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How-Tos

Janella on How to Get Happy, Healthy Skin

May 6, 2015

Perhaps you’ve gotten a bit slack with a proper cleansing routine morning and night, or perhaps that twice-weekly scrub and once a week mask have gone by the wayside. Our skin needs to be cleaned often and appropriately and then it needs a deep cleanse in the form of a facial – ideally once a month.

Having a deep cleanse and massage like this, along with the constant steam will remove the top layer of old, dead skin making your skin look youthful, plump and hydrated. You will find that by doing this once a month or even once every three months, you will use far less moisturiser and serum as your skin won’t be covered with dead skin making it necessary to use a whole lot more product just so it can seep in.

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Mini Facials

You can always do mini facials at home. Do this by using a gentle scrub at least once a week. Please avoid anything with toxic chemicals (naturally) as these will be very harsh on your skin (and environment) and will rip the natural oils out of our skin (gasp), and cause damage to the delicate skin around our eyes and mouth. A deep cleansing mask once a week, or a ‘drawing’ mask – depending on your skin type – will do wonders for your complexion. There are some made with rose petals, raw cacao powder, spirulina, aloe vera and clay. Read the description as to which one is better suited to your particular skin. If you’re finding your skin is a bit oily and prone to breakouts but you don’t have a mask at home – look to your pantry. If you have a green powder like spirulina, barley grass or greens, mix about a tablespoon with a little water to make a paste then brush it all over your face and neck. You could always mix an essential oil suitable for your particular skin type in there as well. Leave it on for about 30 minutes then rinse well. Finish off with a toner and an organic cotton wipe, then a moisturiser and serum (if you’re over 30 or particularly dry.)

I use and recommend organic skincare, so look for the certifying label, that way you know it is truly natural and chemical free. These products are not tested on animals and will usually use recyclable packaging. Some skincare lines are gorgeous and completely natural, even though they haven’t been certified organic perhaps due to cost or the time involved to do so. In these cases be sure to thoroughly check them out to ensure they’re completely natural. Remember a skincare product only needs to contain about 5% natural ingredients in order to call itself natural.

Skin brushing is really important in maintaining healthy skin. This is a great way to stimulate your circulation by letting your skin breath more effectively by remove the dead skin cells. Either use a loofa or the gloves you can buy cheaply from the chemist. Rub natural soap on them then gently scrub your whole body, at least three times a week.

If you have a green powder like spirulina, barley grass or greens, mix about a tablespoon with a little water to make a paste then brush it all over your face and neck.

Sunscreen

I’m not a great fan of sunscreens as they are mostly made with highly toxic ingredients, plus there are laws in Australia now that make it impossible for them to remain 100% natural. Some organic producers have ceased making their sunscreen because of this. Plus we (mostly) all need a bit more Vitamin D – so get out in the sun without any sunscreen – before it gets too intense. Before 10am and after about 4pm, depending on where you live of course. Sure, wear a hat and glasses and if you have to be out and about around midday then use a straight zinc oxide cover or look for a natural sunscreen from your health food store – and there are a few.

A skin condition may sometimes be due to a food intolerance or allergy. The culprit could be chocolate, pork, wheat, soy, fish, prawns or oysters, eggs, peanuts, milk or other dairy. Check these out for yourself by removing one at a time for a week then see if your skin has improved. Skin conditions may also be a symptom of Candida, so perhaps consider taking a probiotic and address the Candida if you suspect this yeast may be overgown in your gut.

Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that keep our skin happy

Vitamin A

This vitamin is super important for good skin as it appears to slow down wrinkles associated with natural aging and may help to promote the production of skin-building compounds, so will help with dry and scaly skin, eczema, psoriasis and acne. It’s also great for repair and rebuilding, so it will help to reduce the formation of brown/age/sun spots. Vitamin A is found in dark green leafy veggies such as kale, rocket, baby spinach and all your Asian greens and any fruit or veg’ that is green, yellow, red or green in colour – so pumpkin, carrots, capsicum and broccoli. And spirulina has an enormous amount.

