Celebrity Facialist Ada Ooi Shares 5 Traditional Chinese Medicine Skincare Tips
One of the fastest growing trends in beauty and wellness, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) emphasises a holistic way of looking at health, with a belief that the skin is a reflection of the internal well-being. While the concept of “beauty from within” has contributed to a growing interest in ingestible TCM, the benefits of TCM extends to skincare products, which incorporate natural TCM ingredients such as ginseng, goji berry, gingko and licorice root, combined with a lifestyle that balances the yin and yang of the body to maintain healthy-looking skin.
Pioneering the benefits of TCM in premium skincare, Ada Ooi is the founder of 001 Skincare London and one of the most sought after cosmetic acupuncturist and facialist to royalties and celebrities. A TCM practitioner who grew up in Hong Kong, Ada uses her award-winning line of skincare products combined with Chinese facial massage techniques such as gua sha to formulate a facial treatment that “treats skin from within” (available at The St. Regis Hong Kong).
Prior to her flight back to London where facial appointments with the whole cast of Downton Abbey and top models like Kate Moss awaited her, Ada revealed five tips on how to add the benefits of TCM to make your skin glow from the inside out.
1/5 Avoid cold foods and drinks
One of the keys in TCM is to keep our body “neutral”, which means maintaining a good balance of warm and cold in our eating habits. We call anything that’s cold to the body “evil cold” in Chinese, which causes a waste of Qi—a flow of energy which we are born with but to a certain limit—as our blood rushes to our organs to recover from the sudden drop of body temperature when we consume something cold.
Keeping your body nourished will keep your Qi intact, which helps slow down the ageing process. As we age, our Qi gets recovered slower which is reflected on the skin. For example, if our liver is constantly cold because we don’t have enough Qi, it cannot flush out toxins effectively and results in dull and pigmented skin.
2/5 Allow yourself to cry
Negative emotions and stress get accumulated in the liver. You can be sad and stressed, but try to find a way to let it out instead of storing those feelings. It seems many people have lost the ability to cry nowadays, but I believe crying is a cleansing ritual—everyone needs a ritual for them to let go of their negative emotions, whether it’s getting a haircut, a tattoo or anything that helps you release.
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3/5 Start your morning with warm food
Breakfast items like cereal and milk are cold in nature, which take up your Qi first thing in the morning. According to the Chinese horary clock, 7am to 9am is the time when your Qi is at the highest in your stomach, so warm meals that are high in nutrition such as oatmeal, congee, rice noodles and even a cup of tea or coffee will nourish your body first thing in the morning.
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4/5 Exercise moderately
I’ve observed this from my clients—they come to me after working out five times a week and their hands become cold from over-exercising.
Exercise is good, but it’s best to alternate high and low impact workouts to give your body enough time to rest. It’s not so much about the exercise itself but the recovery, which uses up your Qi to restore overworked muscles. Moderate exercise helps to maintain a balanced Qi which reduces visible signs of ageing.
5/5 Observe your body
Listen to your body when you try a new TCM supplement or skincare product, even if it claims to be completely natural. Every body type reacts differently to different foods, for example, green tea is a cold food that may clash with someone with a cold-natured body and cause digestive problems and bloating.
The best way to nourish your body is with real food. I am a fan of ginseng as it’s a neutral food that nourishes Qi. I boil it with water and drink it every day. I also drink pu’er tea, which contains a lot of antioxidants and is neutral in nature.
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