Claire's 19 Holistic Skin Tips
You wish to care for your skin? Keep it youthful, glowing, radiating? Or work to heal any issues you may be having with it?
I’ve got one answer for you: Holism.
- One cream on
it’sown, ain’t gonna work.
- One cleanse on
it’sown, ain’t gonna work.
- One facial on
it’sown, ain’t gonna work.
- One week of eating gluten-free, ain’t gonna work.
You’ve got to bring it all together, as skin conditions can be damn stubborn donkey’s to shift.
So, my 19 holistic methods for caring for your skin that promote a holistic, but balanced, approach:
1. Eat vegetables. So many vegetables.
Ever heard your skin is a mere reflection of your internal health? If there’s one thing that today’s whirling-dervish of different diets can agree on, it’s that vegetables are absolutely imperative for health. High in fiber, vitamins and minerals, anti-inflammatory, alkalizing and antioxidant rich – we really don’t get far without them.
So how many vegetables are you actually eating a day? Could you beef it up a bit? Vegetables with every meal is the gold standard we should aspire to.
2. Drink enough water.
OMG yawn, the message about drinking water is so old and so boring.
But I’m not going to spout the ‘stay hydrated to flush toxins‘ fluff here.
a) You need adequate water to prevent constipation. See above note & point 8.
b) The sebum in your skin is made up of water and oil, with deficiencies in both leading to dry, inflamed or easily damaged skin. Sebum is the oil-like substance that keeps your skin smooth, supple and ageing healthily. Feed it yo!
c) Think of your skin as getting the last of everything. You need to ensure you’re receiving enough of all skin loving nutrients (water included), that you saturate your internal organs and still have enough to send out to your skin. That’s only going to happen if you’re getting your 1.5L (or equivalent for you) per day!
3. Reconsider dairy
See point 4 for why. If your body struggles to digest it, your gut may become inflamed and damaged due to consuming dairy. No, this doesn’t happen in all cases, but it’s a common culprit. People suffering from acne or eczema in the creases of elbows and knees should especially trial a dairy free diet.
4. Reconsider sugar
Apparently, some 'experts' like to state sugar isn't linked with skin issues like acne? I beg to differ. Sugar inflames the gut, which we know can affect the skin. Within the body, sugar literally triggers inflammation itself, and on the skin, accelerates collagen breakdown. Inflammation & premature ageing? No thank you.
5. Reconsider gluten
Again. refer to point 4. If your gut is struggling to digest and process it – inflammation will be triggered which will further flare the skin. It can also constipate many and can quite often occur with processed sugar, which touches on points 2, 3 and 6!
6. Get Fat
Like I said in Point 3, the sebum in our skin needs both water and fat/oil. Inflamed or dry skin needs fats that will act as anti-inflammatory. Acne prone skin that has an oil imbalance needs good fats to balance it! Salmon, nuts, seeds, chia and flax seeds, coconut, organic goat and sheep dairy and fish oil supplements are all must haves in your diet!
7. Know the Nutrients
Nutrients such as Zinc, Vitamin D, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Protein and good fats are imperative for skin health! Ensuring you have adequate levels of all both in the body and being consumed via food (and/ or supplementation if needed) is really important to get a hold on your skin issues. This list obviously expands depending which other systems or organs are involved with your skin e.g. hormones, gut or liver.
8. You Gotta Go
Constipation = skin issues. This one is so prevalent folks.
If you aren’t going, the waste your sending to your colon will simply sit there and be re-absorbed. So if the body can’t eliminate via that channel, guess where it can also send it? The skin!
Vegetables + fruit + water = winning combo.
If you’re eating all the right things and are still struggling to go, make sure you chat to a professional to investigate further for you.
9. Make your gut the epicentre
Any skin issue automatically means something is going awry with your gut function. They are both intrinsically linked, and if your gut is inflamed, damaged or unbalanced, your skin can be the first to fall.
If you’re suffering from skin issues or even gut issues, again speak to a professional about developing a gut healing plan for you. It’s really life changing!
10. Move your Tush
Our lymphatic system basically acts as our drainage system, pilfering through our bloodstream and removing anything nasty that shouldn’t be there. But here’s the catch – it can only move if we do. It actually relies on the muscles we contract during exercise to pump its contents back up the body to be eliminated. A healthy lymphatic system is so important for skin health, as it ensures we are removing waste from the body and detoxifying properly.
So get sweaty to save your skin!
11. Love the Liver
Your liver filters your blood, packages up toxins and metabolites and sends them to the urine and colon to be eliminated.
So, if your liver isn’t working as well as it could, substances that should be leaving the body suddenly cannot as effectively. Poor detox status can often result in skin issues, as the body sends the substances to other organs of elimination. Medications, alcohol, smoking, processed foods, chemicals and additives all decrease gut function.
Additionally, if the liver is working ok, but the bowel is not, we will re-absorb these toxins and send them back to the liver to be filtered! Pretty soon the liver will be tired from filtering through all of this extra build-up that the body cannot get rid of! Likewise, if we are not staying hydrated, we cannot eliminate metabolites and toxins via our urine, as the body will be not urinating as much.
