Healing Skin Issues Holistically
By Marilee Nelson |
Skincare is all the rave these days, and there’s so much out there on the internet telling you what to do and what products to buy. Expensive creams, facials, and even laser treatments have become the norm to address persistent skin issues like chronic and cystic acne, discoloration and unwanted texture. While these therapies might give your symptoms relief in the short term, they often return shortly after. This pushes many people to bring in harsh chemicals or antibiotics with long-lasting side effects.
What is the underlying issue? One reason, our environment! As you’ll read, we’ve found tossing the toxins from our environment and diet dramatically lessened our skin issues. To get scientific, our integumentary system (the fancy word for your skin) is considered the body's biggest organ. It contains pores that serve as 'overflow valves' that help detoxify the inside of the body from toxic substances found in the environment.
Why Are Skin Problems “So Common” These Days?
Our current, everyday environment isn't conducive to clean living and a healthy body. If someone is not aware of and doing something about the harmful chemicals they are being exposed to in their environment or diet, toxic exposures begins to take a toll on the body. Although we cannot always see it, the damage is being done. These toxins can cause our skin damage and inflammation, breakouts, and premature aging may result. They can also disrupt metabolism and propagate weight gain, thyroid issues, gut problems and more that can all contribute to skin imbalances.
What Contributes to Environmental Toxicity?
Many factors in our everyday world contribute to our toxic exposure:
- Preservatives, chemicals, flavorings, and additives in food. Some of these substances are known carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and neurotoxins that disrupt our bodies' innate functioning linked to skin health.
- Foods rich in fast-digesting starches and simple sugars. These foods can feed bacteria and contribute to blood sugar and hormonal imbalance. This can cause acne and blemishes.
- Oral contraceptives and hormonal birth control that burden the liver.
- Poor digestion. Non organic foods and GMOs impede digestion, further contributing to an imbalanced microbiome and skin eruptions.
- Toxic ingredients in detergents constantly contact our skin via towels, blankets, and pillowcases. These are not only a burden to the body but serve as irritants, too.
- Ingredients in soaps and cosmetics disrupt the bacteria on the skin and contribute to breakouts.
Healing From Within
To heal our skin, we don't need expensive and chemically-laden creams, lotions, cleansers or prescriptions. These just mask our symptoms. Instead let's aim to go 'back to basics' and revert to natural products and foods that supply us with plenty of nutrients! Over time, these simple swaps will bring us back to balance and allow our bodies to rid themselves of harmful toxins, resulting in radiant skin.
Tips To Heal Your Skin Naturally
- Stay hydrated! One way to calculate your optimized water intake is to take your body weight and divide it by two (ex: 160 lbs/2 = 80). This is the amount of water you're meant to drink in ounces. Keep in mind that time of year, activity levels, and other health condition are variables to consider when thinking about your hydration level.
- Eliminate processed foods, especially those containing hydrogenated oils, white sugar and white flour. Avoid shopping on the inner aisles of the grocery store and stick to the refrigerated sections. Don't buy the product if you can't pronounce an ingredient or won't eat it solo! Instead, stick to whole, unprocessed foods. To dig in more, read How To Make A Recipe Healthy, Ditch Refined Sugar and Reap The Benefits, and The Hard Truth About Refined Oils.
- Make sure you are getting enough protein from whole foods. Protein is needed to repair and reform skin and connective tissue. It is also helpful in balancing blood sugar and hormones. Grab quality organic beans, grains, seeds, and nuts, wild caught fish, organic poultry, organic grass fed and finished meats, or eggs.
- Go outside and get natural vitamin D (sunlight) as much as you can. Vitamin D is a hormone produced when we expose our skin to sunlight. Low levels of D have been linked to chronic acne and skin disorders. Supplementing isn't a bad thing if you're in a cold climate, but natural D from sunlight is best!
- Consume healthy fats such as organic avocados, olives, olive oil, ghee, butter, nut butters, avocado oil, coconut products, fish, and pastured fatty meats. The body uses fat to produce sebum which acts as a protective barrier for the skin.
- Remove toxic body products. This can look like fragranced detergents, soaps, lotions, and cleansers containing toxic ingredients, perfume, and toxic makeup. Many contain endocrine disruptors that can mess with your skin. Read Our Favorite Non-Toxic Personal Care Products for suggestions.
- Prioritize sleep! Sleep is critical for detoxification, body repair, and for regulating hormones. Sleep deficiency can throw these processes out of whack, affecting the skin.
- Avoid consuming drugs or too much alcohol. Alcohol and drugs are known toxins, which can burden the body and result in blemishes if consumed excessively. When drinking, grab less processed alcohol, like organic wine, to minimize toxin intake.
- Manage stress. Stress can throw off our hormones and sleep on its own, and it can push us to break all our good habits if we let it get the best of us! Practice gratitude, meditate, and work on managing stress in a way that's best for you to keep it from affecting you.
Cheers to glowing skin, starting from within!
Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.