Spring and summer are in the air, and skin health is our hot topic. In the quest to understand how our body, mind and routines affect our health and appearance, we chatted to Chloe Manley. Trained nutritional therapist and skin expert, Chloe talks about her skincare routine, and how it’s more about the three pillars of diet, environment and mindset than products.
What drove you to set up your business?
I qualified in nutritional therapy in 2015, and I started studying because I wanted to work for an NGO. I’d spent years travelling the world, and I kept coming back, earning money and leaving again. So, I thought, I’ll just work for an NGO! It seemed like a good way in would be food, so I looked at nutrition degrees.
You could either do community nutrition which didn’t feel exciting, or nutritional therapy, which is a personalised approach to healthcare. I studied that and realised my body was mucked up. I had bad IBS without even realising.
My skin was ok when I started studying which is funny, but I got hit hard by post-pill acne when I came off it. After that, I studied yoga, worked in retreat centres for years, and my skin got worse during this time. That was hard because I was supposed to be a nutritionist and a yoga teacher but I realised the environment was not right for me.
The heat and the climate and getting sick meant my body was a mess. Eventually, I decided to come home and invest in myself, because the situation and the fact that I was always moving from place to place didn’t suit me. Instead of looking for short wins, I started to focus on playing the long game with my health.
How do diet and environment play a role in your skincare?
Initially, I specialised in gut health, mainly because I was scared to specialise in skin because I’d struggled with mine. But after I had my daughter, I started to specialise in skin. Even though I’d seen skin clients for years, I hadn’t put myself out there like that.
Thinking of the spring itself, it’s a great time for skin. We’ve just come out of the worst time, with the Christmas hangover of diet and environment But in the spring, you can get outdoors more, introducing fresh fruit and seedlings, sprouts and microgreens again. In the winter I tend to avoid a lot of raw foods because it doesn’t work well with your digestive system but your dietary choices can get a bit stagnant. But in the spring, you can reintroduce them.
Although you can pick things up like this in the winter in the supermarket, it’s not working in tune with our bodies. And if you think about how our grannies lived and ate, for example, they would have been a lot more in tune with the seasons and seasonal foods.
When I was studying nutrition, I started ordering these veggie boxes and the first ones I had were covered in mud and it was such a novelty. I just had beetroot and chard for months and I was so bored with it, but now I love it because that’s what we can grow in the UK.
How does mindset come into this?
Managing stresses is a big one. HPA dysfunction, which is when we’re too much in sympathetic overdrive is really common. Being aware of stresses is the other thing, because most of my clients say they’re not stressed, or they are, but they’re not sure what’s causing it.
It’s about being aware of that stress and knowing what to do with it. I’m all about giving my clients the tools to do that and finding a personalised plan. I’m a yoga teacher as well, so yoga, meditation and mindfulness are huge on my list, because it works, I love it and there’s loads of research to prove it works too.
With skin, it’s like the body is holding onto stuff and releasing that trauma or stresses going on in the body. With anything like this, you need to do it all the time. It’s like running a marathon. You have to work at it and train consistently, and it’s the same with your mind. It’s a muscle at the end of the day.
What have your studies taught you about skincare routines?
Acne is my area and I relate with my clients when they feel green beauty won’t even touch it. Now, I definitely would, but that’s with hindsight. I completely stripped back on my skincare recently, I was using so many different brands and products. Now I have stripped back my skin feels so much better for it.
Also doing what’s good for you is key, and not just following what an Influencer is doing. I spend a lot of time picking apart things like that with my clients. And people are more aware of things like the skin microbiome now which is great, but people are still using products that can damage your skin. Strong ingredients like salicylic acid, are amazing, but they’re a bit like antibiotics and it’s not encouraging your skin to work in its natural way. You get reliant on that.
If you have something like acne, you’re encouraged to use so many products and not allow your skin to breathe, but now I don’t even cleanse or wash my face in the morning. If I put on some makeup, I might use a serum. My skin now feels nice when I do cleanse it, rather than tight. You just get addicted to that feeling of your skin being tight but it feels nicer now.
How can we all simplify our beauty regime for the better?
Now I’ve found something that works I don’t feel so consumed with all my products. I kept all my disused products from last year to shock myself into not buying anymore. If you do that you start noticing the waste.
My advice to people it to not buy something until you need it and stop the late-night scrolling! You panic-buy when you have a spot or something, but you might need to look at your diet, lifestyle, stress, environment. Your skin is so much more than just the products you put on it.