugs made from organic all natural materials like jute. Use a vacuum with a HEPA air filter.
TIP: If possible, live away from major roads as the air pollution & particulate matter is not healthy. You may notice a fine layer of black particulate matter buildup on your balcony if living near a road. Having a balcony with plenty of natural light is ideal for health. Water & nature views are also calming.
Optimise your Sleep.
Sleep is critical for health, well being and performance. Poor sleep disrupts mood, attention and thinking. Insufficient sleep can even affect the microbiota in your gut.
The National Sleep Foundation convened an 18-member multidisciplinary panel. They agreed that, for healthy individuals with normal sleep, the appropriate sleep duration for newborns is between 14-17
hours, infants 12-15 hours, toddlers 11-14 hours, pre-schoolers 10-13 hours and
school-aged children 9-11 hours. For teenagers, 8-10 hours, 7-9 hours for young
adults and adults and 7-8 hours of sleep for older adults.
In the past, our circadian rhythms timed predictably to the solar light dark cycles. Since the adoption of electric light, however, exposure to night time lighting has blurred the boundaries of day and night, making it more difficult for our body to synchronize biological processes. Many systems are under circadian control, including sleep–wake behaviour, hormone secretion, cellular function and gene expression.
TIP: Get at least 30 minutes of direct light exposure in the morning, within an hour of waking. Keep a regular schedule, with a consistent wake time and morning routine. Stretching and going for a quick walk is a great way to balance your circadian rhythms. Watching sunrise & sunset is also useful.
TIP: It can take up to 10 hours to completely clear caffeine from your bloodstream. Keep coffee for the morning.
TIP: Nicotine is a stimulant that directly interacts with the neurotransmitters that control the brain's signals for sleep. It also disrupts the natural circadian rhythm and sleep quality. Two hours after consuming nicotine, the body will have removed around half of the nicotine. Limit smoking, especially 3-5 hours before sleeping.
TIP: Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular
physical activity can promote better sleep. Avoid being active too close to
TIP: Allow your skin to be completely dry from showering before sleeping to avoid irritation. Use minimal moisturiser before sleeping.
TIP: Use 100% cotton bedding sheets & wash it above 60 °C every 1-2 weeks to kill the dust mites & dead skin. Place a sheet as a layer between you & your blanket so you can wash it more regularly without needing to change the blanket cover as often.
TIP: If you are still in a highly flaking stage of recovery, you can add a loosely woven cotton sheet on top of your mattress protector. This allows the dead skin to fall through the sheet while you are sleeping and not create further irritation. Shake off any dead skin in the morning and sun dry the sheet regularly.
TIP: Place your bed head against a solid back wall which creates a protected, grounded feeling. Your bed should be in a ‘command position’ as they call it in Feng Shui with a view of the door, yet not directly
in line with it to create psychological safety. Position your bed to have a balance
of space on both sides of the bed to create greater air flow and energetic balance.
TIP: Ensure your blinds block out all light or use an eye mask.
TIP: Shake off the dead skin every day & leave the bedding to air in the sun if possible.
TIP: Overheating during sleep is common especially in the heat prone areas of the body. Sleep naked or with loose cotton clothing.
TIP: Put some relaxing music, a podcast or guided meditation on before sleeping to calm the mind. 528Hz & 432Hz sounds are extremely relaxing or a sound bath is also great.
TIP: Turn off your router at night & place all devices on airplane mode, away from your head, for peace of mind & a break from EMF exposure. Reduce the amount of screen exposure for a few hours before sleep. When using a device at night, use a blue light filter.
TIP: Use a high quality mattress & contoured memory foam pillow.
TIP: Ensure there is adequate air flow or ventilation to maintain the right sleeping temperature. The best bedroom temperature for sleep is approximately 18.3 °C. This may vary by a few degrees from person to person.
Clothing is important for your skin health as it is in direct contact with your skin, effects your mood & helps regulate temperature. Wearing the wrong type can lead to heat rash or contact irritation.
TIP: Wear 100% cotton, flax, hemp, bamboo or linen clothing which regulates temperature well, doesn't attract much dust, is sustainable & much healthier. Buy organic if possible.
TIP: Avoid irritating clothing made of scratchy, synthetic or dust prone materials such as wool, velvet or polyester. Buy high quality clothing rather than fast fashion as it is more sustainable & holds its shape longer. Layer clothes to allow for heat control.
TIP: Choose light coloured clothing in hot weather as it reflects light. Dark-coloured clothing absorbs it.
TIP: Keep your clothing dust, irritant, grass & sweat free. If drying outside, do not do so when grass cutting is happening. Store them in a closed closet or cover your clothes rack so they don’t collect dust.
TIP: Only wear gym clothing once & other clothing a few times before washing them to minimise irritant & sweat build up.
TIP: Wash any new, vintage & old clothing before wearing it. Also be careful when wearing clothing that you have not worn for a while as they often contain a lot of dust so wash those items. If this is not possible, layer a singlet or inner garment between your clothes.
Showering helps remove dust & pollutants & is psychologically refreshing. However extra steps must be taken with problem skin. Despite conventional advice, it is best to minimise water contact & keep showers short & cool. This prevents the pH from becoming too alkaline & a washout of NMF (Natural moisturising factor) & skin lipids.
TIP: Have quick, luke warm showers no longer than five minutes. End it cold to stimulate blood flow & close the pores. If you can't bear your whole body, just place your head forward, then your arms & legs. Baths should be kept under 25 minutes.
TIP: Pat dry instead of rubbing & shower 1-2 times a day.
TIP: When shampooing, lean your head forward to avoid it covering your body. Only shampoo 1-2 times a week. Minimise soap use.
TIP: Use a separate towel for your body & hair. If you are itchy after showering it is likely you are irritated by a personal care product, the laundry detergent on the towel or the water is too hot & drying your skin.
Fix your Laundry.
One of the most critical factors to avoid chemical contact irritation is to stop using laundry powders & bleaches. They cling to fabric, accumulate over time & are very irritating to the skin.
TIP: Wash your clothes with soap berries or a gentle laundry liquid. Wash them above 60°C which kills dust mites. Avoid bleaches, fabric softeners & commercial laundry detergents which tend to be highly irritating & build up on the fabric.
TIP: Change the lint filter every time before using a dryer & wipe down the inside to remove excess dust.
TIP: Wash your towels, clothes & bedding every 1-2 weeks to remove excess dust.
TIP: Do not connect the washing machine to recycled or rain water, this can be very irritating.