Integrative Beauty: What Is It—and Why Should You Care?
You’ve likely heard about integrative medicine, an increasingly popular approach to healthcare that treats your mental, emotional and spiritual well-being—as well as your physical health. The guiding principle: All aspects of human existence are interconnected, and if we are “sick” in one component that can lead to becoming sick in other areas too.
Integrative Beauty is similarly multi-faceted. To maintain a clear, glowing complexion, it’s important to use good topical skincare products, but it’s not the only element that keeps you looking radiant. Diet, sleep, stress, illness, physical activity, even the health of your relationships can all positively and negatively impact the way your skin (and hair and nails) look.
“While dermatologists are recognized as authorities on skincare, plastic surgeons are trained to go beyond skin deep, with greater attention paid to what is going on internally with a patient,” says Ritu Chopra, M.D., a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon and Co-Founder of Solvasa. “In my own experience as a doctor, I have repeatedly seen how holistic wellness is an inextricable component of healthy skin. When a patient is well-rested or has eased up on sugar intake prior to surgery, the recovery and result are always better.”
Thus, the secret to enduring beauty (i.e. glowing, healthy skin), says Dr. Chopra, is a holistic, 360-degree approach. So, yes to sunscreen, moisturizer and washing off your makeup at day’s end. But, also yes to meditation, exercise, sleep and keeping up with friends. The essence of integrative beauty—and the key to aging with grace—is to take excellent care of both your inner and outer selves.
Integrative Beauty: a real-life example
Lori Bush, Co-Founder of Solvasa, has been a beauty executive and thought leader in skincare for more than two decades, serving as CEO of Rodan + Fields, president of Nu Skin, and a VP at Neutrogena. “I thought I had skincare all figured out. I knew what worked, what didn’t, and how to use it all to look ten years younger,” she recalls.
Then she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Suddenly Lori was grappling with surgery, major stress—and anti-cancer medication that was wreaking havoc on her skin and hair. “I was terrified of the impact on my sense of femininity, my sense of beauty. I worried this new drug would plummet me into old age,” she says. While Lori’s biggest concern was getting the cancer out of her body, the diagnosis made her start to think differently about her overall well-being. “I’d always valued maintaining a healthy, glowing radiance. But now it wasn’t as simple as using the right topical products. I needed to do more to feel and look my best,” she recalls.
Lori began to do a deep dive into therapies and strategies that might help mitigate the effects of the cancer, the medication, and her crushing stress levels. She met with a former head of integrative medicine at UCSF, who introduced Lori to a simple, but life-changing, principal: mindful breathing. “I’d never thought about my breath before,” says Lori. “But I realized I did hold my breath and took short, shallow inhalations when I was feeling anxious. So, I adopted the practice of slow, deep, mindful breathing, and it was amazingly effective at calming and re-centering me,” she says.
Lori also picked up a book on cellular health that highlighted the benefit of meditation, another practice she’d never tried. As she read, she learned that people who meditate have longer telomeres [chromosome tails] than those who don’t. “I’d studied telomeres during my career because they can serve as a marker, indicating healthy, youthful aging,” says Lori. Healthy cells have longer telomeres, an indicator of vitality. When Lori realized meditation might help her keep her telomeres longer, well longer, that was a big selling point.
Finally, Lori’s breast cancer surgeon, Dr. Kristi Funk, emphasized the importance of diet when battling a disease, and she inspired Lori to see food as medicine.
All of these strategies, Lori believes, factored heavily in the success of her surgery, her recovery—and how she looked through it all! “I sent one of my friends who is a well known dermatologist a photo from my hospital bed after surgery, and she told me I looked like I was at a spa,” laughs Lori.
“My own experience is why I believe Integrative Beauty works,” says Lori. “A stressful life event forced me to learn this lesson, but it’s applicable to everyone. There isn’t just one thing or one cream that will help you age with grace—and I mean truly thriving, not just surviving. You need a combination of strategies that work synergistically: good skincare, mindful breathing, meditation, proper nutrition, and a supportive community.”
Integrative beauty: Why it works
Lori’s story illustrates that an integrative approach to beauty can garner a positive, even dramatic result. But why does it work so well?
In a word: Anti-inflammation.
“If you look at most diseases—heart disease, arthritis, cancer—they begin with inflammation,” explains Dr. Chopra. “You can’t stop inflammation entirely because the very act of living is inherently an oxidative phenomenon. But you can temper the things that trigger and exacerbate inflammation, such as stress and chronically high cortisol levels.”
