The beautiful face on most women’s magazines shines with skin that is soft, clear, supple and has perfect moisture balance. For many of us, these qualities can be challenging to achieve, and for some, they may seem impossible. However, there are a number of things you can do that will improve both how you feel and how you look (and you won’t need to be airbrushed like the magazine cover!)
Both traditional Chinese medicine and naturopathic medicine use the health and appearance of the skin as a diagnostic tool. Is the skin red or pale? Is it lustrous or dull? Dry or moist? A practitioner will examine the particular qualities of a skin disorder, where symptoms are located and what aggravates them.
Caring for your skin well can fit easily into a daily routine. When it comes down to it, having healthy, radiant skin involves caring for yourself both inside and out.
GENERAL SKIN CARE
Filtered water – Ensure you are well hydrated by drinking plenty of filtered water. Depending on factors such as body type, diet, exercise and weather the amount you need to drink will vary between 1.5 – 3 L daily. Drinking more water will aid the body in flushing out unwanted wastes, preventing the build-up resulting in problem skin.
Fibre – Fibre helps the body in eliminating unwanted waste products and prevents the toxic build-up that can result in inflamed skin conditions. Good sources of dietary fibre include wholegrains, legumes, flaxseeds, psyllium and, of course, fresh fruit and vegetables.
Chlorophyll – This green-coloured extract from plants and algae has a gentle detoxifying action on the body. One of the easiest ways to increase chlorophyll in your diet is by eating more greens – two serves a day is ideal! It is also available in liquid form, which is very easy to take and can be mixed in to your daily drinking water.
Lemon juice in water – Squeezing the juice of half a lemon into a glass of room temperature filtered water first thing in the morning will stimulate your digestion and kick-start your liver for the day. Lemons are also high in Vitamin C – one of the most important nutrients for skin health.
Dry skin brushing – With a skin brush, start at the feet and brush the skin upwards, up the legs and torso, towards the heart. Then, the hands, brushing up the arms and over the shoulders, towards the heart. Do this before getting into the shower. It will help to slough off dead skin cells and stimulate good circulation.
Keeping your skin clean, fresh and with the right level of moisture is imperative. Every morning and evening wash your skin using a good quality cleanser, followed with a balancing skin toner, and appropriate moisturiser (those that contain vitamins C & E are particularly nourishing to the skin).
It’s also a good idea to apply sunscreen to protect your skin against sun damage. However, research has highlighted that the nano-particles found in many sunscreens and cosmetics may be linked to serious skin damage. Find a brand that doesn’t use nano-particles - http://nano.foe.org.au/ safesunscreens.
If you do wear make-up, it is recommended to use mineral-based make-ups as they do not clog the pores.
INFLAMED SKIN CONDITIONS
Red, raw and inflamed skin is common in conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis. Sometimes hormones can play havoc with our skin, particularly around menstruation and with the onset of menopause. Although these conditions have different origins and have different specific treatments, common factors such as inflammation can be addressed similarly.
Good oils – Essential fatty acids are the building blocks of good skin: they improve the moisture and elasticity, as well as reducing inflammation. Supplemental fish/ flaxseed/evening primrose oil is often effective, but dietary sources shouldn’t be forgotten, including nuts and seeds, cold- pressed oils, avocados and oily fish.
Nutritional supplementation – Vitamin A and Zinc are specific for improving the overall health of the skin. Vitamin D is also very important for skin health. While it is important to avoid sunburn, 15 mins of early morning sunshine each day is healthy although not always sufficient, in which case supplemental vitamin D can be used.
Herbal medicine – Herbs that enhance liver function, such as Dandelion and Globe Artichoke, can help to promote elimination. For allergic conditions, Albizia and Baical Skullcap can calm the immune response. Other herbs, such as Nettle and Burdock, are known as ‘blood-cleansers’ and are beneficial for problem skin.
Topical treatment – Some conditions will only respond with additional professional beauty therapy. Acne skins may require a deep cleanse, refining masks and peels to change the outer layer of skin. For dry, red skin, soothing and calming treatments are suitable. Of course, treatments will vary according to individual symptoms.
Lifestyle factors – Stress and anxiety can be a major player in problem skin, so activities such as meditation, yoga, qi gong and breathing exercises may help. Applying calming aromatherapy massage oil to the feet can aid relaxation. Make sure to avoid harsh soaps and chemicals in deodorants, detergents and cosmetics.
For more personalised information regarding your skin make an appointment at HealthWise Clinic on 07 3839 1077.
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