Vitamin B

Boosts circulation in the body so will helps to give your skin that particular glow we all love. The contraceptive pill will increase your chances of being deficient in this vitamin. You’ll find it in egg yolk, nuts, wheat germ and bran, brown rice and other whole grains, oats and millet, legumes, seeds and organic peanuts, avocado, oily fish, nori, shellfish, sunflower seeds, dark green leafy vegetables. Your intestinal flora produces B vitamins, so it is important to keep your gut healthy.

Vitamin C

This vitamin has long been known to battle the effects of ageing, and this is because it stimulates the production of collagen. Collagen is the protein responsible for making your skin supple. Like Vitamin E, Vitamin C is also an effective antioxidant so will help to reduce free radicals and help to retain smooth and youthful skin. Most fruits especially guava and paw paw are good sources of Vitamin C as are vegetables like kale, broccoli, cauliflower, tomato, Brussels’ sprouts and cucumber. Goji berries have more Vitamin C per weight than most other foods on earth.

Vitamin E

Due to its high level of antioxidant, this vitamin is an essential vitamin for good skin. Antioxidants help fight free radicals in your body, which are caused by a number of factors such as smoking, pollution, chemicals both internally and externally, and sun exposure. Free radicals are one of the major causes of premature skin aging. Vitamin E is an important anti-aging nutrient. Applying Vitamin-E rich products, and eating food rich in Vitamin E reduce the appearance of age spots, wrinkles, stretch marks and lines. These are olives, nuts and seeds, oils, wheat germ and leafy greens.

Collagen

As I mentioned above, collagen is the protein responsible for making your skin supple and keeping it from sagging. The stages of collagen formation – in our 30s collagen and elastin begin to breakdown and skin pigmentations begin to appear. In our 40s deeper lines begin to appear around the eyes and mouth. The skin now is not so elastic and it needs added nutrients and attention. 50 + – the skin is less able to retain moisture. Collagen and elastin aren’t formed so the skin looks uneven, sagging and discoloured. Preventing further damage and repair are important. Um, I think I’m going to eat some more paw a paw and goji berries, and get back into using my Vitamin C serum topically.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

They are the building blocks of healthy skin and help to maintain the natural barrier that locks moisture in. If you tend to get dry, red and inflamed skin, or you get lots of white or blackheads – you could probably increase your intake of essential fatty acids, especially omega 3 oils. The body cannot produce its own EFAs so they must be obtained through your diet. Good sources of omega 3 are hemp, chia and flax seeds, walnuts, macadamia’s and seaweed. And sustainable seafood. It’s also important to reduce omega 6 oils – these are processed foods and too many grains.

Selenium

This is an antioxidant mineral responsible for tissue elasticity. It also acts to prevent cell damage caused by yucky free radicals. It plays a role in preventing skin cancer, as it protects the skin from damage from excessive ultraviolet light. Sources include wheat germ, garlic, Brazil nuts, eggs and brown rice. Brazil nuts are perhaps the best source, and eating just 3-4 Brazil nuts per day provides adequate selenium intake for most people.

Zinc

Zinc is the mineral responsible for helping reduce acne due to its the regulation of the activity of the oil glands. It’s also responsible for protein synthesis and collagen formation, promotes a healthy immune system and wound healing, protects the liver from chemical damage and maintains proper concentration of vitamin E. Yeah, we want zinc and most of us are deficient in it, and more likely if you are taking the contraceptive pill. Studies show topical zinc to be as effective against acne as antibiotics are. Good sources are wheat germ, miso, pumpkin seeds, oysters, alfalfa, sardines, legumes, mushrooms, pecans, organic soybeans, sunflower seeds and whole grains.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine your shen or spirit shows up in your complexion. This means if you’re happy and you know – it shows.

And the best foods…

Acai

Eating a diet rich in antioxidants may slow down aging and the disease process by neutralizing free radicals. Acai berries are loaded with antioxidants, more than blueberry’s and other berry’s’.

Artichokes

Regular consumption of these woody, fibrous vegetables has been linked to healthier skin and in particular, improved skin luminosity.

