In 2015, I interviewed 34 wellness experts for The Spa Dr. Podcast and 34 for the Glowing Skin Summit. What amazing people! I learned so much from all of them. As I reviewed the year in my mind, there were 7 takeaways I wanted to share with you. These have impacted me to make changes in my life or in my patients’ care, so I hope they will inspire you too.

  1. Consume more antioxidants and get skin checkups at least once per year.

On my podcast, Dr. Lise Alschuler and Dr. Nalini Chilcov shared their expertise in cancer prevention and the importance of consuming antioxidant-rich foods and supplements. This has inspired me to eat even more colorful fruits and veggies every day. And, in the Glowing Skin Summit, Integrative Dermatologist Dr. Michelle Jeffries shared that she recommends her patients come in once per year for skin exams. And, when someone has had skin cancer, she recommends they bump that up to every 3 to 6 months. So, in my own practice, I now recommend more frequent skin checks for my patients, especially since I live in Park City, Utah, which is considered high dessert.

  1. Our skin needs a mildly acidic environment.

Skincare expert Karen Sinclair Drake shared that our skin needs to keep a mildly acidic environment. She explained this is our first line of defense to the world and we need mild acidity on the surface of our skin to neutralize pathogens. But, in conventional personal care products, many ingredients require a product to be alkaline which are not good for the skin. She also explained how using skincare products with mild acidity helps reduce breakouts and signs of aging. We incorporated the mild acidity in my skincare line, which is one of the biggest reasons The Spa Dr.’s Daily Essentials are so effective.

  1. Beauty sleep is real.

When I interviewed sleep expert Dr. Michael Breus for the Glowing Skin Summit, he explained that beauty sleep occurs in stages 3 and 4 of sleep or what we call deep or delta sleep. He went on to say that during sleep, you go from wake to stage 1, stage 2 and then into stage 3 and 4, back to 2, and then in to REM. This is considered a sleep cycle, and it takes about 90 minutes and you have about 5 of those across the night. During stages 3 and 4, the largest release of growth hormone occurs. Growth hormone helps repair tissue from all the insults or injuries that might have occurred during the day. So it’s like going into the body shop at night and all of a sudden you come out and you’ve got a car that doesn’t have any dings on it, that doesn’t have any scratches on it, that looks significantly better. Also, when you sleep, you perspire, and much of this moisture goes back into your skin while you’re sleeping. Therefore, sleep is one of the best things for your skin because you’ve literally been moisturizing your skin naturally all evening long. I loved learning this from Dr. Breus and I’ve been sharing this with patients to help emphasize the importance of a good night’s sleep.

  1. Practice gratitude.

This is something I was already doing, and psychologist Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo reminded me of the importance during her interview for the Glowing Skin Summit. She explained the power of gratitude and that when we take thoughts from our minds and we put it on paper, that translation has a huge impact on us. She suggested making verbal or written gratitude part of your daily practice – whether it’s the first thing when you wake up or before you go to bed. And, she added that if you really let yourself feel that gratitude, then that can take you to a whole new level. So, I’m continuing to practicing daily gratitude and recommending it for my patients.

  1. Do inversions.

Fitness expert Kathy Smith calls it “faking a facelift” in her Glowing Skin Summit interview. She does this trick before going on camera or on stage. She explained that inversion is just getting upside down, getting your legs above your heart and maybe even above your head (if you’re in shape for that). A simple inversion practice is to sit at a wall, flip over, put your legs up on the wall, lie on the ground, put your arms out, close your eyes, have a three-minute relaxation, and listen to your favorite song. She said to just allow your body to relax, and you let all the blood flow back up and into your face. I’ve tried this a few times and love it!

  1. Manage stress (cortisol) for glowing skin.

We all know we should manage our stress, but Dr. Alan Christianson shared the mechanism by which our stress hormone cortisol impacts our skin. He explained the cycle of a morning burst of cortisol and the nighttime decrease of cortisol that allows for regeneration of healthy skin and connective tissues at night. He talked about our collagen tissues that support the skin and how highly tied collagen is to cortisol. And, he talked how high cortisol can increase inflammation, which worsens conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, and the healthier our adrenal rhythm is, the less apt we are to attack ourselves (autoimmune disease) and the more we can decrease inflammation. So, let’s practice stress management for glowing skin.

  1. Address genetic predispositions through healthy lifestyle.

I’m now testing my patients more often for genetic variations that can impact their skin and overall health. Dr. Izabella Wentz mentioned, during the Glowing Skin Summit, how she recommends doing a test for MTHFR gene and methylfolate supplements for people with the genetic variant. Dr. Ben Lynch covered the importance of our genes, in his podcast interview, and how we can change our genetic expression through healthy lifestyle and supplementation. This means that even if your family is predisposed to certain diseases or you have a chronic health problem already, you can make changes through nutrigenomics and methylation support.

I feel truly blessed to have the opportunity to regularly interview top experts from around the country. While I’ve mentioned a few of these experts above, I have enjoyed every single one of the 68 interviews from 2015 and have learned (or been reminded of) something important every time. I promise to bring to you many more amazing experts in 2016!