Our skin is one of the first things people notice when we meet them. It's no wonder that by 2024 experts predict that the skin health industry will be worth well over 180 Billion US dollars. From drug-store face masks to thousand dollar skin treatments, there is something for everyone. The question that I ask is, why are we as a society spending so much money to "correct" our skin problems (acne, rosacea, eczema, wrinkles, dry skin, etc.) with external therapies that do not produce lasting results?
Well, the answer is simple - marketing. I too grew up thinking that all my problems could be fixed with a trip to the neighborhood drugstore. They had lotions that promised to reduce wrinkles, exfoliants that could keep acne away and if that didn't work there was lots of makeup to choose from to cover it all up.
Now that I am older and wiser (most of the time) I know that a lot of the products sold at the drugstore or grocery store are actually terrible for your skin and can cause even bigger problems down the line. Whether it is the added synthetic scents that they use or the preservatives to let the product last for so long, these ingredients will disrupt our hormones in a big way and can alter the natural state of our skin making it dryer and prone to more issues like acne.
Now, I didn't intend to write this blog to start shamming the skincare industry (because there are a lot of great products and treatments that are beneficial) but rather to offer an alternative or subsequent approach to care for your skin. This is Holistic Nutrition. By using the principles of holistic nutrition, we are able to get to the root cause of why your skin is presenting symptoms like acne, rosacea, eczema, and wrinkles.
It must be noted that our skin is our biggest detox organ. Meaning that any toxins that your body ingests, (car exhaust, conventional room freshener sprays, cleaning products, makeup, pesticides, preservatives....) your skin is one of the quickest ways for the toxins to leave the body. If you add, on top of living in an environment that you come into contact with these toxins regularly, with a sluggish liver or digestive system, then that puts an even greater strain on your body to filter out all the "gunk".
With that said, I had my own skin issues arise about 3 months ago now and I had to put what I know about the human body to the test.
Just after Christmas, I began to feel very rundown and noticed that my energy was well below what is usual for me. Then, these red dots started to form on my arms and my legs. I didn't know what it was at first. I had a friend say that they thought it was bed bugs (it wasn't). Other's thought it could be an allergic reaction. The dots became very itchy and started to form a rash. The worst was on my left leg. (photo below).
Apart from being uncomfortable, it was embarrassing. I knew I had to get to the root of the problem if I wanted to get my skin back to normal. I created a skin-healing protocol for myself, which broke down into these 5 steps:
1) Dry skin brushing. This technique has been used for centuries as it is great for activating the lymphatic system (another way our body detoxifies). I dry-brushed everyday before my shower.
2) Remove all potential irritants. Since I was not sure what caused this reaction in my body I decided to remove anything that could cause this type of skin symptom. So I said goodbye to dairy, wheat and sugar for 4 weeks. I don't usually consume a lot of these foods but I do love honey, so I had to find replacements for the time being.
3) Detoxify with herbs. I am not usually one to suggest someone do a detox "just because". I choose to incorporate a herbal detox in my personal protocol as I knew I had not been eating the best leading up to this skin issue arising and I have had issues with my body detoxifying naturally in the past. I choose to use the Herbal Detox by Wild Rose as it covered my bases, helping with the liver, lymphatic, kidneys, and bowel.
4) Manage Stress. This is a big one for me and I can imagine for a lot of you as well. Stress is the leading cause of illness. When we are constantly stressed we are disrupting our natural hormonal balance and causing unnecessary inflammation which can feel like aches and pains or show up like skin issues. To help manage my stress I began keeping an agenda. For me, I have multiple projects on the go at once, so seeing my due dates down on paper made it easier for me to schedule in downtime and to not worry that I am forgetting something.
5) Drink more water. Even as a nutritionist I can forget to drink my 8 glasses of water per day. Water is essential for every cell in our body to do its job. If we are not drinking enough water or body does not have what it needs to remove excess waste or filter out toxins.
I am happy to report that after 2 months of implementing these changes daily, my skin is back to normal and I feel great! This was not a quick fix but it is a lasting fix and one that has numerous other positive side effects!