It is fall here in Charleston which means all of our pumpkin spiced lattes are still ordered on ice! But, in a few months we will experience the random chill in the air (followed by the next day’s heat wave). It will be one day of enjoying our vitamin D at the beach and the next day we are bundled up with the heater and fireplaces on…..it is a southern thing and while it is wonderful, it can lead to some skin issues!
Our skin covers the entire surface of our bodies and is very responsive to the weather and environmental toxins. When the weather is confused, our skin becomes confused. Dry patches, redness, and irritation are all examples of things that can happen with this confusion.
Some food for thought
The skin is the largest organ of elimination. It has many important functions, including the elimination of toxins through sweating. Skin aids all the other channels of elimination during the detoxification process, so it is vitally important that the skin’s pores do not get clogged.
When we eat foods or drink soda, caffeine, or alcohol the body gets put into overdrive. The organs responsible for toxin elimination. the colon, kidneys, and liver, become overwhelmed. These organs have to use all of their capabilities just to process the junk food and they are not able to create new, healthy, vibrant skin cells. The body has to attempt to remove the toxins and excess waste through the other remaining detoxification organ, the skin. The excess waste of the food/drink is removed through the pores, causing clogging such as blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, rashes, redness, and skin irritation. Other signs that the skin needs to detox are eczema, psoriasis, gray color, or appearing dull in appearance.
So you are tired of itching that dry skin, or trying to cover up the acne? Or maybe you are just ready for a new glow?
Here are a few easy steps to get better skin at any age
Water – Water is so important for flushing out toxins. It is essential in transporting nutrients to your organs and keeping your kidneys flushed. It is also essential in releasing toxins so they do not end up on your skin. How much should we be drinking? Half of your body weight in water!
If you drink any diuretics (coffee, tea, soda, or alcohol) you need to add in an extra eight ounces of water for each diuretic consumed.
Example: 180 pound man needs 90 ounces of water. He drinks an 8-ounce cup of coffee in the morning so he needs to increase his water to 98 ounces of water a day. Water is fundamental on a daily basis and the lack of hydration can lead to many serious health problems. Water should be filtered. Do not drink distilled water (unless you are on a special doctor monitored diet!)
Dry Skin Brushing – The epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) can become clogged with dead skin cells. This will slow down your detox process, so it is important to remove this layer of dead skin by brushing the skin with a natural bristle brush. Do not use a synthetic brush! Dry brushing is best performed in the morning before your morning shower.
To dry brush, follow these steps:
1. Start with the bottoms of your feet and then continue brushing up the legs using a circular motion. Always stroke towards the heart!
2. Use circular, counterclockwise strokes on the stomach
3. Move from the outside towards the center, starting with the hands and moving up the arms
4. Brush the entire body for best results (except any “private” parts)
5. Wash your brush every few weeks with water and let it dry before using
Sweat – Sweating is a great way to release toxins from the lymphatic system, which is a great way to lessen the load from the liver and kidneys. And, yes, here in Charleston we have no shortage of sweating! For more intense detoxing, saunas can be used. Infared (low EMF is ideal) saunas are a form of radiant heat. The heat acts on only 20% of the air itself, whereas 80% acts on objects like your own body. It can also be used at lower temperatures which enables it to penetrate more deeply and induce sweating without putting too much strain on your body. It is important to always replace your electrolytes when sweating (yes, daily detox is fabulous for those electrolytes).
Baths – If you cannot get to a sauna, then taking a therapeutic bath is helpful in releasing toxins. Fill a tub with water that is as hot as you can tolerate and add in equal parts baking soda, epsom salts, and apple cider vinegar. You can also add an essential oil like lavender in for relaxation benefits. Stay in the tub for twenty minutes. Warning: this bath can really relax you, so plan on crawling into bed after you get out.
Skin detox teas – When focusing on detoxing your skin, there are good teas that are already blended for you, such as Yogi Skin Detox Tea. There are herbs for skin detoxing that can be found in loose leaf tea. The best ones are: nettles, calendula flower, red clover flowers, green tea leaf, Oregon grape root, honeybush leaf, rose petal, and lavender buds.
Antioxidants – Antioxidants help protect the skin from environmental damage and prevent premature aging. Drinking antioxidant rich juice is a great way to start the day when you are trying to detox your skin. Some foods rich in antioxidants are carrots, eggplants, broccoli, blueberries, raspberries, pomegranates, blue majik, cranberries, and apples.
What we are putting ON our skin
Most important, often overlooked, is the importance of what we put on our skin. Remember how the skin is the largest organ? With that theory in mind, then anything that you put on your skin also travels to your digestive system, liver, and the other organs.
Face cleansing products, lotions, and serums – These products should be so clean that you coulc EAT them! There are plenty of recipes online that teach you how to make your own, or there are great companies like Be Well Company that have done the work for you. Their cleansing oil & probiotic toner are INCREDIBLE! I am still working my way through all of their products! 🙂
Deodorants – The majority of deodorants contain aluminum. Aluminum enters through the bloodstream (close to our breast tissue) and elevates our heavy metal intake. Aluminum is a metal that crosses the blood/brain barrier and leads to brain health issues. There are also enough studies linking aluminum to breast cancer for me to get behind the no deodorant movement. Now, if you are not ready to go that far, then opt for a natural deodorant. FATCO STANK STOP is my favorite, but there are plenty of companies making other options.
Makeup – We love our makeup as women! I highly suggest shooting for 1-2 days a week of no makeup to let your face rest and detox. On the other days, you can look at companies who are committed to not using toxic chemicals. BeautyCounter is my go to. I do not sell it, but there are plenty of great reps to buy from in the Charleston area who will let you sample the products before buying!
Hair Care – When looking at haircare, you are looking for sulfate-free, paraben-free, gluten-free products. My absolute favorite shampoo/conditioner is olive oil from Heritage Products.
Hands down one of your best resources is the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Use it for looking up information on cosmetics and household products, and be a well-informed consumer!