These days, not sleeping is a badge of honour. Executives boast of how they get by on three hours of sleep, and there are entire industries dedicated to keeping us all awake. Between smart phones, energy drinks and streaming entertainment, there is so much that entices us to skip out on sleep.
What does it mean to bio hack skin and body
Words Renchia Droganis | Photographs Adobe Stock
The notion of lifestyle changes might sound daunting in general, but when it comes to biohacking your body for better skin health, they actually fit in seamlessly with an intuitive and natural mindset.
From being mindful of ingredients in skincare products and learning how mainstream chemicals can make hormones go haywire, to cleansing and moisturising your skin properly, making sound dietary switches, adding a good dose of sunlight and opting for sensible supplements – these changes are easy to implement. Added to that, the balancing benefits of better choices in fragrances will introduce a divine olfactory dimension to your life.
Finally, celebrating downtime with rituals that allow your flow-state to flourish will connect and ground your lifestyle changes in a profoundly meaningful way…
Our range of life style products were designed with consciousness of how we can allow our body mind and heart to align.
It’s becoming more and more important to be mindful of the ingredients in the products we buy – whether it’s food items, detergents for our homes, or skincare products – as the chemicals found in these can wreak havoc on our health. And when it comes to your skin, this is especially true for the endocrine (hormonal) system.
As the largest organ, the skin works like a sponge. One of its functions is to help the body to detox by expelling daily toxins. This is why it’s so important not to add any more harmful substances by applying products that are filled with chemicals – as it directly affects this vital detoxing process.
For example, when a mainstream perfume is applied, the skin absorbs the chemicals in the perfume, which then find their way into bloodstream and cause a multitude of negative effects on the body.
How can you practically tweak your habits?
· Become more educated about the chemical ingredients in skincare products and be selective about your purchases.
· Understand the physiological impact of ingredients that can harm your body’s bio-system, and make educated choices based on this knowledge.
· Nourish yourself with product choices that allow your bio-system to function at its best.
· Don’t just blindly believe labels professing that a product is “all natural”. Check if it’s an authentic and nourishing brand, or just window dressing for marketing purposes.
Knowledge is power
Our modern world is awash with additives and chemicals and the products you use can literally either harm or heal you. Those that harm often contain endocrine-disrupting carcinogens, which cause major inflammation in the body. They can also cause cancer, or interfere with cancer treatments – so they not only trigger disease, but also hamper healing processes.
There are many red flags to look out for, including:
Soap-based foaming agents, such as SLS (sodium laureth sulfate) These agents dry and age the skin, and can also disrupt its precious pH balance. A healthy skin’s normal pH level is 4.5-5.5.3 – which is slightly acidic in order to fight off pathogens. Chemical foaming agents push these levels right up to 6, or even 7, weakening the skin’s immunity and making it less effective in warding off pathogens.
The negative domino effect continues when the skin then produces excess oil in an attempt to rebalance itself, which can then lead to problems like acne, oily skin, or dryness. A healthy skin’s pH balance is crucial for its inherent defense mechanisms: when it’s well balanced, the skin produces healthy fats that protect and heal it. But when it’s off-balance, its self-healing ability is impaired, which compromises the skin’s vital role as a protective barrier.
Parabens: These chemical preservatives are used to increase the lifespan of products and they go by a range of names – including methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben. Parabens interfere with the proper functioning and regulation of the endocrine glands, which ultimately disrupts the entire hormonal system’s equilibrium.
Phthalates: These so-called “plasticiser” chemicals increase plasticity, making plastics more flexible and harder to break. In cosmetics and skincare products, phthalates are used as dissolving agents to break down plastic ingredients or to bind colours and fragrances. They are highly toxic to the body.
How Xeno Estrogens can harm-
This one is so important that it gets its own heading. And rightly so. If there is one hormone that’s been getting a lot of attention lately, it’s estrogen. And experts agree – the key is moderation. While the appropriate amount ensures a healthy hormone system, excess estrogen unleashes a cascade of negative knock-on effects that can severely compromise your health.
Firstly, it has a so-called “feedback loop” with cortisol – and activates the production of this infamous stress hormone. Increased estrogen levels translate to elevated cortisol levels, which in turn can impair the cellular utilisation of glucose and speed up the ageing process.
Excess estrogen also inhibits proper thyroid function, which causes an increase in the production of prolactin – a “molting” hormone that can lead to impaired fat metabolism. In combination with excess estrogen and cortisol, it may cause hair loss.
