Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Holistic Skin Care

Holistic Skin Care

By Lisa W of Ancient Paths, Naturally!

Years ago I started to struggle with an irritating skin issue, psoriasis.   It was quite uncomfortable and frustrating.  In my quest to discover what might be the cure for this skin condition I learned quite a lot about how the whole body works together and that skin symptoms reveal more about our health than a simple skin issue.  Let me share with you a little about what I learned about skin care from a holistic perspective, including topical treatments, nutritional and herbal therapies, how our organ systems work together, and the spiritual roots of the issues I was dealing with.

Our Skin
Our skin is the first thing people notice when they look at us.  It is our miracle garment.  It’s soft, pliable, strong, waterproof, and self-repairing.  It communicates our age, our health status, and our emotional status. 
The skin is our largest single organ, making up about 16% of the body weight of an average sized person.  Healthy skin regulates our body temperature and holds in moisture.  This is no small feat, considering that, by weight, we are about 60% water.  It’s also the outer wrapper of our immune system, protecting us from a host of invaders.  Our skin helps us excrete waste products, but it’s also an avenue for absorbing a wide range of dangerous chemicals.  Our skin also turns the sun’s rays into vitamin D, an essential nutrient for good health.  Our skin is amazing!

Topical Skin Treatments
When we have irritated skin it’s common for us to reach for something to put on it to soothe the irritation.  It’s important that we know what we’re putting on our skin because there are some nasty things in traditional skin care products.
According to The Environmental Working Group, personal care products expose children (and adults) to an average of 60 chemicals every day, which they inhale or absorb through the skin. Recent studies have demonstrated that product packaging rarely reveals the concentration, or adverse effects, of the pervasive chemicals found in every day products.  It’s just as important to know what’s NOT in your favorite product as it is to know what IS in it.  Our family uses Shaklee skin care products because they provide us with an ingredient glossary that describes every ingredient found in all of their products.  It also explains the difference between natural, naturally derived and scientifically formulated ingredients. 
It’s good to know what they DON’T put in any of their products as well as what they do.  Things like parabens (endocrine disruptor, breast cancer), FD&C and D&C dyes (carcinogen, protein inhibitor, cause of hyperactivity in children, immune distruptor), butyl cellosolve (causes reproductive issues, birth defects, carcinogen), formaldehyde (carcinogen, skin rash, asthma), phenols (dermatitis, cytotoxicity, kidney damage) and propylene glycol (endocrine distruptor, allergies and asthma) are never used in any Shaklee products.  They also avoid using more than 15 other dangerous chemicals in their products.  Unfortunately, all of these dangerous chemicals are routinely found in supermarket shampoos, moisturizers, shaving and cleansing gels, tanning solutions, pharmaceuticals and even your toothpaste.  A quick internet search will reveal that you don’t want to be exposed to these chemicals, ever

Homemade Herbal Salves
Along with Shaklee’s personal care product line, our family has begun to make our own herbal salves to aid in healing of cuts.  Living on a small farm and having a busy lifestyle, sometimes someone gets a cut or a nasty gash.  Rather than traditional ointments, we have taken to harvesting herbs in our garden, drying them and creating our own salves to help fight infection and encourage healing.  Herbal salves contain only oils, herbs and beeswax and will not clog pores.  An oil infusion of herbs such as lavender, comfrey, plantain, self-heal, and chamomile added to a beeswax base has had tremendous healing properties and we have seen amazing results.  For example, my son cut off the tip of his finger just days before leaving for an intense weeklong outdoor summer event.  He made himself an herbal salve and added honey to the mix.  He applied it to his fingertip and covered it with a bandaid twice a day.  Not only did it not get infected but by the time he came home the skin had grown back with fingerprints – no scarring!  We were very impressed.  Needless to say, when my husband severely injured his foot a few years ago, we used our son’s salve to help heal the wound.  Because the salves are homemade with primarily homegrown herbs, we are confident that we’re not putting toxic chemicals onto our skin.  Whenever we need herbal oils that we cannot grow I use oils from Young Living Essential Oils