Avocados

A great source of vitamin E, which boosts the skin’s vitality and luminosity. However, it also possesses good quantities of vitamin C, which can be used to reduce skin inflammation. Avocado oil can stimulate the production of collagen in the skin, which improves its tone and texture. Eating it regularly will also improve the skin’s ability to keep itself moist.

Beetroot

High in vitamin A and vitamin E, which are essential for epidermal (skin) health and healing.

Broccoli

Antioxidants like vitamins A, B complex, C, E, and K all help to add a special shimmer to the skin and to revive damaged tissue, while omega 3 fatty acids and folate support the healing process and aid in the proper functioning of skin cells.

Cocoa

Raw cacao powder has an enormous amount of antioxidants, which hydrate your skin, making it firmer and more supple. Try to keep your chocolate dark and raw so none of the precious antioxidants are destroyed in cooking. When applied topically, the caffeine in chocolate may temporarily reduce skin puffiness. Go ahead, add some clean water to the powder and brush it on.

Eggs

Especially the yolks, which are full of skin clearing properties.

Fennel

Aside from aiding digestion, reducing swelling in the body and helping to flush out excess fluids and toxins, it also works directly on your skin (and hair). So add it to your smoothie, shave it finely and add o salads, or roast in the cooler months. Or drink it s a tea.

Garlic

A clove of garlic is loaded with a compound called allicin, which, when digested, reacts with the blood to create a product capable of killing off many harmful bacteria and viruses your body might be harbouring – including those which causes acne and other skin infections. It also contains lots of different antioxidants so it’s wonderful for our skin.

Green Tea

Drinking anti-oxidant polyphenol-rich green tea will improve your skin by reducing redness and reducing sagginess. Try placing the cooled tea bags over your eyes for a soothing eyelift.

Hemp

All those omega 3 oils and protein can’t help but make your skin glow.
Kale contains a full range of vitamins A, B complex, C, E and K, as well as potent levels of many other nutrients.

Legumes

Any healing process needs protein and energy, and legumes have both of these things in abundance. And the fibre will help elimination, so thus better detoxification.

Nuts

Mineral deficiencies such as zinc and selenium have been linked to acne, which is why nuts are a good, healthy snack for beautiful skin. They also contain a good deal of Vitamin E.
Oat milk is high in fibre, lactose free and is particularly high in Vitamin E and folic acid (a B vitamin), which both support healthy skin. It’ll also keep your blood sugar even and that’ll help keep blood sugar even. This is important because increased blood sugar will elevate your body’s level of androgens – hormones that can contribute to wrinkles.

Pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Each kernel is high in vitamin E, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids – all essential nutrients for lovely skin.

Pomegranate

They’re packed with polyphenol antioxidants, which fight free radicals and regulate skin’s blood flow, giving it rosiness. When applied topically to skin, the fruits’ antioxidants will help smooth lines and keep it plump.

Red capsicum

The antioxidants in capsicum can reduce the skins sensitivity to the sun, and women and men who eat green and yellow vegetables regularly tend to have fewer wrinkles, especially around the eyes.

Red grapes

It is thought that red grapes and their seeds contain powerful natural chemicals and antioxidants that have been shown to treat inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. As a natural antihistamine, grapes can also help to control the side effects of allergic reactions.

Spirulina

Packed with vitamin A and protein, which is another essential element, needed for gorgeous skin. It also cools the liver thereby allowing it to effectively detox. The result – better skin. With so many brands on the market, choosing the best can be confusing. I always recommend Lifestream spirulina, because it’s what I use. It’s clean, sustainable and one of the best on the market. Grab it from health food stores, pharmacies or online at Planet Health.

Sunflower Seeds

Loaded with Vitamin E, they keep your skin supple by protecting its top layers from the sun. A handful a day will moisten cracked lips and heels along with keeping your skin supple.

Sweet Potato

There is evidence to suggest that high cortisone levels, one of the main hormones released by the adrenal gland in response to stress, can lead to break-outs (among other not so desirable things). Regulating your blood sugar levels can help to combat stress. This root vegetable also contains beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A when it is digested, and can help to improve the circulation of oxygen to the skin.

