Great Skin—Inside and Out: A Protein-Packed Bowl
They all have different approaches, but the end goal is the same for goop editorial director Elise Loehnen, food editor Thea Baumann, and beauty director Jean Godfrey-June—at least in terms of the way they want their skin to look: healthy, glowy, happy. Using the optimum ingredients—in terms of their skin routines and in terms of the way they eat—makes a huge difference, whether it’s avocado on toast or natural sunflower oil in the formula of a favorite moisturizer. Here, in our three-part series, each reveals her skincare strategies, along with favorite recipes designed with healthy, glowy, ageless skin in mind. (See Jean’s here.)
Elise Loehnen, goop Editorial Director
I’ve been told that I have the skin of a baby. Sounds great, right? What this actually translates to is rosacea, a skin affliction that affects lots of people. (You know those bulbous red noses? That’s out-of-control rosacea.) I remember getting my first flare-up when I was a tween—just like now, I’m not entirely sure what caused it, just that I suddenly looked rashy as f*&k, and I’m embarrassed to say that I cried while my mom chauffered me to the dermatologist. The doctor gave me some Metrogel and sent me on my way, and I learned another hard truth about rosacea: The topical treatments that are usually prescribed don’t really work.
Over the years, I’ve developed an arsenal of tactics for keeping it under control, though a huge part of it is not letting it get out of control in the first place, as it seems to spread. The primary factors: Diet, the sun, and the right ratio of exfoliation to hydration.
“I remember getting my first rosacea flare-up when I was a tween—just like now, I’m not entirely sure what caused it, just that I suddenly looked rashy as f*&k, and I’m embarrassed to say that I cried while my mom chauffered me to the dermatologist.”
Every dermatologist I ever encountered over the years told me to apply aforementioned Metrogel and to avoid exfoliation, or anything else that might enrage my face: “Do not touch your face,” that directive that’s impossible to heed when you’re 14. But then I met New York City facialist Christine Chin, and she gave me the opposite advice. In fact, she microdermabrasioned my face with her diamond wand for what felt like two hours (they don’t call her Mean Christine for nothing). You know those moments mid-facial, when you’re thinking about how terrible and inflamed your face is going look during that walk of shame home? I was terrified. But my face was HAPPY—not grotesque. I did about five treatments with her and didn’t see my rosacea again for almost three years. This is what she taught me: My face is like a baby’s butt. It’s soft, and sensitive, and prone to suffocation as soon as it gets dry. She told me to run the back of my hand across my face and whip out an exfoliant—scrub or peel—as soon as I felt any “plaque” or dry skin underneath.
Once I’ve exfoliated my face, I use a hydrating toner (Christine likens skipping toner to brushing your teeth without toothpaste), followed by face oil, and then a really rich night cream—during the day. My skin just sucks it up. This is probably because I’m bad at drinking enough water during the day—I actually set calendar reminders not to behave like a camel. I once flew from Hong Kong to Los Angeles without going to the bathroom once. Do you know how terrible that is for you? This is why I need to wear night cream during the day.
I’ve also given up any illusions of ever having a tan. I wear sunscreen, and a hat. If I find myself outside unprotected, bam!, out comes my rosacea.
“This is probably because I’m bad at drinking enough water during the day—I actually set calendar reminders not to behave like a camel.”
So that leaves diet. During my first pregnancy, I gained 60 pounds. I’m such a control freak, I never thought that was possible until it happened to me (if pregnancy teaches you anything, it’s that you control nothing, which is great training for having a toddler). Like every woman I know, I still felt pretty terrible a good year after Max was born, and was holding onto a stubborn 10 pounds. Dr. Junger put me on his 21-day Clean program (I actually extended it to five weeks)—and it reset something in my system, hormonally. I felt reborn. The weight—and then some—fell off and stayed off. (I only wish I had Dr. Serrallach’s piece on Post-Natal Depletion before I spent 12 months feeling like crap and assuming it was normal.) One of the other side effects of doing the Clean program is that I learned I do not tolerate dairy—and more importantly, that my rosacea doesn’t care for it either.
This was a sad for me because dairy was pretty much the base on which I built all my meals. But my skin is so much better without it. And with this pregnancy (knock on wood), I don’t seem to be nearly as “inflamed.” This might also be because I don’t have as much time to watch Property Brothers and eat cheese. Replacing dairy is hard, because, well, it tastes awesome, but I find that if I layer in enough different flavors and textures, I don’t miss it. It also helps to eat foods where cheese need-not-apply, so I tend to eat a lot of Asian-inflected combinations.
“During my first pregnancy, I gained 60 pounds. I’m such a control freak, I never thought that was possible until it happened to me.”
I love this bowl: Both because I like mixing up all my food, and also because you can make everything ahead and then pack it for work. The salmon is kind of the superfood to trump all superfoods (it’s good for skin, and the brain, and basically any aspect of your body affected in any way by inflammation), as is the avocado (it’s full of nutrients and the healthy fat that actually helps keep you lean and healthy), the cucumber (it’s one of the highest water-content foods, making it especially good for dry me) and the sesame (they’re packed with calcium and magnesium, a potent anti-inflammatory called sesamol, healthy fats, and more). Meanwhile, the nori is a good source of iodine, which is critical for thyroid health and pregnancy. Plus, it’s kind of like a salt-lick (my favorite)—you can tone it down by using less soy—which is great at prompting me to drink more water. A win, all around.
- Our food editor, Thea, taught me this quick pickle approach—who knew you could do it so quickly?
- I go heavy on the soy dressing, but if you’re salt averse, go light.
Photographer: Angi Welsch
Hair & Makeup: Bethany Brill
Prop Stylist: Jaimi Holker / Aubri Balk Inc.
Special thanks to Mint Locations