We sat down with Clear Skin Victoria Laser & Wellness Group Founder and Skin health, laser & nutrition specialist Kristina Hewlett (KH). Clear Skin Victoria is one of the first integrative clinics for cosmetics, aesthetics and naturopathic medicine in Canada.
CMDL: Can you tell us what inspired you to start this, how you got here and the philosophy of the clinic? What should a patient expect at your clinic that sets it apart from others?
KH: I struggled with acne and eczema for most of my life. This led me to begin a career and a business in the cosmetics industry. Being prescribed antibiotics, Accutane, Cortisone and birth control to manage my skin, my issues always recurred and my health declined – nothing worked. I started researching the connection between stress, hormones, digestion, skin health and what was actually going on in my body. That was my “aha” moment – addressing skin problems starts internally, specifically in the gut, as well as how we manage our stress. I saw dramatic improvements in my skin and general health through dietary changes: supporting my adrenals, balancing my hormones and rebuilding my gut bacteria. At that stage I set out to create an integrated skin health and wellness business model including nutrition, meditation and naturopathic functional medicine.
Supporting the mind and body from the inside is also key in slowing down the aging process and maintaining truly healthy skin. Combined with cosmetic improvements, our clients benefit from improved self-confidence and well-being.
CMDL: How does nutrition and naturopathic medicine work in conjunction with your treatments?
KH: We are able to treat visible skin concerns through cutting edge medical procedures. Injection, laser, micro-needling and topical therapies are used to slow the aging process and heal the skin while using nutrition and naturopathic internal therapy to aid the process. When patients come to see us for a skin condition or to treat the visible signs of aging we always explore their lifestyle, stress management and dietary habits. We also look at what they are putting on their skin and educate them on healthy changes they can make. We view the combination of internal and external whole body care as the key to a lifetime of beauty and wellness.
CMDL: Your clinic uses natural and chemical-free products. Can you please tell us your decision to go in this direction vs traditional commercial products?
KH: Many skin products contain toxic and carcinogenic compounds that burden our detox systems and damage the gut. The liver is busy detoxing from substances we encounter daily via the environment, food chain, water system and body products. When this system gets overloaded we experience symptoms such as acne, rashes, headaches or frequent illnesses. Toxins damage the gut and cause inflammation, which can lead to many other health issues and worsen skin conditions. What you put on your skin to treat it can often be making it worse and have a negative impact on your health.
Because a product is natural does not mean it is going to benefit your skin. Quality source of ingredients and how a product is preserved or dispensed is very important in choosing the right skin care line. We are constantly researching new lines and powerful plant-based ingredients and offer a range of effective and healthy options.
CMDL: What do you like most about your job?
KH: There are so many aspects of wellness and beauty that I love. I love being surrounded by a team of health professionals that are constantly learning and growing in their fields. It allows us to share the most relevant information with each other and with our patients.
What inspires me the most is being able to experience the boost in self-confidence and well-being that comes from helping a patient with their skin concerns. For example, healing a patient’s cystic acne and scarring; softening the well earned lines and wrinkles of a busy mother that is finally caring for herself or sharing the tools to empower a young adult to make healthy lifestyle choices that will prevent potential health risks.
CMDL: What is the most important thing people should walk out of your clinic knowing or feeling?
KH: 1) Taking care of oneself isn’t about vanity; true beauty starts with a healthy mind, body and spirit.
2) What you put in your body makes a huge difference in how you look and feel. If people start looking at nutrient contents to make sure that what they consume is benefiting them, they will start healing. Sugar, alcohol, dairy, processed foods and medicated factory farm meats are not serving your health or skin.
3) To safely protect your skin from the damaging effects of sun exposure, a combination of mineral SPF applied every few hours is required. Covering up during peak hours along with topical and internal antioxidants are also necessary.
CMDL: Are there any new and exciting items at Clear Skin?
KH: Later this spring Dr. Katie Branter, ND and I will be launching our new company ResetWell. ResetWell will feature our collaborative clinical programs in an online format along with a fermented organic superfood powder and a probiotic skin care line. The superfood powder aids in digestion, liver function and skin health, while the protective skin care line aims to reset stressed skin.
ResetWell is designed to encourage people to make a commitment to their own health. Helping people focus on how they look and feel when they have removed toxins, an increase in nutrient absorption and being able to reset their system. We want to be able to further support and guide our patients through the process of making what can often be dramatic lifestyle and dietary changes, without leaving them overwhelmed. This is essentially the blueprint for healthy skin, vibrant energy and slowing down the aging process.