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Angie Parker

Makeup artist Angie Parker has spent a career working with some of the world’s most exacting photographers, from Annie Leibowitz to Patrick Demarchelier. Nothing could have prepared her, though, for the ordeal of giving birth as a single parent, weeks late, with low amniotic fluid. The British-born beauty expert opens up about how she got through it, what she’s learned about the shortcomings of traditional medicine, and how skin is a window into our overall health.
by Sollis Health

You had a traumatic experience giving birth. Can you tell us about it?

I had planned to give birth in a birthing center with the availability of going to the hospital if things got dangerous and I needed a doctor. Sadly my plan did not work. I was two weeks late and they felt it best if they brought me into the hospital and induced me, as they felt my amniotic fluid was very low. Unfortunately, I was not prepared mentally. I slept in a cold hospital bed the night before, could barely sleep, and was woken very early, extremely tired, and started on the drugs without any food or fluids. The cramping began almost immediately. I was all alone in a room as a single parent. My friend who had flown in from the UK was not informed they would wake me so early to start. After only an hour, I was in so much pain and having massive contractions. I asked for an epidural but the hospital only had one machine—and I was third in line to use it. Eventually my midwife from my birthing clinic arrived and my friend and I felt a little more support in the room. By the time the epidural machine was ready, they said I had dilated too much and could not give me the drugs. I was in the most unbearable pain. Thank goodness my midwife was there to stand up for me, and insisted even at eight centimeters I could still have the pain relief, and finally I got it. It was night and day. The rest was really not so much an issue—she was a wee six lb baby and flew out with two pushes—but the leadup was definitely a very isolating experience and if my midwife had not been there, I am sure it would have been much worse.

How did giving birth change the way you thought about doctors, hospitals and medicine?

Doctors and nurses always do the best they can. It’s a very tough job. But I think doctors and hospitals care about what’s legal and what they feel can incur a legal issue for them. Some hospitals are also understaffed and they don’t always have the ability to provide good care.

“My daughter flew out with two pushes, but the leadup was definitely a very isolating experience. I asked for an epidural but the hospital only had one machine—and I was third in line to use it.”

What advice do you give to pregnant moms and women considering having a baby?

As an older woman who has lived here much longer and understands the system: doctors and nurses are only taught what they are taught. Western medicine definitely does not provide all the answers to healthcare, and our mental health and wellness must not be left in their hands. We need to have complete autonomy on our minds and bodies, and that means we need to question what we are told and look at alternatives and read about science—at least enough to know that if we get sick and or a family member does, we can go to other sources and get second and third options and opinions. This is key to our health and the health of our families. More importantly, always look at food as medicine.

How do you think Sollis could have helped make your birthing experience better, both before and after?

Having a medical expert advocate for me from the beginning of when I arrived at the hospital would have made the experience so much more comforting and also allowed me to have a clearer understanding of what was happening to my body and therefore less traumatic. Then I might have been able to receive an epidural sooner and been in significantly less pain.

How do you keep your skin healthy?

Let’s look at nutrition first. This is key to our skin. There are key areas on our face which point to issues in the body: digestion, hormones, gut health. When our skin shows signs of inflammation and/or dryness and itchy and red skin, we can be sure something is not right internally. However, the skin is an organ too—our largest organ. Therefore with the right applications of products that work with our skin and have a high absorption (meaning they don’t contain fillers or chemicals), we can provide nutrition in our skincare. Which when applied topically, can show signs of change. Equally, if we use products that contain ingredients that are too harsh and full of chemicals, our skin can react in a negative way. We must be kind to our skin and make good choices. Not just with skincare but also makeup!

How is healthy skin related to general health?

The gut is the key to all our health and also even feelings of happiness. The gut needs to have the healthy bacteria to fight off the unhealthy, and when our gut is fed a western diet that is now compromised by fast food and gluten and processed foods and non-organic foods and GMO foods, we can see this is a recipe for bad gut health. Equally in the west, we over-prescribe medication and drink too much alcohol and even our water contains bad ingredients, so here we will see these results on our skin. Skin sores, dryness, irritations, and hyperpigmentation is a sign our liver is in need of a cleanse. As much as we see brown spots as sun damage, we also know it to be the liver.

Do you have any quick fixes for skin breakouts, disorders, etc?

I do believe a very important part of healthy skin is taking a daily probiotic and/or eating fermented foods. Drinking water, adding lemon juice or chlorophyll drops, and now I am obsessed with my copper water bottle to add well-needed copper to my diet. I don’t really believe in “quick fixes” because anything beneficial happens over time. However if your skin is dry, a good organic hydration mask and eye mask can feel good and a gentle daily exfoliator does not feel too abrasive.

What is your feeling about Western medicine vs. Eastern medicine?

I truly believe we need the wisdom of eastern medicine, as it’s much older and incorporates a much more 360-degree approach to healing and is really common sense in many cases. When antibiotics were first used, they changed civilization for the better, and many vaccinations early on saved lives. But since we now over use antibiotics, strains of bacteria have become resistant and now we have developed stronger bacteria. So I hold more trust in the ancient traditions of eastern medicine. The western world might not have the resources nor the time to slow down enough to understand how to bring it back and help our bodies heal naturally. And equally our planet—I think they go hand in hand.

“Doctors and nurses are only taught what they are taught. Western medicine definitely does not provide all the answers to healthcare, and our mental health and wellness must not be left in their hands.”

What kind of natural therapies do you use?

Well this is an ever evolving story!! I believe in acupuncture as a huge help for the body. More recently I have taken deeper dives into the problem of too much iron in our bodies and build-up in our tissue, which creates all sorts of issues not only with anemia but toxicity and inflammation. I am also of the mind set that food is medicine, and so going back to simpler times, I really believe in vegetables and fruit in season, grass-fed meats, some fish and good fats, and low on the dairy. I also really believe in liver cleanses and not drinking alcohol for at least a month to give the liver a recharge and reset. Big fan of having colonic irrigation twice a year as the seasons change. I also have been using homeopathic medicine for quite some time and especially use it for sleep.

What do you tell people who think that natural therapies might not be effective?

That they need to look at more of a lifestyle change if they want results.

Are there natural therapies to use for healthy skin?

There are many food groups we can utilize for face masks, such as avocado, honey, and cucumber. Oatmeal scrubs and definitely detox baths with salts etc.

What is your general feeling about wellness products?

This is a huge answer. Wellness is a broad term for being well, and that is mind, body, and spirit. Therefore it’s not a day here and there, it’s 365 days a year and being consistent.

Is there any connection between makeup and women’s health?

Absolutely. Using makeup can create positive mental health as it feels good to look good. On top of this, we can look at clean makeup brands now and add the extra layer of knowing we are using toxin-free makeup.

Words to live by?

Just do your best in life and try and see the positive in every situation that life throws at you.

The views and opinions expressed in this campaign are those of the participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Sollis Health.
Sollis Health is a 24/7 doctor, private ER and concierge service rolled into one. Whether it’s an emergency or simply to diagnose the symptoms that you typically Google in the middle of the night, our emergency-trained doctors are ready for anything. Interested in becoming a Sollis member?

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