How to get vibrant skin for summer

Article supplied by Giselle Cooke, Wholistic Healthcare Consultant how to get beautiful skin

Our skin is an outward manifestation of our internal health and emotional wellbeing. When it is clear and vibrant it helps our self esteem – it is the face we show the world and people are quick to comment on how we look from our complexion.

If our food is poor quality, our digestion weak, our elimination sluggish and our state of mind stressed our skin will suffer for it.

Add to this a lack of exercise, chemical skin treatments and hormonal fluctuations and it is no wonder that our largest organ, our skin, takes a bit of looking after to be in good shape!

If we want to have glowing, clear skin we need to give our skin all that it needs, such as optimal nutrition and fresh air, and take away all that it doesn’t need, such as toxins and stressors.

It is quite simple, really – just follow the advice on this checklist for better, healthier, more alive skin...

Bring back the glow!

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Breath of life
How often do we consider that breathing is not only essential for our lungs, heart and brain, but it helps to deliver the oxygen to our blood cells which makes them redder and thus improves the colour of our complexion? Someone who carries tension and under-breathes, or lives in a harsh urban environment with low atmospheric oxygen will have a dull, sallow, sometimes grey complexion. You don’t see this in country folk!

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Smoking
Tobacco smoking is a sure way to damage and age skin in many ways. Nicotine constricts capillary blood flow, which starves the tissues of nutrients and reduces the oxygenation of skin (and all other) cells, causing a greyish complexion. Smoking also contributes around 2,000 toxic compounds to the blood, which need to be inactivated and removed to prevent oxidation and ageing, which becomes apparent when someone has adopted a smoking habit over many years. There is no amount of tobacco smoking which can be tolerated in our bodies without injuring our delicate tissues and therefore it is impossible to be healthy if you smoke.

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Healthy circulation = Healthy skin

Seek out fresh air in green environments, by the water or in the mountains where natural exercise is invigorating and increases our blood’s oxygen carrying capacity. Exercise moves our lymphatic fluid, which travels in the waste channels of our tissues, the lymph vessels, flushing out our metabolic wastes by sending the blood from the tissues back to the kidneys for filtration and removal. Any puffiness of our skin can be due to waste retention in the subcutaneous tissues, holding fluid to dilute the toxins until it can be removed.

Lymphatic drainage massage
This provides an effective way to move waste out of tissue storage, back into the circulation for elimination. Sometimes magnets and crystals are used by some lymphatic therapists to shift stagnant fluid, especially when it pools in the lower legs. Herbs which cleanse the blood and lymph (alteratives) can assist this process. They are best drunk as a tea and would include herbs such as nettle, red clover and clivers. For a delicious and very effective herbal tea blend try “Cleanse” tea from Advaita at Express Dispensary (9977 3782).

For quick results to improve a tired complexion of your face a brilliant device called the Galvanic Spa can be used at home to remove lymphatic congestion and enhance the circulation to your face without causing any ruddiness or irritation, even on the most sensitive skins. I have often used this device before a public speaking engagement to improve my appearance, or when I have had to present a fresh face when I may not have had quite enough sleep.

Literally, within five minutes, your skin looks clearer, fresher and more alive, lasting several days after each treatment. It even smoothes out fine lines and wrinkles instantly and when used over time will repair the protein structure of the subcutaneous tissues, causing true rejuvenation. The Galvanic Spa and is available through Lotus Health. Please ask Rebecca for more information and make a booking for a free demonstration of this device and the anti-ageing skincare which can be used with the Spa.

Other delicious treatments which improve our general circulation, and therefore our wellbeing, are such things as skin brushing, hydrotherapy, Vichy shower, body wraps and mud baths, which can be discovered at your local health and beauty spa. A variety of types of massage also invigorate our circulation, from aromatherapy and Swedish, to hot stone massage and Kahuna. Consider these as treatments rather than luxuries, which can help to maintain your mental and physical health in a state of equilibrium, especially through any challenging times in our lives.

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Water of life
Our skin desperately needs to be adequately hydrated. Water plumps up our tissues so they don’t wrinkle, it delivers the nutrients to help our skin cells to function and it removes the waste that causes deterioration of the cells if not eliminated. Often we think we are drinking enough fluids, but some of these fluids could actually be dehydrating us because they are diuretic, such as tea, coffee and alcohol.

Try this little test: extend one hand in from of you, palm facing down and fingers arched back in extension and separated. With the other hand pinch up the skin on the back of the extended hand and count how many seconds it takes for the skin to return to the flat position. If it takes more than one second your tissues are dehydrated.

