Fostering beautiful, healthy skin begins within. Understanding what habits accelerate or decelerate age is the first step in getting a year ‘round enviable glow.
In a world where beauty is widely considered skin deep and models are airbrushed to unrealistic perfection, it’s little wonder many of us are driven to the nearest cosmetics counter in search of a quick fix.
From sunspots and wrinkles to lines and sags, most of the biggest beauty woes are often put down to the effects of getting older, to be covered up with foundations, concealers and topical fillers. But what if the answer to vibrant, youthful skin, from head to toe, has nothing to do with creams and serums, beauty therapists or aestheticians?
How we age actually has very little to do with time, and more to do with how we nurture and nourish our bodies. As the body’s largest organ, our skin is a mirror of our internal health. It also serves as a major elimination tool, ridding the system of environmental build-ups, fast ageing free radicals and toxins that we ingest daily through food, water and air.
It’s when we start to be mindful of what goes in our mouths and learn how to support our skin in its detoxification efforts, that skin begins to take on a more youthful appearance, eyes begin to sparkle and energy levels stay even.
A New You
Every 90 days, the body maintains its health (or lack thereof) with a new bloodstream, made from what we eat and drink as well as the air we breathe. It’s from this blood that the body’s cells, including the skin, are made and nourished. In just 11 months, the body has produced a completely new set of cells. Every 7 years the whole body is regenerated (or degenerated) with new bones and hard tissues.
By supporting the body and skin through daily detox as a matter of habit, the body moves more fluidly, the mind becomes clearer and the skin begins to glow from within. Ageing or staying youthful literally starts at the dinner table: what we eat and drink counts.
Foods to Avoid
Any products that are heavily processed not only foster ill health; they also have devastating effects on the skin. These low vibrational foods have little to no nutritional value. They also make the digestion sluggish, are often made with chemical additives and preservatives, don’t enable the body to operate optimally and are age accelerators.
• Refined white flour products;
• Processed breakfast cereals;
• All sugar including agave nectar;
• Canned foods;
• Fried and frozen foods;
• Salt (Himalayan and Celtic sea salts are okay in moderation);
• All soft drinks;
• Processed fruit and vegetable juices;
• Processed dairy products including milk;
• Coffee and tea;
• Tap water;
• Fruit and vegetables grown with toxic pesticides.
Beauty and Personal Products
Synthetically and chemically produced cosmetics are absorbed via the skin and enter into the bloodstream, producing a chemical cocktail that may lead to illness and accelerate skin ageing. A simple rule of thumb when wondering what’s okay and what’s not: if you can’t naturally eat it, don’t put it on your skin.
Also, all chemical household cleaners should be disposed of, as these are absorbed through the skin, or ingested when sprayed. Most cleaning jobs can be done with mixtures of vinegar and baking soda.
The Dos of Skin Detox
While everyone has nutritional needs specific to them, there’s great importance in building a solid health foundation that is applicable to everyone who wants to feel better, look healthier and live longer. Adding nourishing foods to your daily regime will naturally help the skin eliminate and detox. According to health pioneer and naturopath, Dr Patricia Bragg, when someone eats only foods and drinks that are high vibrational, the body becomes a “self-starting, self-governing, self-generating instrument”. A pantry packed for skin detox should include:
• Organic fruits and vegetables;
• Herbal teas;
• Natural spring water;
• Wholefood grains such as quinoa, buckwheat and amaranth;
• Good fats foods such as avocado, chia seeds and flax seeds;
• Nuts and seeds (except peanuts).
Love Your Lemon
The belief that everyone needs a hearty meal upon waking can actually be detrimental to digestion, taking away vital energy in order to process dead foods such as toasted breads, processed cereals and milks, all while making the skin suffer.
After an average eight hours of sleep, hydration is the most important step you can take to give your body and skin a helping hand in its detox endeavours. Freshly squeezed lemon into warm water every morning is a great way to get on the path to pimple-free skin that glows. High in Vitamin C, the lemon is nature’s natural blood purifier and detoxifier, ridding the body of toxins and free radicals, while flushing out bacteria and toxins.
Follow this routine with helpings of fresh, organic fruits. Fruits are naturally fibre-rich and work as an intestinal broom, sweeping the colon free of debris from years of bad food habits. However, be sure to only ever eat fruits on an empty stomach to ensure fermentation (the kind that causes bloating and gas) doesn’t occur.
My Favourite Skin-Loving Rituals
Besides what we eat and drink, there are other regular rituals that can be added to a daily or weekly routine to foster healthy skin. These include:
Daily exercise keeps the blood flowing, ensuring healthy circulation and assisting the skin to dump toxins through sweat. Brisk walking is a great way to start, or spend 20 minutes each morning on a rebounder. These mini trampolines help to boost circulation while toning internal organs, as well as the skin. Bikram (or hot yoga) is also a great way to accelerate and support the body’s natural detox mechanisms.
Epsom Salt Bath
Taking a warm bath, two to three times per week, with half to one cup of Epsom salts can help detoxify and soften the skin, all the while relieving stress, soothing muscles and replenishing the body’s stores of magnesium and sulphate.
Apple Cider Vinegar Soak
Add a cup of apple cider vinegar (make sure you find a brand, such as Bragg’s, that includes the Mother) to your Epsom salt bath. This combination helps to draw out toxins through the skin and support the body’s natural detoxification process.
Dry Body Brushing
This simple act of dry brushing before each morning’s shower is a powerful way to stimulate the lymphatic system and boost circulation—both essential for detoxification. Brush in small circles, starting at the soles of your feet, up towards your heart, before continuing from each hand, up the arm toward the heart. When brushing the stomach area, be sure to work in a clockwise position. Always use a natural bristled brush.
Far Infrared Sauna
Infrared saunas are a great way to accelerate detoxification, with toxins flushing out, through sweating, from a cellular level. A mere half-hour session can help to rid the body of congestion, improve circulation, while eliminating other toxins including heavy metals and radioactive nasties. It’s also a great way to improve blood oxygenation.
Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)
Rubbing 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide on your skin after a show helps deliver oxygen through the pores. Adding a cup of 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide to a half-filled bath will also support the body’s detox efforts.
Having a selection of specific skin-loving herbal teas at your fingertips is a great way to drink more water, with the benefit of herbs. Organic supermarkets often stock a range of teas specific to detox that also help foster beautiful skin. Dandelion, elderflower, calendula, red clover and golden seal are just some to keep an eye out for.
Clays have been used for centuries to help ward of illness and detoxify the body internally and externally. Take good quality bentonite clay internally to flush the system of heavy metals and toxins. It can also be used as a nourishing facemask.
The best and one of the healthiest ways to moisturise your skin is with cold pressed extra virgin coconut oil. Naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, coconut oil is a brilliant all-over moisturiser that feeds the skin and body, rather than overloading it with petrochemicals and preservatives that are commonly found in mainstream skincare.