We’re incredibly proud of NAA members and the unique ways that they apply Nutritional Aesthetics® to their personal and professional lives. It’s our goal to support them and share their wisdom by highlighting their stories with you in a periodic ‘Member on a Mission’ feature. One NAA member who has been on a long-time mission to nourish healthy skin is Laurie Neronha, an herbalist, licensed aesthetician, and founder of Viriditas Beautiful Skin Therapies in Providence, RI.
A note from Laurie:
“Even as a child, I used to talk to the plants. I started actively studying herbal medicine in my teens, and always wanted to do something that would let me incorporate that knowledge. On a fortuitous trip to a used book store on my honeymoon in 1996, I found a book on aromatherapy. There was a whole chapter about using essential oils and herbs as a professional aesthetician. “That’s a real thing?!” I thought at the time. “I could actually do that and get paid for it?” Two months later I was enrolled full time in aesthetics school. Since then I have finished multiple apprenticeships and classes in women’s spirituality, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, advanced skincare—and the list goes on. When you find your passion, there is no stopping!
Today I am an herbalist, licensed aesthetician, regional trainer for Oncology Spa Solutions, and acne specialist specializing in graceful aging and skin wellness. Working full time since graduating in 1997, I opened Viriditas Beautiful Skin Therapies in 2007, and now have 4 employees.” -Laurie Neronha
What excites you the most about the Nutritional Aesthetics® Alliance?
When I first opened my private practice, my tagline was “where a facial is just the beginning.” Nine years later, that statement is more true than ever. The difference is, now I am not alone! When I received my aesthetics license in 1997, I would try to educate clients on the connection between their diet, stress, mind, and skin, but people looked at me like I had two heads! “Just tell me what cream to use,” was the standard response. I am so happy to have found my tribe in the NAA!
How do you apply Nutritional Aesthetics® principles to your work?
As an herbalist, I was trained to look for subtle indicators of imbalance via a client’s tone of voice, breathing, body language, and most importantly: their skin. Studying to become aesthetician, it was obvious that the same principles applied. Giving a client a great moisturizer for their skin issue addresses the symptom, but not the root cause.
I always ask these questions:
“Is she eating enough healthy fats?” Maybe add some avocado, walnuts, or chia seeds.
“Is she digesting and absorbing them properly?” Look at cutting back on common allergen foods like gluten, dairy, soy, corn and strengthening the gut barrier.
“Are her stress levels making their way to her eyebrows, giving her ‘elevens’ lines?” Maybe some yogic breathing, aromatherapy or meditation to better handle life’s challenges. Motherwort or kava kava tinctures can also be helpful to reduce stress.
“Does her inflamed acne reflect poor elimination and a compromised gut microbiome?” Some probiotics, dandelion and cut the dairy and carbs please!
“Plagued by dark under eye circles?” How is your sleep? Any issues with kidney or bladder infections?
“How about those puffy eyes and thinning eyebrows?” It may be time to get your thyroid checked, and let’s talk about the joys of lymphatic drainage.
For optimal skin health, I wish people would do more of ___________________, and less of ___________________.”
For optimal skin health, I wish people would do more smiling, hugging, and eating real food. Love, gratitude, joy and real nutrition make you glow.I wish people would stop abusing their skin. The majority of current “anti-aging” approaches focus on creating an injury in the skin, to stimulate the wound healing process. It can be very effective in the short term, but for long term benefits there needs to be a greater focus on nourishing (both ourselves and our skin); not just beating ourselves up. We do enough of that already.
We want to hear from you!
We applaud Laurie’s 19-year mission to take into account the many different inner and outer variables that influence skin health. What aspect of your life has made the biggest impact on your own skin health?