Tofu

This a good source of healing vegetable protein, calcium and healthy unsaturated fats – a perfect combination for anyone suffering from a skin condition. Soy contains minerals and proteins that have been shown to reduce hyper (lots of) pigment.

Tomatoes

Are rich in vitamin C, which helps to keep the skin firm and taut by aiding collagen production. They also contain lycopene – the red pigment that stimulates skin circulation.

Walnuts

Contain omega 3 fatty acids, which can improve the skin’s elasticity. These nuts are also loaded with copper, a mineral that boosts collagen production and also Vitamin E and protein.

Watercress

Contains more vitamin C than oranges, four times more beta-carotene and vitamin A than broccoli. A new study has shown that by regularly eating watercress you can improve the appearance of a whole host of skin concerns, including wrinkles, texture, clogged pores, sun spots and redness. The reason lies in its high concentration of vitamin C and beta-carotene – which cannot only help to slow down the ageing of our skin, but may actually reverse some of the effects of damage.

Whole grains

Keeping your blood sugar levels even will aid skin health.

And Herbal Teas:

Burdock root

Heralded for centuries as a healing remedy, this herb contains high levels of calcium, potassium and magnesium, all of which are essential nutrients the body uses to support healthy skin. It also has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties – perfect for tackling the spread of acne as well as digestive problems and boils. Burdock can be eaten as a vegetable, but the easiest way to take it is in tea form.

Calendula

Is loaded with antioxidants, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti bacterial agent as well as being antiseptic an antifungal.
Nettle helps to calm the skin and improve conditions like eczema and acne. It’s also a great detoxifier, thanks to the high levels of antioxidants, which protect the body free radical damage.

Peppermint

Cools the liver and relieves stress a common trigger for skin problems

Herbal Medicine

Yellow Dock will cleanse the blood and help with skin complaints

Clivers is most for skin issues

Neem for the skin as an antiseptic and antifungal

Liver herbs like Dandelion and Burdock Root and Schisandra – as this organ must be functioning effectively to detox waste from our system in order to have good skin.

Golden Seal as an anti bacterial and liver herb

Lifestyle factors to consider for great skin

• Iron deficiency increases free radical formation making skin conditions worse
• Check for allergies
• Improve digestion
• Manage stress, even better to reduce it
• Cigarettes are really drying to your skin, even passive. So is air conditioning.
• Reduce your exposure to the midday sun and wind. Try to go out before 10am and after 3pm. Don’t always use a sunscreen as we need the Vitamin D is provides. Use sunscreen, and make it natural – only in the heat of the day
• Check for food sensitivity’s, eliminate offender
• Regular alcohol consumption is really damaging to your skin
• Acne is associated with poor liver health and dirty blood
• Your skin problem may be hormonal, if so address the imbalance with herbs
• For scars topically apply castor, sesame, or rosehip oil. Or hemp, chia or flax oil.
• Get enough sleep and water and manage stress

So as you can see if you have a mainly plant- based diet that’s high in protein, vitamin A, B, C, and E, omega 3 oils and minerals, without the junk food – you’re on your way to having perfectly lovely skin. Of course you need to maintain a positive outlook, and have a healthy physical environment as well. In Traditional Chinese Medicine your shen or spirit shows up in your complexion. This means if you’re happy and you know – it shows.

Below I have included a table of essential oils for different skin types.

In love and great skin,
Janella

Normal – Rose, Lavender or Jasmine
Combination – Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Geranium
Sensitive – Lavender, Sandalwood, Jasmine Rose, Blue Chamomile,
Scarred – Rosehip, Lavender, Myrrh, Blue Chamomile, Patchouli,
Dry – Hypericum, Calendula, Wheatgerm, Jojoba, chia, flax, hemp, coconut
Dehydrated – Rosewood, Palmarosa, Sandalwood, Lemongrass, coconut
Acne – Tea Tree, Thyme, Lavender, Chamomile, Clary Sage
Oily – Bergamot, Cypress, Mandarin