I’m always on the search for the best skincare books as well as ones that focus on health and wellness. I am continually reading up on ways to enhance my journey of life. After all, I turn the big 5-0 later this year so I’m all too aware of how important good health is! In this post, I’m sharing some of my favorite books to help look and feel your best.
The Best Skincare Books That Focus on Skin, Health and Wellness
How To Be Well: The 6 Keys to a Happy and Healthy Life
By Frank Lipman, MD
My friend, fellow esthetician Joanna Vargas brought me to his book launch and I’m so glad she did. This unique handbook addresses six key areas of health and wellness along with practical everyday habits and practices to live your best, healthiest and happiest life. I’ve incorporated many of the recommended daily habits into my own life.
My favorite takeaways from the How To Be Well book:
- Sugar is public health enemy number one. According to Dr. Lipman, it alters your hormones so you don’t register hunger the way you normally should, making you eat more. Sugar is everywhere! Protein bars, orange juice, BBQ sauce (I live in Austin and I get loads of that!), low-fat fruit yogurt, granola and fruit smoothies. Also, sweet dessert wines have a high sugar content. My go-to wine is Riesling but since it’s so sugary, I’ve been sticking with my vodka water with lemon.
- Veggies should be around two-thirds of your daily diet. Eat the right foods and they will send instructions to your genes for good health. Eating the wrong foods, however, send messages for disease.
- Close your eyes, clean your brain. Sleep is not a luxury; it’s an absolutely essential act of daily maintenance, and it is your ally in keeping your brain sharp and beautiful. When your sleep goes awry, it’s a clue that something about your lifestyle is asking to be adjusted, or that something else in your body needs attention.
- Get strong. Cultivating strength with exercise is key to protecting yourself against injury, especially as you get older. (I do a CrossFit-style workout five days a week and we do a lot with weights so I will be sure to keep this up.)
- 5-10 minutes a day on a foam roller works wonders for your body. It allows you to massage your muscles and tendons that your hands can’t reach. It’s excellent for flexibility, circulation, and oxygen flow to the brain. I have three different ones and they hurt so good. I’m addicted.
- Smile. Laugh. Repeat. When you laugh, you’re stimulating the release of endorphins which are considered happy brain chemicals. They are considered mood-boosters but also give the immune system a welcome boost. Some of you may know if you follow my personal account on Instagram, I lost my husband a week ago due to a short six-month battle with cancer. As you can see from the #thisisflorian tribute I did for him, he was a very funny guy. For 22 years, there was so much laughter in my world and not much of that going on right now for me. Since laughter is the best medicine (and is a stress reliever), I must be extra conscious to look for opportunities to get that back in my life. I certainly know that Florian would want that for me.
- Get a pet. In study after study, Dr. Lipman says that pet owners are healthier and happier than non-pet owners. When my husband was first diagnosed with cancer, we got a French bulldog puppy (after all, Florian is French) to provide him a special kind of comfort that only a furry friend could provide. I can assure you, she had been the light on his darkest days and is helping to bring some light back to me. Watch this video of when we first got Gypsy. So adorable. It was a special moment.
The Beauty of Dirty Skin: The Surprising Science of Looking and Feeling Radiant from the Inside Out
By Whitney Bowe, MD
I love new discoveries in the world of science, and the power of the microbiome on skin health is a big one. This book is very interesting in regards to treating your skin from inside out with diet, supplements, and natural remedies to treat skin conditions like acne. I’ve always believed that just topically treating your skin with products will only get you so far and this book supports that theory—but in a new and different way.
My favorite takeaways from The Beauty of Dirty Skin book:
- Your gut as ground zero. Dr. Bowe says that her patients with the most severe skin conditions have gastrointestinal challenges as well. This is due to microbial inhabitants which can influence how your skin behaves as well as your ability to maintain an ideal weight.
- Microbiome: the collection of microorganisms living in a particular environment, such as a human body or body part (e.g., the intestine, skin, mouth, nose, genitalia, or urinary tract). Microbiomes exist throughout nature, from the ocean floor and forests to other animals.
- Probiotics work in your favor. Topical or oral, probiotics counter harmful bacteria (in the gut and on the skin) and support barrier function (both in the intestines and on the skin). They also contribute to the regulation of the immune system, both inside and out, by controlling stress and oxidation. (Along with an oral probiotic, these are the supplements that I personally recommend.)
Younger: The Breakthrough Anti-Aging Method For Radiant Skin
By Harold Lancer, MD
This book covers almost all aspects of aging and how to look “younger” but I particularly like how he dives into genetics. Ultimately, we all have a genetic predisposition that we must understand and accept. I also like how he discusses the skin-mind connection and how important it is to manage stress in the quest to have healthier-looking skin.
My favorite takeaways from the Younger book:
- Everything rusts with age. I’m no stranger to the free radical theory as I’ve talked about this on my blog for years but a good way to think about it like rust on an old car. Just like how oxygen (air) creates rust, this too changes our cells and contributes to premature aging. He drives home the point of how important it is to use topical antioxidants both morning and night and even uses the example of how an apple turns brown. You can see the apple experiment I did to show how oxidation occurs and what will help.
- Look at your family tree. Genetics play a big role in how your skin behaves, particularly as it relates to pigment (skin tones). How much pigment you have in your skin will contribute to how your skin will age. He touches on the famous Fitzpatrick Classification Skin Typing System, which was developed many years ago and was the inspiration for creating my nine skin type philosophy. Interested in learning more about genetics? These three genetic facial features will guarantee you’ll look younger longer.
- Food as hormone replacement therapy. Oh, those hormones. When estrogen levels begin to fall, aging happens. Natural plant estrogens can be helpful for any time of hormonal imbalance. He shares a list of the best estrogenic foods which include: alfalfa, apples, carrots, cherries, black-eyed peas (be sure to eat these on New Year’s Day for prosperity, it’s a Southern tradition), eggplant, licorice, papaya, rhubarb, sage, soybeans, and others. Read about hormones and how they affect your skin.
By Florence Barrett-Hill
I think it’s the best skincare book for getting nerdy about skin. It’s written for the esthetician and skincare professional to understand ingredients and their role in formulations and how it relates to specific skin conditions. As someone who has taken cosmetic chemistry classes at UCLA for many years, this book plays a great supporting role in my life-long quest for continuing education about science.
My favorite takeaways from Cosmetic Chemistry book:
- Not all alcohols are drying. There is a group of complex alcohols known as fatty alcohols, which exhibit emollient and occlusive properties. They allow a product to have a smooth velvety feel and help trap moisture into the skin. Common fatty alcohols include cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, isostearyl alcohol, and decyl alcohol.
- The oil migration test. Not all “oil-free” moisturizers for cosmetics are oil free. Some contain oil-like synthetics that could provoke acne-prone skin. The trick is to dab a small sample of a lotion onto a piece of good-quality stationery (imprinted 25% cotton fiber). Leave it for 24 hours, and then hold the paper up to daylight and check for oil rings. The extent of migration will correspond to the percent of oil in the cosmetic.
- Oil-based products should always go on after water-based products. You might be using your face oil all wrong.
Skin Care Practices and Clinical Protocols: A Professional’s Guide to Success in Any Environment
By Sallie Deitz, L.E.
I’ve used a lot of these teachings on my own clients when I give services such as peels, microcurrent and LED treatments.
My favorite takeaways from Skin Care Practices and Clinical Protocols book:
- Enzyme, chemical, and layering peels. This was my favorite chapter of the book as you can never have enough education on performing peels safely and correctly. It’s pretty technical so I won’t go into any details here on the blog.
So, there you have it. Five of the best skincare books that I enjoy reading.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”