|Do you feel good in your own skin?
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If blemishes, acne, and other skin problems are making you uncomfortable in your skin, natural remedies can help.
To understand how to properly care for our skin, we need to take a closer look at the skin and its many functions. This will serve as a guide to general health practices that promote radiant and beautiful skin. We'll start with something very few people consider beautiful, the sweat glands.
Under the regulation of the hypothalamus, the sweat glands in our skin help to regulate body temperature. When the body is too hot, tiny muscles in the sweat glands open to secrete moisture onto the skin. As this moisture evaporates, it cools us down. The sweat glands are also a channel of elimination.
The body can use sweat to eliminate irritating substances when other eliminative organs (particularly the kidneys) are overloaded. Inducing perspiration through the use of diaphoretic herbs, saunas, sweat lodges and steam baths has long been used as a therapy for easing acute illnesses such as colds, flu, fevers and skin eruptive diseases like measles and chicken pox. Sweating has also been used to improve general health. Working up a "good sweat" whether through exercise or sweat therapies, usually makes us feel better.
This points to the first general practice we need to adopt for healthy skin and that is drinking enough water. Just drinking adequate amounts of pure water will improve skin health because it will dilute irritating substances and make it easier for the kidneys, sweat glands and other eliminative organs to do their jobs.
The skin also helps protect us, which is why we talk about very guarded people as having a "thick skin" and people who are easily hurt as being "thin skinned." In this protective function, we actually have two "skins," the outer skin we see and the inner skin we don't see. The inner skin is the mucus membranes that line our respiratory, digestive and urinary passages.
The skin and the mucus membranes are linked in their immune functions, which also means that the health of the internal skin will affect the health of the external skin. Many skin problems are actually a sign of poor health in the digestive tract, particularly the colon and liver. Constipation, sluggish liver function and the overgrowth of yeast or harmful bacteria in the colon will all adversely affect the health of the skin.
Internal Cleansing Keeps Skin Healthy
This is why the second basic health practice that keeps your skin glowing with good health is to "clean up" your internal skin by doing some cleansing. Make sure you're getting adequate fiber by eating fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. You may also want to use a fiber supplement like Psyllium Hulls Combination.
Traditionally, herbalists have used blood purifiers or alteratives to help clear up skin conditions like acne, rashes and skin eruptive diseases. If you have a lot of skin problems it may help to take good blood purifier such as Chinese Liver Balance or Skin Detox. It may also be helpful to do the 14-day Tiao He Cleanse program.
Some skin conditions may be due to yeast overgrowth in the intestines. Yeast overgrowth occurs when antibiotics and other drugs destroy the friendly bacteria living in the colon, allowing yeast to proliferate in their place. Signs of yeast overgrowth include cravings for sugar, fuzzy thinking, fungal infections and reduced immunity (catching colds and flu easily). If yeast overgrowth is a problem, doing the Candida Clear program may help clear up your skin problems. It may also help to take Probiotic Eleven to build healthy intestinal flora.
Underneath the skin is a layer of fat which helps insulate the body and keep us warm. The skin also contains oil ducts called sebaceous glands that secrete a waxy oily substance called sebum. Sebum may help protect the skin and the fats and oils in the skin are part of what keeps skin feeling soft and smooth.
This is why disturbances in fat metabolism or the presence of fat-soluble irritants can cause skin problems. The liver and thyroid are important organs of fat metabolism, so disturbances in the function of the liver and thyroid often result in skin problems such as oily skin, dry skin, acne and itching. This is another way that blood purifiers, especially herbs like burdock, can help to clear up skin problems. Seaweeds, such as Liquid Dulse, feed the thyroid and aid fat metabolism, so they are also helpful for many skin problems.
Watch What You Wash With
The skin shields the body from harmful microbes and dirt. We also wash our skin to keep it clean, but what many people don't realize is that washing with the wrong kind of soap actually compromises the skin's role in our immune system. Just like we have friendly bacteria growing on our inner skin, we also have friendly microbes on our outer skin. The overuse of chemical disinfectants and harsh cleansers alters the pH of the skin and destroys the friendly microbes living there. This makes a person more prone to skin infections.
So, another practice that promotes healthy skin is to be careful what we put on our skin, starting with what we wash it with. Using mild natural soaps that don't disturb the pH balance of the skin or destroy the friendly microbes on the surface of the skin leads to healthy skin. Sunshine Concentrate is a great option here and you can scent it with a few drops of your favorite essential oils.
Remember that the skin (and scalp) absorb what is applied to them. So carefully read the labels of cosmetics and other skin and hair care products. Avoid products that are laden with chemicals and opt for products with more natural ingredients. Nature's Fresh and Silver Shield Gel, applied topically to the skin after washing or bathing can really improve skin health. The enzymes in Nature's Fresh help regenerate skin and the patented silver in Silver Shield Gel kills harmful bacteria without disrupting friendly flora.
The Mind-Skin Connection
The skin is the largest sensory organ in the body. Loaded with nerves that allow us to sense heat, cold, texture, pressure and pain, the skin allows us to "touch" the outside world. The fact that the skin is so connected with our nervous system is also revealed by how our skin communicates what is going on inside of us mentally and emotionally.
Through our skin we flush from excitement, we blush when we're embarrassed, we grow pale because of fear and we sweat over the "small stuff" that sometimes makes us feel overwhelmed and nervous. It is why we say that a person who is confident is "comfortable in their own skin." This strong connection to our emotions suggests we shouldn't discount the importance of positive mental attitudes and emotional healing work in keeping the skin healthy.
For specific skin problems please visit this page
Thanks to Steven Horne and his staff for this excellent article: Vol 22, No.2. For more info on his educational tools, go to www.treelite.com
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