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Article Archive >> Featured Topics

Alternative Approaches: Facts and Tips for Healthy Skin

Alternative Approaches
Facts and Tips for Healthy Skin
by Mary Ann Copson
Certified Licensed Nutritionist/Life Coach; (434-263-4996)

The primary function of the skin is to help maintain a constant body temperature.
Sweating plays an important role in detoxification because toxins, including heavy metals, drugs, pesticides and other environmental pollutants, are eliminated through perspiration.
Approximately twenty-five percent of the body's waste products are excreted through the skin.
If the skin is not efficiently expelling wastes, the other organs of elimination are burdened with excess toxins.
If the large intestine, kidneys, or liver are not adequately detoxifying and disposing of wastes the skin will have problems with rashes, pimples, acne, boils, skin rashes and other eruptions.
The key to healthy skin requires attending to all the organs of detoxification.
Alternative Actions
To clear up the skin- Eat abundant fresh fruits and vegetables and other high fiber foods to cleanse the intestinal tract and reinvigorate the lymphatic system. Drink 2 quarts of pure water and herbal teas a day to detoxify the kidneys and liver.
Drinking plenty of water will help keep the skin hydrated and facilitate the release of toxins.
A daily bath or shower removes surface toxins and perspiration.
A scrubbing with a loofah or rough washcloth will remove dry skin cells and refresh your skin.
You should have a water filter on your shower if your tap water is chlorinated. It will keep you from absorbing chlorine, which is a protein toxin.
Saunas and steam baths are good methods of purification. The heat and steam stimulates circulation and opens the pores helping the skin to expel toxins.
Symptoms of poor skin function include: acne, clogged pores, excessively dry skin, excessively oily skin, skin rashes, eczema, and slow wound healing.
The skin also acts as the first line of defense against harmful microorganisms. Beneficial bacteria live on the surface of the skin and prevent infiltration by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites.
The bloodstream absorbs approximately 60 percent of whatever is applied to the skin.
Antiperspirants and other chemicals applied to the skin kill off friendly skin bacteria leaving your vulnerable to attack by unfriendly microorganisms.
Choose natural body care products, and natural fibers such as cotton, silk, linen, and wool. Avoid synthetic fabrics that inhibit perspiration and can irritate the skin.
Dull dry and flaking skin points to a deficiency of essential fatty acids.
Adherence to a low fat diet can result in dry skin and hair.
Fat is a necessary nutrient in the diet. Do not cut fat out of your diet. Focus on eating healthy fats such as extra virgin olive oil, almonds, avocados, pumpkinseeds, and sesame seeds, walnuts, sunflower seeds.
The thyroid gland regulates the functions of the skin.
Vitamin C shortage shows as bleeding gums, soreness in mouth and gums, rough and scaly rash around hair roots.
Vitamin B complex deficiency shows as cracks and canker sores in the corners of the mouth.
Dry skin and brittle nails are often due to a lack of cold-pressed oils and essential fatty acid oils such as omega-3 and omega-6 in the diet.
Herbal Remedies
Include sources of omega-3 and gamma-linolenic (GLA) essential fatty acids in your diet. These help keep the skin supple and well lubricated.
* Omega-3 oils are abundant in oily fish such as salmon, sardines, and mackerel. Approximately 3 servings a week (about 10 ounces total) are ample for most people.
* Flaxseeds are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and can be taken as ground seeds or as an oil. Flaxseed oil goes rancid quickly and should be used within six weeks of opening. Do not cook with it. It can be used on salads, baked potatoes, or pasta.
* Flaxseeds must be ground to be eaten otherwise they will pass through the intestinal tract undigested. Flax meal can be added to oatmeal or other cooked cereal.
* Ground flaxmeal can be whipped into a beverage in the blender with fruit juice, soymilk, or almond with bananas or other fresh fruit.
* Flaxseeds have mucilaginous properties and become gel like when added to liquid so drink any beverage with them immediately after adding the flaxseeds.
* Good sources of GLA include evening primrose oil, black current oil, and borage oil.
* GLA is helpful for treating dry skin and hair, eczema, and other skin disorders.
* Evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil and borage oil are rich sources of GLA and can be taken as supplements.
* Blood cleanser that improve the function of the liver, large intestine, and kidneys in removing wastes and build rich blood- echinacea, sarsaparilla, yellow dock, burdock, Oregon grape, red clover, nettles,
* Diaphoretics that act directly on the skin to increase surface blood flow and promote perspiration to help the skin excrete toxins more efficiently- yarrow, peppermint, elder, ginger.
Herbal Recipes
Eat grapes for skin health.
* Grapes contain a class of bioflavonoids called proanthocyanidins that are many times more powerful than vitamins C and E at scavenging free radicals. They also have antioxidant phytochemicals, which promote cellular health by neutralizing carcinogens and boosting the activity of detoxifying enzymes.
* Grapes also promote blood vessel health by protecting the strength and flexibility of collagen structures, the fibrous proteins in blood vessels, tissue cells, gums, bones, and teeth.
* Grapes also help to protect the collagen structures that give skin its smoothness and elasticity.
* Grapes are naturally high in the mineral silicon, which is part of the connective tissue of skin, hair, and nails. Grape packs can be made for external use. Lightly crush grapes and pack them 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches thick between layers of cloth or directly on the skin. Apply to the external areas of affected inner organs and tissues for one to four hours each day.
Cabbage water is good for troubled skin. The drink is rich in iron, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
* Cut a cabbage head in half. Put half of the cabbage in a saucepan with water and cover, simmer for 20 minutes, cool, and strain. Pour the cabbage water into a glass jar and eat the warm cabbage. One hour after eating the cabbage, put the other half of the cabbage through a juicer with the lemon (rind included), drink half a cup every other hour until finished. Herbal teas such as sage and red clover go well with this cleansing. Barley water also goes well with it.
Epsom salt baths are helpful for promoting deep cleansing of toxins through the skin.
* A simple detoxifying bath is to put two cups of Epsom salts in a bathtub of hot water. Soak 20 minutes sponging your face with a cool cloth while in the tub. Do not use Epsom salts if you have kidney problems, cardiovascular problems including high blood pressure. Anyone with a degenerative disease or on medications should consult their health care practitioner before using Epsom salts.
Consumerlab.com is building a database of natural remedy brands that it tests and rates. Not all are yet available.
Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration has a program called MEDWATCH for people to report adverse reactions to untested substances, such as herbal remedies and vitamins (800-332-1088).
A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. The FDA has not evaluated these statements.

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