These are just some examples of how unbalanced estrogen levels can negatively impact your wellbeing. It highlights the importance of keeping the integrity of the endocrine system intact by avoiding harmful chemicals.
So be mindful of neck creams especially where excess estrogen can penetrate the point of Thyroid activity with damaging outcomes/
Biohacking your skincare routine for the healthiest results is in essence a return to common sense and simplifying the process. Just like many mainstream modern products are laden with a multitude of chemical ingredients, the nurturing ritual is also often lost in a complicated process that offers little, if any, soothing.
Cleansing your face simply involves using warm water to wet the skin, applying a nurturing cleanser like Africology’s Purifying Cleansing Gel, and gently massaging it into the skin. This increases the blood flow, so that your skin can absorb the cleanser’s active ingredients better. Washcloths aggravate and stretch the skin, so be sure to avoid them. There are activating energy centres on your fingertips, so using them adds even more healing value to the cleansing process. Gentle tapping makes the skin come alive, increasing neuro-signalling and blood flow. Rinse with cold water.
When deep-cleansing is called for – especially after being exposed to environmental toxins, sweat and the sun – it’s best to do it in the evening, when the therapeutic effects of our Clay Masque can be harnessed to full effect. Clay is wonderfully healing and detoxifies the skin from a range of impurities. It’s also a potent circulation booster, which adds to the detoxification process, as well as the renewal and regeneration of skin cells.
Once it’s beautifully cleansed, it’s time to replenish the skin properly, before it reacts and starts to produce excess sebum. The optimum way to achieve a perfectly moisturised skin is to combine the nourishing effects of our Moisturiser with the hydrating benefits of one of our specialised Serums. Remember to also moisturise the skin around the eyes, upper eyelids, neck and behind your ears.
Beat it/eat it!
The skin is an organ, so apart from a sound skincare routine, it’s also affected by other physiological factors – such as the health of your internal organs, your metabolism and digestion, nutrition and even psychological stress.
Have a good look at your diet and be sure to avoid PUFAs (polyunsaturated fats) – which are chemically unstable fats or oils. They include liquid vegetable oils such as canola, soya, corn, safflower, sunflower, fish and flax oil, which all have a volatile structure that makes them highly reactive to oxygen, light and heat. This means that they oxidise (spoil or go rancid) quite easily, which in turn leads to free radicals running rampant. When it’s applied to the skin or consumed, PUFAs cause oxidative stress in the body and the free radicals can damage skin cells. It can also lead to glycation and the development of AGEs (advanced glycation end products), leading to wrinkles and the degeneration of collagen.
There are some wonderfully healthy alternative fats to add to your diet, and these will not only benefit your overall health, but give your skin a beautiful boost too. Saturated fats like coconut oil are highly stable, rarely go rancid and they’re very skin-friendly. Nourishing the thyroid and therefore the metabolism too, they also support the mitochondria in respiratory energy production and safeguard the skin from oxidative stress and inflammation. What’s more, coconut oil contains antimicrobial agents that protect the skin from the inflammatory effects of bacteria.
A great way to keep the skin radiant is to regularly do a liver detox (the rest of your body will thank you too!), and take probiotic supplements, which balance healthy bacteria in the gut. A healthy gut biome is paramount to ward off skin inflammation, which is associated with conditions ranging from acne to eczema.
Magnesium is another daily supplement with countless health benefits – especially for the skin. And when you consider that our modern diets seriously lack nutritional value due to the depleted quality of soil, even the most balanced diet can leave you in need of some supplements to ensure that your body gets all the vitamins and minerals it needs to thrive.
Magnesium is an absolute powerhouse of perks – from combating physical and mental fatigue to heightening focus, improving the quality of sleep, evening out blood pressure, maintaining strong bones, stabilising moods and managing inflammation.
Reap the rewards of this vital mineral by taking a daily magnesium supplement, and weave it into your skincare regime with a product that not only pampers but also protects and nourishes.
Africology’s Balancing Serum is bursting with vitamin B complex, which targets all kinds of skin irritations and troubles.
Africology’s Magnesium Milk Bath is perfect to usher in a good night’s rest and bid fatigue goodbye.
Africology’s Muscle Ease Rub – a great anti-inflammatory treatment that also restores the body’s natural energy levels.
Africology Bath Time Rituals entails a soothing combination of calming treatments that replenish and reawaken the senses.
A bright outlook on life Sunlight and red light boast incredibly healing properties for both the body and the skin. Sunlight is necessary for Vitamin D synthesis – which supports pivotal physiological systems such as proper thyroid function and an optimal calcium-to-phosphate balance.
