The professional skin care industry is often navigated by buzzwords or trendy treatment modalities. Over the past few decades, we have seen a movement away from procedures and ingredients that may be effective in the short term but have long term consequences. As such, we are now leaning towards terms, tools and protocols that were once thought of as “fluff” or “natural” but now are showing promising efficacy.
This is not unique to esthetics but is also happening in a widely sweeping cultural shift. Many are hesitant to agree to freely written prescriptions intended only to relieve symptoms and alternatively seek out holistic approaches in an effort to find root causes. Acupuncture, meditation and breathing techniques are often first courses of action for stress management, rather than just prescribed anti-anxiety or antidepressants.
Once caught in a go-go, rush-rush world, we are now giving ourselves permission, or even requiring downtime to re-energize and the concept of self-care is moving from a luxury mindset to a survival skill. As a society, we have swapped fat-free diet ideals and welcomed back avocados, embraced kale, love Brussel sprouts and now have plant-based burgers.
Culturally, we are on a mission to attain a complete, fulfilled and balanced lifestyle. Many industries are moving with this demand and thus, introducing new ingredients, products and philosophies to support this change. If you haven’t yet, you will without a doubt, hear about adaptogens in personal use products making their way to the mainstream market.
Before we dive into adaptogens, we must first understand the body’s function of desired balance. Biology 101 teaches us that homeostasis is a state the body is constantly adjusting for, balancing systems and processes in effort to achieve this. The body is an intricate and incredible masterpiece machine of bone, ligaments, muscles, veins and tissues. Every square inch is made up of tiny, itty-bitty cell components within many systems that work around the clock. As with any machine that is constantly running, there is opportunity for miscommunication, defect or fatigue and the result is often imbalance.
Behaviors, choices, and even the environment can short circuit entire systems and optimal flow of energy. A decrease or change in cellular energy can equal fatigue. Fatigue is a warning sign that eventually turns into a dis-order and this dis-order then turns into dis-ease. For this, it is necessary to introduce effective supplemental support to repair and restore function and allow our body’s systems to adapt to circumstances. Adaptogens are one component to help our body in its constant quest for balance and order.
Adaptogens have been used for centuries, before modern science could provide insight into how and why they work. But with the shift in consumer consciousness, they are re-emerging as a wellness “must-have” ingredient. Adaptogens are a distinct group of botanical characters that are named for their unique ability to “adapt” their functions based on the specific needs of the human body. They can suppress or stimulate certain functions that are under or overachieving. Lira has utilized the power of adaptogens from inception, but you may notice an increase in adaptogen supplements, tinctures, powders and (you guessed it) skincare emerging in the market today.
With the growing popularity of CBD, hemp is another player that has received a lot of attention lately. Though once clouded in stigma and misunderstanding, hemp cannabis is quickly becoming widely acceptable for many uses. In fact, one of the most effective adaptogens is hemp. Hemp contains several adaptation inducing components, from hundreds of cannabinoids (CBD being one of them) to terpenes and many other botanical benefits. A super-power of hemp constitutions is their ability to directly and indirectly communicate with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which primarily functions to create homeostasis or balance. We will elaborate on the ECS in a future “Hemp Hemp Hooray” series release, but it is important to understand that the ECS communicates with EVERY system in the body, including the Integumentary System.
Some of the messages the ECS sends to the skin includes sebocyte differentiation (which aids in balancing too little or too much sebaceous activity), cell proliferation (which aids in balancing cell turnover) and melanogenesis (which balances melanin production).
Mastiha boasts many skin benefits and is loaded with adaptogenic properties. This ancient secret ingredient is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, has skin brightening properties and helps soothe imbalanced skin.
Lira Clinical weaves adaptogens throughout the entire breadth of product offerings, in every product line and with deliberate intention for effective function; Bearberry for brightening and tightening, Ginger for calming and soothing, Fenugreek for healing and repair, Gooseberry for balancing uneven melanin production, Tumeric for healing, Awapuhi for nourishing, and White Mulberry for replenishing, to name a few.
The Body thrives in order and wants to be in balance. As professionals, we understand holistic body function and its effects on skin health. A hormonal imbalance can cause acne and pigment. Stress increases aging. Food choices and activities provide the opportunity for many forms of acne, hyper-pigmentation and can influence skin health.
Skin system imbalance can trigger changes in hydration and moisture levels, oil production, melanin production and even skin cell turnover rates. Skincare that utilizes adaptogenic ingredients provides effective protocols and homecare to counteract topical concerns, while still operating within our scope of practice. We use skincare products, not just because it is our business, or as part of our routine, but because great skincare supplements the body in achieving histological balance and optimal function. The use of adaptogens and adaptogenic ingredients in thoughtfully created formulas such as Lira Clinical’s, is truly evident of science discovering nature’s secrets.
Watch our video where our education specialist Ella Cress talks about Adaptogens: