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SHAPES: Skin Basics

Mar 21, 2018 | 0 comments


Your Skin is your largest organ, and so incredibly multi functional.  When I taught my students at the Aveda Institute, I used the acronym SHAPES to teach them to remember the functions of the skin:


Heating & Cooling (Temperature Regulation)





No one told me about that acronym, I discovered it myself when I was creating the lesson plan to teach skin’s main functions. I loved that so much. SHAPES. It fits, because the skin we are in creates the SHAPES of our whole bodies..covering every inch of us, wrapping around muscle tissue, connective tissue, subcutaneous tissue and our bones, it is fed nutrients and oxygen through our blood. Our skin can expand and contract, and it is holding us together. SHAPES. Our skin is doing all of these things, all of the time. 

For all of this work it takes to keep us in good SHAPES, our skin deserves our love, reverence and offerings of healing care in the form of cremes, serums and balms. 

I recommend a simple home care routine:

Every evening before bedtime, cleanse your skin with a cleanser you love. I can certainly recommend one for you if you like. 

If your skin is dry and you like the feel of a bit of protection left on the skin, choose a cream cleanser. If your skin is a bit oily, or you simply prefer a gel cleanser, choose a light gel cleanser with enzymes to offer a gentle exfoliation during cleansing.

Apply a small dab of cleanser to your wet fingertips. Massage in light, small circles all over forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, neck, decollete.

Remove with a warm, soft cloth. This helps ensure a complete removal of product, dirt, oil & sweat. These things build up on the skin as you move through your day. 

On clean skin, massage a bit of a hydrating serum (for dry skin) or a balancing serum (for more oil-rich skin).

If you feel you need or want more hydration, apply a night cream all over face, neck & chest. 

Your skin is thinnest on the neck and around eyes. This skin is thinner than a piece of paper, and will be among the first areas to show signs of growing older (and wiser!) 

There is nothing wrong with this. It’s just the way it is, and in order to protect that skin and keep it looking and feeling as healthy as possible, treat it with extra love and care. 

When you notice your skin changing in ways that include fine lines, wrinkles forming, even breakouts, add a good quality Retinol Creme (my favorite is Lira Clinical's Pro Retinol Creme) to your nighttime routine a few evening each week.

As we age, our skin cells take longer in the journey from the dermis to the surface. This can result in a dulling of the complexion. 

Retinol Creme is a booster that keeps the cellular turnover on track, helping the skin to look smoother and fresher. Retinol also helps to keep breakouts at bay.

Go to bed early. 

Sleep is our ultimate best rejuvenation mechanism. It resets our systems and makes us new for another day.

Deep, Restful, Healing, Beauty sleep is the integral piece to a good beauty & wellness routine.

In the morning, splash cool water on your face. Cleanse if you wish. Apply a Vitamin C serum – I having a dose of Vitamin C both topically and internally ~ I love a shot of OJ in the morning- it boosts immunity and wakes up the senses!

A little Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30, followed by a bit of BB creme if/where needed, and your skin will be glowing and ready for the day!

More on SHAPES:


Touch & feel, from our fingertips and through our hands 

Grounding us to the Earth, wrapping around our feet, the conduit between Earth and Us

Tingling with anticipation, sending shivers down our spine – that’s the electricity that our skin lets in. 

Heat up enough and we will sweat to cool down. 

The skin is the body’s thermostat. Getting Cold… shivering is triggered by the skin so the blood vessels contract to keep you as warm as possible.

Absorption:  It absorbs everything we put to it, to some extent…so all at once, it’s Absorbing and Protecting.

Protection – It’s our bodyguard. It’s our built-in raincoat. Housing our whole entire system.

[Skin is an elastic covering. It protects us against exposure to dangerous things in the environment such as bacteria. It also repels water, minimises water loss from the body and protects underlying structures such as blood vessels, nerves and organs.

When the skin is under attack — by the sun's UV rays, for instance — certain skin cells release CRH, the messenger that the brain puts in charge when stress shows up. Likewise, cortisol, which rushes out from the adrenal glands in a crisis, can also be produced in the skin by pigment cells and hair follicles.} excerpt from spinal

Excretion: The removal of material from a living thing. Sweat & Sebum (oil) are Excreted through the skin.

Secretion: the movement of material from one point to another. Enzymes & hormones are examples of things secreted within the skin.

Take a deep breath. Close your eyes. Remember all that your skin is doing. Show your skin Love.