Clean, filtered or spring water nourishes our tissues, flushes out the waste products of all our tissues chemical processes, such as fat burning from fasting (ketones), or exercise (lactic acid); infections (microbial toxins) and allergies (inflammatory products). Alkaline water filters have become more popular and offer a neutralising effect for the acid by-products of stress, allergy, infection and inflammation processes that can affect our tissues from time to time. There is also good evidence that alkaline tissues enable us to resist the development of cancer.

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What goes in should come out!
The ideal scenario for our digestion and elimination is that food should be ingested and then eliminated within 24 hours and produce no symptoms or sensations along the way, especially none that could cause any discomfort or distress, such as belching, cramping, bloating, urgency, diarrhoea or constipation. In fact, constipation and digestive dysbiosis (bacterial flora imbalance) is a very common cause for poor skin health, since the toxic waste which sits in the colon for longer than necessary will recycle back into the lymphatic channels which are wrapped around the colon and return to the liver for reprocessing – an unhealthy sort of recycling!

Here is a simple recipe for my “Bowel Tonic” which can be used to facilitate cleansing a sluggish bowel. The ingredients can be obtained from your local health food store:

Slippery elm powder 1 tablespoon
Aloe vera juice 50 mls
Unfiltered apple/pear juice 150 mls
Probiotic powder (such as Symbiotique) 1 teaspoon

Whisk ingredients together and drink immediately.

Take one dose each night before bed for a good bowel movement the next morning. If your problem is more stubborn than this then another dose can be taken mid morning, This routine can be continued long term very safely, however it should produce good consistent results within two weeks. Be careful not to take slippery elm with any medications, since it can reduce the absorption of drugs.

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Our Liver – the key processing plant
Helping to improve our elimination takes the pressure off our liver filtration and enables more efficient detoxification of the blood by the liver, ultimately leading to healthier skin, especially where acne is concerned.

The liver has 200 essential functions, from processing chemicals, drugs and waste, to regulating hormones and glucose levels, storing fat-soluble vitamins (such as A and D) storing glycogen and burning fat for energy. You can see in someone’s sallow complexion and the creamy or yellow discolouration of the whites (sclerae) of their eyes that their liver is not functioning well. The key to resolving this problem is to remove anything which is aggravating liver function, such as solvents, glues, lacquers or paints from the environment and assisting the repair and regeneration of liver tissues with essential nutrients and supportive herbal medicines. If the liver is not working well the skin will suffer first, then deeper tissues will next be affected, such as brain function (memory).

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Acne
Acne is a skin condition which results from poor liver detoxification of the blood. It typically afflicts teenagers; however it can develop well into our mature years as well. Acne lesions can appear as whiteheads, blackheads, small pink bumps called papules, or pimples (pus-filled red lesions). More severe forms can result in firm, painful nodules and cysts and may lead to scarring. Acne most often occurs on the face but can also develop on the shoulders, back, chest, legs, and buttocks.
Adult Acne, as I call it, results from poorly digested food and particularly Candida or other fungal overgrowth in the intestine, leading to fermentation of carbohydrates, then poor toxin elimination and accumulation of the fermented wastes in the skin in an attempt by the body to find an alternative pathway of removal for the waste. The best cleansing program for this type of acne is a yeast-free diet, followed by a liver detox program, which needs to be individually prescribed for you by your naturopath.

This approach works particularly well for Acne Rosacea, rather than using topic and oral antibiotics which will, in turn, cause chronic digestive upsets.

Soothing skin care for all types of acne includes a calming or refining clay mask, followed by a pure essential oil-based moisturiser to prevent over-production of oil in freshly cleansed skin. Look at the mVSkincare range of gorgeous, essential oil-based, pure and gentle products for skin healing and maintaining a naturally beautiful complexion.

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Carotenoid status
Carotenes are found in yellow/orange/red fruits and vegetables as well as dark green vegetables. Excellent sources are organic papaya, rockmelon, carrots, sweet potato, parsley, broccoli and kale. They are essential in our diet for our skin to be healthy, to repair itself and to resist radiation damage, such as sunburn. Good carotenoid status helps us to resist cancer of the skin and mucous membranes, such as the cervix in women.

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Essential fatty acids (EFA’s)
These nutrients are found in plant and fish oils. As their name implies they are essential for our health, particularly our skin, eyes, joints and brain. They also assist our arterial health and circulation. Signs if EFA deficiency include dry skin, cracked heels, dry eyes, cracking joints, thirst, cardiac arrhythmias and poor memory.