Overall, the liver loves a clean, wholesome diet and lifestyle, and its fate is very much tied in with that of the urinary and digestive systems.
12. Bin your Neutrogena
Really, if you’ve got a skin condition, you need to be using 100% natural or organic skincare and makeup. Natural skincare quite often contain natural oils and herbal extracts that will work to heal you skin, whilst truly moisturising it without stripping it of its natural oils or smothering it with synthetic chemicals that impinge on the healing process.
As for makeup, I know using synthetic makeup can give an embarrassing skin condition more coverage, but those pores need to breathe to heal! Switch over to a natural based concealer and mineral makeup to prevent further agitation to your skin. Evohe, Inika and Zuii are all good Australian brands.
13. Replace your sheets
Not regularly washing anything that comes into regular contact with your skin equals all of the bacteria lingering on said item coming into direct contact with an already sensitive skin situation. For acne especially, face washers, pillow cases and sheets need to be washed and changed regularly! Washing them with a few drops of an antibacterial essential oil such as tea tree, peppermint or lavender can add an extra (but nice smelling) touch.
14. Replace your makeup
I had a lady come into a health food store I was working at a few years ago worried sick about her sore, red and really inflamed eyes. She said absolutely nothing out of the ordinary had happened, they just developed over the last day. I told her to bin her mascara, eyeliner and eyeshadow and start a-fresh. And the exact same principles applies to your makeup.
Old, crusty, bacteria-laden makeup applicators being used on inflamed or acne-prone skin? No way Jose.
When was the last time you replaced all of your skin care tools? I’m completely guilty of it too in the past, but those bad boys can linger in our makeup cases for years!(!!). They’ve gotta go.
Depending on how often you use them, consider replacing your makeup kit every 6 to 12 months, and / or washing key tools (like foundation applicators) every 2 – 4 weeks with warm soapy water.
15. Don’t Poke It!
Ok, also 100% guilty of this, but if I ever have a pimple pop up – the rational side of my brain knows that it’ll subside and heal so much faster if I just leave it, but the irrational and nonsensical side of me wants to attack it pronto!
But seriously, if acne is an issue, set yourself a challenge to not touch your skin once in 7 days and reap the sweet benefits. Not only will it heal faster, you won’t aggravate any spots to turn into sores that are then hugely prone to getting infected by bacteria (especially if you haven’t washed your pillow-case!).
16. Sigh, Stress
Look, while all us naturopath’s harp on about stress, I can’t not mention in the context of skin conditions.
Excess cortisol (which we make during times of increased stress) negatively affects our immune system and gut function, both of which control levels of inflammation in the body. We also burn through energy faster, which means increased cravings for carb-y, gluten-y and sugar-y foods.
Normally people with an active skin condition know it always flares up when they’re stressed, which herbs can be really beneficial for. Consider speaking to a herbalist about some skin and stress loving herbs if this is you, and work on exercising, sleeping well and meditating during times of stress.
17.Examine the Genesis
When did your skin condition start?
Puberty? Could be your hormones that require balancing via herbs and nutrition.
When you’re stressed? Develop a holistic stress-managing protocol with your naturopath.
From childhood? Most likely food, gut and immune system related.
Think back and either see when it started, or what events or foods trigger it to come on. Herein lies many answers of how we can support it!
18. Address your anger
Inflammation and redness in the body and skin can emotionally be associated with anger, frustration and resentment. And if they don’t have an outlet or a way to be expressed and hence leave the body, they can certainly start to build up!
Having a skin condition certainly doesn’t mean you have to be a rageful or anger-filled person, there's a million reasons why skin conditions crop up. But if you think about experiences, moments or people that you’re hanging on to that may send a ripple of frustration or anger through your body when you cast your mind back to them – it could be time to let them go.
Having some space to write down what’s causing you to feel this way and feel it safely or undertaking some kinesiology to discover and release blocks can be great steps to move forward.
19. Accept YourSelf
Another emotional cause of skin conditions can also be feeling uncomfortable in your own skin, struggling to accept yourself or finding it hard to ‘fit in’ with those around you. And wow, these are common themes I think all of us feel as some stage!
Firstly, know that accepting you for the glorious human being that you may sound tricky if you’re struggling with it, is perfectly possible. You are indeed 100% allowed to live your life exactly-the-dang-way you want to. You are indeed allowed to show up on this earth however you wish, and celebrate your unique way of thinking, living and feeling. You are indeed allowed to express your gifts, feelings and desires to get out of life exactly what you wish. You are not serving the world and yourself to the best you can if you hide yourself away!
Recognise if you may associate with these feelings, and again journaling and kinesiology can be great for these. EFT can also be really useful, such as this video on self-love and this video on worthiness.
Have any of these steps already helped improve your skin? Let me know or hit me with any questions in the comments below.
I also delve into some of these in way more detail in my FREE eBook: "10 Everyday Items That are Stressing Your Skin (and what to use instead)". Use the from on the right side of this page to register & get your copy!
Until next time,
Naturopath Claire xo