If the thyroid is not working well, skin problems like dryness may crop up, and when phosphate levels are higher than caicium, parathyroid and prolactin functions increase – overloading cells with calcium and increasing nitric oxide. This triggers inflammation, which in turn causes skin damage.
While it’s necessary to protect the skin from UV-light, the most harmful exposure actually comes the damaging blue light emitted from the computers, phones and tablets we are using around the clock. This blue light inhibits respiratory enzymes and interferes with mitochondrial energy production. It’s even been documented that cells die in the presence of blue light.
So what is the knock-on effect on your skin? In a nutshell: without basic biological energy, skin cells are vulnerable to ageing and die. Optimal mitochondrial energy production is needed for proper cellular regeneration. Thankfully, red light and sunlight activate mitochondrial function, so short intervals of exposure to sunlight is a healthy, necessary and natural habit to incorporate into your lifestyle.
Wake up and smell the flowers
Did you know that long-term exposure to chemical perfumes can cause an olfactory imbalance and damage your body’s ability to derive happiness and joy from natural fragrances? Chemical scents that are constantly inhaled and on clothes, in diffusers or on the skin may cause long-term repercussions.
Strong perfumes full of chemicals can even damage the skin and lead to pigmentation. Worryingly, chemicals in perfumes may harm the brain’s neurotransmitters, cause anxiety and ultimately contribute to depression
– the exact opposite of the effects you’d expect from a beautiful fragrance!
Biohack your way back to natural blends of essential oils that bring about feelings of bliss and peace. Africology’s blends are distilled with the purest of oils and completely safe for extended use in diffusers and burners. Not only do they elevate the olfactory functions, but they support a balanced nervous system, which is so necessary for good mental health. Our signature smell is activated with the intention to heal, and to induce an authentic sense of safety and happiness.
Skincare that triggers happy zones can play a huge part in lifting your spirits daily. At Africology, smell is our guiding force to activate oxytocin in the brain, and we’ve experienced how it often triggers pleasant memories we can relate to. For example, our aromatherapy oils evoke powerful memories of soothing spa treatments, which become positive reference points in the psyche.
Since the skin is such a potent receptor for outside influences – whether it be nutrients, or toxins – we now know that it’s an incredibly powerful delivery system that can be used for optimum good, elevating and enhancing the body’s bio-functions in a profound way. A fascinating field that’s garnering more and more interest is the significant link between skincare and mental health.
Neurotransmitters play such an important part to signal information to the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, which are very susceptible to hormone-disrupting chemicals, such as the ones found in mainstream products.
For a tangible idea of how this can cause a severe energy interruption in the body: imagine for a moment that you are biting down on a piece of cooking foil. The sensation that arises is caused by the heavy metals in the foil – it’s warning signals that are being sent to your hypothalamus and pituitary gland alerting it to a disruption in the normal functioning of you body.
This kind of disruption severely affects our ability to live in the moment and be present in our emotional lives. It inhibits psychological wellbeing and this inability to dial into meaningful emotions leads to disconnect – and ultimately, to depression.
The good news is that active ingredients that are natural and nurturing have the opposite effect. They can be wonderful agents of wellbeing, and contribute to mental health and psychological resilience. Through this simple lifestyle switch – opting for nourishing ingredients – you are able to unlock your body’s vast potential for natural joy, youthfulness and vitality, as these active ingredients help activate the mitochondria and immune system, allowing it deliver the best possible results.
Flow not force
When your body, mind and soul is calmy aligned, you are able to stay focussed on the things that matter most. Setting the intention to facilitate and create this ultimate “flow-state”, Africology’s Chakra Candles ease and soothe, enabling you to find that place of stillness in yourself.
Reaching this optimal state of consciousness, which leads to feeling and performing at your best, opens up a sacred space where time slows down, you forget yourself, and balance is restored.
It’s called perfect alignment. It’s about performing at a higher level than ever before. It’s reaching a level where nothing can stop you. It’s flow..
“We all know the saying that we are what we eat, but that actually applies to us humans in a much broader sense too. Everything we put in our bodies – food, thoughts, physical movements – it all affects how our bodies behave. By biohacking yourself, you can actually transform your body to feel more energised and productive – you can become your best possible self. The key is to make small changes to your lifestyle, give your body time to adjust and see how you feel. Then stick with the things that work for you, and let go of the ones the ones that don’t.” – Renchia