Skin Care: Beauty from Within and Without
Introduction to the Skin Care Section
The largest organ in the body, the skin is an outward manifestation of the physical health within. The five layers of the organ each perform a different task for the body and skin cells are produced in the inward most layer and eventually die and are lost by abrasion on the outward layer.
The skin performs many functions. It insulates the body from the elements. It serves as an elimination organ by excising toxins that the kidneys and liver fail to eliminate. In doing so, the skin suffers from the toxin's effects. This could be a major contributor to several skin disorders, including acne.
Below, I have outlined some suggestions to consider in aiding your "skin from within".
Probiotics will help nutrient absorption and aid in a cleaner colon. Many pathogens are corralled in the colon, and it is essential to keep it clean and free of plaque build-up. Probiotics will aid in the body's natural detoxification process, and will help the body deal with bacteria prior to its negative effects on sebum and blood. It is important in skin care that the gastrointestinal tract remains at an optimal functioning level. The use of Fiber and Probiotics can aid in this function. For clean skin, it is crucial that nutrient absorption is fully optimized and these nutritional products may aid in doing so. Dietary enzymes may also be of benefit, helpful in breaking down fats and carbohydrates that may freely float in the system.
To maintain healthy skin, it is necessary to maintain healthy blood. The role of antioxidants is crucial to this process. Vitamins A, E, C, and the minerals Zinc and Selenium protect the body's immune system and prevent the growth of pathogens and free radicals. Selenium helps to keep the skin elastic and smooth. Antioxidants also play an invaluable role in protecting the skin from sun damage and pollution (metals) that may cause the formation of foam cells or sebum blocking.
It may be necessary (in more extreme cases) for the body to utilize a process known as chelation, in which metals are pulled from the system using several key antioxidants and EDTA (ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid). EDTA chelation is a therapy by which repeated administrations of the weak synthetic amino acid may gradually reduce atherosclerotic plaque and other mineral deposits throughout the cardiovascular system by literally dissolving them away. The side benefit of this circulatory procedure is the cleansing and detoxifying of metals and minerals that may manifest problems in the sebum canals and hence the skin.
B vitamins are important for maintaining proper blood flow to the skin and supporting healthy skin tone. Pantothenic acid (B-5) is especially important, as it helps to support the adrenal gland and easing stress. Often, skin problems are the result of excess hormones and stress build-up, so it is important to maintain healthy adrenal functioning. Most B vitamins play a role in skin tone and also support the immune system in its efforts to recognize, attack and neutralize potential pathogenic influence.
Essential Fatty Acids are important, as they supply gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which breaks down fats that might clog pores. EFA's also keep the skin supple and help to repair damaged cells of the skin. A side benefit of the use of supplemental essential fatty acids is their influence in the gastrointestinal tract.
Natural antibiotics are beneficial. Garlic supplements, taken with meals, are especially effective at maintaining cleaner blood and destroying bacteria. Added garlic to the diet, perhaps the best method of utilizing the beneficial elements of the herb, will aid in circulation and cleansing.
From an herbal standpoint, blood cleansers such as dandelion root, burdock root, red clover, and milk thistle are important. Milk thistle has a targeted function of supporting liver health and detoxification. Dandelion, burdock and red clover are all well known for their benefit in cleansing the blood. Echinacea and Goldenseal may also be used for a limited time, (4 days on, 3 days off) for heavier cases of acne.
For topical help, try tea tree oil. Use this natural anti-bacterial sparingly, as it is potent. If using the essential oil, dilute with water, (3-4 drops w/1/4 cup water) and dab with clean cotton cloth. Switch to tea tree soap for cleansing. IMPORTANT: never vigorously rub the skin during cleaning. Scrubbing the body can actually make the condition worse.
Some other ideas to consider include:
Maintain a high fiber diet to keep detoxification pathways cleaner. Fiber is perhaps the most important element to maintaining healthy skin, as it allows for proper elimination of excess fats and cholesterol. It is also important as a dietary measure to prevent varicose veins, which often are caused by ruptures in vessels due to constipation.
Acne has been referred to as "diabetes of the skin." It is important that the diet be addressed, particularly regarding sugar and sugar-strong foods. Try eliminating sugar, dairy, chocolate, foods with hydrogenated oils, and soft drinks. Supporting proper glucose metabolism may reduce the incidence of free-floating sugars.
Bathing, rather than showering, may provide for cleaner skin. Children experiencing acne may not have the necessary sanitation skills, and bathing with cleansing bath solutions will improve these habits.
Drinking more water is important for those experiencing skin conditions. Water aids in the body's detoxification and transportation of nutrients.
Skin Health Through Nutrition: Dry Skin
We see a great many people in the Wellness Store with dry skin. While there are certainly many types of moisturizers and creams available to help replenish skin oils, you must ask yourself why the skin is dry in the first place. When the skin is dry, there must be a reason other than the elements. If you see dry skin around, let's say, your elbows, or perhaps you notice bumpy skin along the back of your upper arm, it could be that you are deficient in essential fatty acids.
Since the early 1970's, when we were first introduced to "no fat" diets, skin problems have escalated. Cases of eczema, psoriasis and dry scalp conditions may all be tied to depletions of the body's stores of essential fatty acids. Now that we are more aware of "good" fats, it is important to consume these healthful foods, particularly if you are concerned about your skin. (For a complete understanding of fats, click here for an article on fat metabolism and the right types of fats to consume.)
Foods that are high in essential fatty acids are fish (cold water fish are best, such as salmon, albacore tuna, halibut and cod), nuts (almonds and walnuts are great sources) and some plant foods (like avocados). You might also consider an essential fatty acid supplement. You can click here for some excellent choices.
Nourish your dry skin from inside and outside the body. The foods that will help with dry skin are also great foods for your overall health.