To have smooth, well-oiled skin we need to ingest at least about a tablespoon of cold-pressed oil daily with our meals, which might be flaxseed oil blended with olive oil and lemon juice as a salad dressing. It may be cold-pressed macadamia or walnut oil drizzled over salad or steamed vegetables, or coconut milk or cream in soups or curries, with porridge or fresh fruit. It is important to remember that you cannot get a high cholesterol from eating plant oils, but caution may need to be taken if you do not have a gall bladder or your bile production is sluggish, causing you to be nauseous when eating fats or oils. Lemon juice can be taken with oily foods, such as avocado or salmon, to improve their digestion.

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Stress/sleep
Stress and insomnia affect our skin health by reducing blood flow to these cells and reducing their capacity to regenerate and repair. This may result in slow healing, dusky skin discolouration where old skin lesions have still not fully healed (such as acne cysts). Stress also reduces our capacity to digest proteins, which we need to repair and strengthen our skin each day.

Protein deficiency results from chronic stress – even if you are eating a high protein diet, which may be actually adding to gut fermentation and toxin overload in the tissues. Check the tips of your fingers: if the pulps are flattened and wrinkled you are protein deficient and should have your diet and digestion assessed with your naturopath for treatment solutions.

Regular and challenging exercise, daily meditation, enjoyable sex, herbal sedatives and aromatherapy baths are some solutions to manage daily stress and poor sleep hygiene.

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Hormones: the trouble they cause
Our skin is susceptible to the vagaries of hormone fluctuations. From the tumultuous testosterone surges of puberty to the oestrogen surges of the menopause, our skin responds to the call of our hormones. Testosterone generally causes more skin and hair oiliness and blackhead-type acne to appear on the T-zone of the face, upper chest and shoulders. Oestrogen causes ruddiness, sweats and capillary dilatation.

Having a healthy liver will metabolise your hormones to the more appropriate levels each day, whilst stress reduction and relaxation will prevent dramatic hormone fluctuations. These are matters that your naturopath can address with you on an individual basis. There are salivary hormone assays which can be arranged with Healthscope Laboratories to assess you unique hormone profile so that the best diet and herbal tonic can be offered to you to correct imbalances.

Herbs, specific diets and exercise are excellent for managing hormonal issues in ways that no drug treatment can. A good example is the acne which accompanies Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, where testosterone and insulin levels are elevates and a wholistic health program is usually very successful without needing recourse to drugs.

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Eczema, psoriasis
These are specific skin complaints, which result from genetic inheritance of the conditions, so are usually seen to run in families. People with eczema frequently have family members with asthma, hay fever, or eczema. Each needs to be addressed on the basis that the individual’s condition may have unique trigger factors and that their diet and lifestyle will be contributing to the severity of the rash. Nowhere in natural health and healing do you get the “one size fits all” approach!

Examples of causes for eczema may be environmental or chemical sensitivity. Today I heard of a patient of mine whose eczema cleared when she stopped bleaching her dressage horse to make him super white! The bleach was causing her skin to erupt in eczema and also damages the liver, which further adds to the allergy status. Both horse and rider are now in better health!

Psoriasis characteristically responds to three interventions. Although it cannot be cured, it can be cleared by eating a yeast/mould/ferment-free diet, taking fish oil 3 grams daily as a supplement and addressing and relieving stress levels. A simple formula, but it usually works. Please tell anyone you know who is suffering with this condition to seek a natural solution for psoriasis, rather than use long term harmful medical treatments, all of which cause side effects.

Summertime is bliss for sufferers of Psoriasis, since UV radiation exposure with sunlight is beneficial for healing the plaques which occur over their body and scalp. However judicious exposure to the sun is recommended so that the risk of subsequent skin cancer formation does not occur.

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So this summer pamper your skin!

  • Breathe fresh air

  • Drink plenty of clean alkaline water

  • Cleanse your system with herbal teas

  • Eat fresh organic carotene rich fruits and vegetables

  • Have scrub, wrap and massage at the day spa

  • Walk, swim, cycle, dance or move anyway that you can

  • Relax and enjoy the warmer weather

  • Create blissful sleep

 
Yoga and MeditationSmall group classes and one-on-one yoga therapy, general classes and with a specific therapeutic focus such as pre-natal.   Far infrared saunaThe Solo Sauna is designed to promote deep, natural, detoxifying sweat. Discover the health benefits of infrared sauna sessions..   Intravenous therapyIV Vitamin treatment has been shown to very beneficial for people going through amalgam removal and heavy metal detoxification, as well as many other health-related conditions.
Bring out the joy and passion in your life and experience vibrant, radiant health!