Healthy Skin from the Inside Out

Everyone wants healthy skin. Everyone wants to look and feel good. The skin is our body’s largest organ and it is intimately and inextricably linked to every other organ and system in the body, which makes sense when we view the body in a holistic sense. Because it is the most visible organ, skin issues can be very troublesome (and bothersome) to people when they arise. This is true not only when skin looks dull and lifeless, but when there is a inflammatory flare-up, such as a rash, acne pimple, fungal infection, or dry, flaky skin.

Because the skin is not separate from other body systems, and because it is a detoxification and sensory organ that engages with the outside world, stress, nerves, sluggish or inflamed intestines, a low-functioning liver, etc. can show up in the skin. One of the primary ways to keep the skin healthy and happy is therefore to manage stress levels better with things like exercise, meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, baths, spending time in nature; as well as eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, and good-quality proteins.

Supporting detoxification of the other organs of elimination such as the colon, liver, kidneys, and lymphatics can also have a big impact on skin health. This can be accomplished with food and herbs, such as lemon juice and bitter leafy greens (think arugula, dandelion greens) for the liver, milk thistle seeds (liver), dandelion root (kidneys and digestion), cleavers (kidneys and lymphatics), red clover blossoms (skin and blood). Natural anti-inflammatories such as seeds and oils high in essential fatty acids (flax & hemp seeds, fish oils, etc.), berries and dark leafy greens, turmeric and ginger roots, aloe vera inner fillet, etc., can also be important dietary components for healthy skin (and a healthy body in general). Minerals are also crucial, from sea vegetables (kelp, kombu, arame, nori, etc.), dark leafy greens (kale, chard, nettle, spinach, dandelion leaves, alfalfa, etc.), vegetables (broccoli, cucumber, bell peppers, carrots, beets, etc.), nuts and seeds (brazil nuts, almonds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, etc.) are all very good sources of minerals, including trace minerals that are needed in tiny amounts but are crucial for certain body processes.

One way I like to encourage skin health and increase mineral intake in the body is to make herbal overnight infusions using herbs such as nettle leaf, alfalfa, oat straw, raspberry leaf, red clover, chickweed, lemon balm, and peppermint and allowing them to steep in water overnight. I pour just-boiled water over the combination of herbs, using approximately 1 Tablespoon herbs/cup water, then let these soak overnight on my counter top. This allows maximum mineral quantities to extract into the water. Then I strain them in the morning and stick the batch in the fridge to consume 1-4 cups throughout the day, usually at room temperature by adding hot water to the cold herbal infusion, but you could reheat to hot if desired as well. A great combination for healthy skin includes nettle leaf, alfalfa, red clover blossoms, oat straw, and lemon balm. Drink 1-3 cups/day on a consistent basis to see results.

Adding herbs such as yellow dock root (colon and liver), calendula flowers (lymph, anti-inflammatory, skin), and burdock root (blood, liver, skin) will increase detoxification and are commonly used to address skin issues such as acne, eczema, & psoriasis.

My Mineralizing Tea and Healthy Skin Tea are two examples of combinations of some of the above herbs to support skin health from the inside out.

These are foundational ways to help strengthen the skin naturally, but also to address chronic inflammatory conditions, and for addressing overly dry skin as well.

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