Inflammation isn’t, however, just a trigger for disease and illness. It has also been shown to accelerate aging—especially in the skin, the body’s biggest organ and the only one on the outside of the body. This relationship between inflammation and aging has even garnered its own name: inflammaging. Inflammation can affect the skin’s ability to create healthy new collagen and elastin (structural proteins that keep skin plump and firm), leading to slack, creased skin. It may also interfere with melanin regulation, causing the skin to become blotchy, dull or mottled with dark patches and spots, and impact skin’s ability to efficiently eliminate toxins through lymphatic channels. Thus, managing stress—and consequential inflammation—can slow the aging process and help you maintain healthier, more radiant skin.
Integrative beauty: What to expect
So, science says that nurturing your inner self helps lower cortisol levels and slow the aging process. But how exactly does that manifest itself? Like, how will you look—and feel?
“Good sleep, a balanced diet, meditation—almost anything you do to mitigate stress—will show up pretty quickly in the skin,” says Dr. Chopra. “Your complexion will be more radiant and you will have fewer breakouts. Even puffiness under the eyes will improve as there will be less stagnation of lymphatic fluids. The skin is a very telling indicator of what’s going on inside your body.”
As for how you’ll feel: “After a week or two of short daily acts of mindfulness, you should start to experience an increase in focus and clarity,” says Kristen Race, Ph.D., Head of Mindfulness for Solvasa. “You will also experience less distractibility, see an increase in patience, and generally just feel more positive. Most people report feeling more engaged and present in their relationships and in their work.”
Integrative Beauty: How to actually do it
“We all shower, bathe, wash our hair. Many of these mindfulness practices can be done while we do those things,” says Dr. Race. Practice deep breathing in the shower for two minutes.
Apply your Solvasa DeStressance® Serum at day’s end, then use the Solvasa vibrating Crystal Energy Wand to give yourself a two-minute facial massage and a brief brain break. “The Crystal Wand is not a conventional beauty tool, but it does promote beauty by supporting lymphatic drainage and muscle tension release in the face and neck. You’ll get the immediate benefit of a brighter, more refined look, but you are also helping your immune system work better,” says Christopher Caires, Ph.D.
Dr. Race says she also uses the wand all day long, grabbing it between Zoom meetings and running it across her forehead or wherever she feels tension. Lori takes breaks between meetings too, reaching for her Solvasa Breathe Mindful Oil. “I have one near my computer and one in my car. When I am distracted or feeling all over the place, I will do a few inhalations with the oil. It sends signals to my brain and starts to pull it back in, so I’m able to refocus and calm almost immediately,” she says.
Finally, Dr. Chopra encourages his patients to prioritize sleep, do five minutes of meditation five times a week, and use supplements to combat stress and prep for surgery. “I often recommend taking adaptogens, which have been shown to affect the stress response in the body,” he says. Solvasa’s Golden Moment turmeric elixir contains two powerful adaptogens: turmeric and ashwagandha.
Integrative beauty: How much you need to do to make a difference
“Like exercise, integrative beauty practices are cumulative. Every little bit counts,” says Dr. Race. “If you can aim for ten minutes daily—even if it’s in two-minute increments in the shower, between meetings, or while you wait for your Solvasa Golden Harmony Cleansing Mask to dry—that will make a big difference.”
The most important thing to focus on: consistency and regularity. “You will benefit more from doing two to five minutes each day Monday through Friday than doing something for twenty minutes once a week,” says Dr. Race.
Integrative beauty: Why you should try it
“Everyone could certainly adopt and benefit from integrative beauty,” says Dr. Race. “If 2020 has shown us anything, it’s that we need to take opportunities for self-care anyway we can. We have so many things in our lives right now triggering stress in our brains and bodies. If we are not intentional about countering that and building resilience to those stressors, they will get the best of us. It will start to impact your health, relationships, productivity. In many ways, we are on the verge of a mental health crisis. If we are not proactive, we will be in trouble.”
Bottom line: Why Solvasa?
Solvasa was conceived by Lori Bush and Dr. Chopra to make practicing integrative beauty more accessible. The goal: By providing effective, active skincare products, tools to facilitate daily mindful practices, products to provide healthy nutrition and break the cycle of stress eating, even a supportive community—all in one place—the tenets of Integrative Beauty don’t take much time and can often be incorporated into activities you’re already doing. “I told Dr. Chopra the world did not need another skincare line. What people could benefit from is a brand that helped them learn how to be holistic, that taught them how to treat their skin outside and inside. Solvasa’s goal is to bring the concept of integrative beauty to everyone,” says Lori.
For more information on Solvasa’s skincare products, tools, mindfulness practices, or to interact with the Solvasa community, visitsolvasabeauty.com.