Nutrition For The Skin
Shaklee’s nutritional programs have been developed with over 55 years of nutritional research and independent clinical studies.  Because of their science-based approach, the food based supplements and Enfuselle Skin Care program contain the right nutrients, in the right forms and concentrations, to rejuvenate damaged skin, peeling away the years, so that you can maintain that healthy glow all without harsh chemicals found in traditional skin care regimens.  The Enfuselle System combined with Shaklee’s food based nutritional products provides a solid nutritional base for your skin, as well as the rest of your body.  A solid nutritional approach to skin issues such as acne, eczema and psoriasis have been shown to protect, heal and rejuvenate our skin.  Speaking before the American Academy of Dermatology, New York-based dermatologist Karen E Burke, MD reviewed the antioxidants that have been proven to be the most effective in protecting skin and reversing photo-aging damage from UV exposure.  She said, “There are three antioxidants that have been proven to decrease the effect of the sun on the skin and actually prevent further damage.  They are:  selenium, vitamin E and vitamin C.”  She went on to say that “although many topical formulations contain antioxidants, very few are actually effective in preventing or reversing damage to the skin.  That is because almost all these formulations only contain minute concentrations of the necessary antioxidants, and they are not well absorbed by the skin.”
Antioxidants keep free radicals form damaging cell walls and other cell structures like DNA, which helps protect us from cancer.  Selenium preserves tissue elasticity and slows down the aging and hardening of tissues.  Natural sourced vitamin E reduces sunburn, chronic UV-induced damage and production of cancer cells, associated with a 70% reduced risk for basal cell carcinoma.  It also reduces wrinkles and improves skin texture.  Topically, naturally sourced vitamin E soothes dry, rough skin and combined with vitamin C creates a highly protective lotion against sun damage.  Vitamin C is well known for fighting free radical damage and is the most abundant antioxidant found naturally in the skin.  It slows accelerated skin aging and can prevent the consequences of prolonged sun exposure.  Other important nutrients for our skin include zinc, B complex vitamins, and omega oils.

Body Systems & Emotions
As I was learning and applying what I was learning to myself in trying to treat and heal the psoriasis that I was struggling with, also learned that the organ systems in our bodies affect one another.  For example, in my research I learned that when the liver isn’t functioning properly that it often affects the skin.   The liver is the second largest organ in our bodies, after the skin which is the largest.  I was glad to be on a good nutritional program and hoped that my liver would find the nutritional support it needed to be happier.  By now the itchy and frustrating skin problems were significantly less but when it would flare up, boy would I be miserable!  So I went on a quest to find out what else might help my liver become happier.   Because I didn’t drink or have a liver disease and was cutting out chemical exposure in my home, I decided to follow a new and intriguing thread in my search.
One of the things I learned was that emotions affect our organ systems in different ways and emotions such as anger and frustration have negative effects on the liver while kindness has a positive effect on the liver.  Anger and frustration damage the liver. So here I was with a catch-22 because I was frustrated with the psoriasis and sometimes I did find myself getting angry about it.  I also learned that the liver is often the source for headaches, which I had been having on and off for a while up till this point.  Now I had two immediate reasons to support my liver – psoriasis and headaches.  I had multiple reasons to really get myself in check and control my frustration better.  Not only did it not do any good real good for me to be frustrated, it was causing me physical damage and causing the very thing I was frustrated about to be worse.  

Spiritual Roots of Disease
The final key in unlocking the mystery of the, by that time, come-and-go psoriasis was learning about the spiritual roots of disease.  I learned that spiritually psoriasis is rooted in self-hatred, a lack of self-esteem and conflict with identity.  These go along well with the anger and frustration that damages the liver and I saw the connection right away.  While you may not consider these issues spiritual as much as emotional it’s important to know that as a believer in and follower of the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob I know that my G-d has said that He loves me and accepts me, so for me to harbor hate in my heart, even for myself, is a sin.  It says that I don’t believe that He is truthful when He says that He loves me and considers me a special treasure, it is my way of calling Him a liar.  And if I cannot even love myself, how can I love anyone else, like my husband and my children?  I needed to come to grips with the sin in my life and repent, turn around and stop sinning, and walk in the right way.  At the time we were learning this material my elbows itched like mad.  About a week after working through some of the weighty issues in the course we were taking I noticed that my elbows were fine – 100% fine!  There wasn’t any trace of the psoriasis left on my arms at all, the skin looked and felt completely normal!  Not only did this process open the door for healing of my skin, but I was healed of a debilitating allergy to tree nuts as well.  Praise G-d for His healing touch!! 

While I once dealt with adult acne, psoriasis and other issues I now deal with none of these things in my life.  My family and I have been completely changed as we have taken charge of our health and learned about holistic health care, and applied what we’ve learned.  We have been created perfectly and it leaves me in wonder and awe of our Creator.  From food based nutritional supplementation, chemical free personal products, herbal treatments, balancing the body systems, keeping our emotions balanced and fighting against sin in our lives, we will all tell you that we are not only healthier, but we’re happier too!

Skin:  Protection, Rejuvenation and Healing
Health Quest Newsletter;  Volume 27  Number 3

The Environmental Working Group

The Shaklee Ingredient Glossary

Herbal Medicine Made Simple

American Academy of Dermatology Meeting

Skin Care May Be Affected By Your Liver Function

Understanding Emotions in Traditional Chinese Medicine

A More Excellent Way To Be In Health
Henry W. Wright

Lisa’s Shaklee Online Store

Young Living Essential Oils

Following The Ancient Paths blog