Tune In: How An Internal Medicine Physician Approaches Skin Care
"The only way to truly achieve wellness is to approach health holistically," says board-certified internal medicine physician Zion Ko Lamm, M.D. "By focusing on the whole person, in all their dimensions whether that be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, we can better address their needs. And I truly believe that beauty can be a useful tool for medicine because it can address many of these dimensions of holistic wellness!"
On this episode of Clean Beauty School, I chat with Lamm about her fresh approach to skin care. She's recently become quite popular on her social channels for her skin care tips and product recommendations. Given her background as an internal medicine physician, she approaches skin health from an all-encompassing and preventive lens—so she looks to address things such as diet, sleep hygiene, stress, and more when she gives skin care advice. For example? "I utilize my skin care routine as a time for meditation. It has a profound effect on my mental and emotional wellness," she says.
The entire episode is filled with tips about how to approach your own routine. Here are three, but tune in to learn more.
Use your time in the shower wisely.
There are many ways to make your skin care routine more effective while being less work. "This isn't a daily staple, but it's a hack I've started doing recently, and I've found it to be a game changer for my dry skin: Hydrate your skin while you're still in the shower," she says, noting that she often brings a hydrating serum or oil into the shower with her. "Then after I wash my face, I put on that hydrating layer, especially if I'm going to be in the shower for a while to shave my legs, for example. Or you can use something like a sheet mask—the steam will make it feel amazing."
And while this trick may not magically turn back the clock overnight, it can certainly help keep your skin moisturized, soft, and plush post-shower. It can be particularly useful for those with sensitive or dry skin that reacts to hot water. (This is you if you experience flushing, itching, or inflamed skin post-shower.) Plus, "dry skin can cause premature skin aging and damage—it's really important that you keep your skin moisturized," she says.
Superfoods make great topicals.
The superfood to topical pipeline is very real. We've already seen it with several ingredients, like green tea, quinoa, and pomegranates. The buzzy one that she thinks will be on everyone's radar soon? Red ginseng.
"I just got back from Korea, and I forgot how big it is there. It's this incredible superfood that we most often associate with consuming it because it can support your immunity. But there's great research that shows it can help the skin when used topically too," she says, noting she's using the DONGINBI Red Ginseng Daily Defense Essence EX right now. "It's anti-inflammatory, acts as an antioxidant, and can even support your skin dealing with UV damage."
Nurture your microbiome.
"I'm really excited to see the concept of your skin microbiome come alive. Your skin is this ecosystem of billions of organisms, and we want them to live in this happy homeostasis because it will give you healthy skin," she says.
While she notes that we're still learning about the best ways to care for the microbiome, two easy ways to encourage balance are by paying attention to your product's pH and through biotic ingredients.
"You want to keep your skin pH at around 5.5, so it's important to look for products that are formulated to keep it there," she says. "You can also use products with prebiotics and postbiotics, which give your skin's ecosystem what it needs to be healthy."
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.