Skin ailments, such as Acne, or other skin issues afflicts as many as 70 million people. Although acne occurs most often during the teenage years, adults can experience it as well. Skin outbreaks can occur on the face, back, chest, shoulders and neck
There are several root causes of skin outbreaks, including overproduction of oil, irregular shedding of skin cells ,buildup of bacteria, stress and liver toxicity often caused by prescription pharmaceuticals.
Changes in hormone levels also cause skin problems, which is often seen around puberty, but also in the golden years when hormone levels are once again in flux. Hormones regulate the activity of the sebaceous glands, which is located at the base of the hair follicle. The sebaceous glands produce an oily substance called “sebum”. Under normal conditions, “sebum” combines with keratinous cells, traveling along the hair follicle to the surface of the skin. Acne occurs when the flow of sebum is restricted, leading to a build-up of sebum and cell debris, which contribute to the growth of bacteria.
There are many natural topical therapies for addressing skin conditions. Most treatments are designed to reduce surface sebum: Facial cleansing using mild surface active agents including exfoliants ( almond seed), digesters( papaya enzymes), anti-inflammatory ( white willow) and anti-bacterial ( oil of oregano) ingredients are useful.
Natural protocols for healthy skin recognize the interplay between spiritual, physical and emotional factors that all play a part in the cause and treatment of this condition. Although conventional medicine does not recognize the role that diet and food allergies have in skin conditions, natural healers believe there is a direct correlation.
It is wise to focus on a diet low in milk products, wheat and animal fat, and high in organic leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and Omega-3 oils, such as flaxseed and hemp oils. Herbal remedies for skin care fall under the category of herbs known as “Alteratives”. The Eclectic doctors at the turn of the century referred to Alteratives as ‘Blood and Lymphatic cleansers. ‘ Alteratives are non-toxic herbs which assist the organs of detoxification and elimination (liver, bowels, kidneys, skin, lungs, and connective tissue, by removing deleterious substances such as environmental toxins as well as those generated internally by the body.
Many botanicals have been historically used for helping to promote cleanand healthy skin.
Arnica Flower (Arnica montana) is an emollient and contains sesquiterpene lactones, the chemical constituents responsible for the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties. Arnica is helpful for promoting healing and reducing general skin irritations.
Burdock Root (Arctium lappa) root is commonly used in herbal steams and poultices. It is helpful for treating blemishes and reducing scaly skin.
Chamomile Flower (Chamomilla recutita) is well-recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties. Herbal steams and poultices help reduce puffiness, cleanse pores of impurities and abscesses and both strengthens and heals tissues, naturally.
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a mild potassium sparing diuretic, that helps the detoxification organs, such as the liver and the kidneys. When these organs are functioning optimally, it enhances the clarity of the skin.
Echinacea (Echinacea angustifolia, Echinacea purpurea) has been recognized for its healing actions. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory. Key chemical constituents responsible forthe herb’s healing actions include glycosides, eichloric acid, chlorogenic acid, isobutylamines, alkylamides, phytosterols and sesquiterpene esters.
Goldenseal Root (Hydrastis Canadensis) is a native American medicinal herb introduced to the early settlers by the Cherokee Indians, who used it as a natural “wash” for the skin. The active chemical constituents, hydrastine and berberine deliver antibacterial support.
Lemon Peel is high in natural bioflavonoids which enhance healthy skin cell growth, and also has mild astringent properties. It refreshes the skin and tightens pores.
Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)is used in herbal steams and poultices for addressing inflamed or swollen skin. It is also applied to red veins on the neck and face. Witch Hazel is styptic and contains natural cleansing properties; an exceptional astringent.
Incorporate healthy fats into your diet to increase the strength and health of skin membranes. These include avocado and Coconut Oil. Choose unrefined, organic coconut oil in a glass jar. This is readily available at most health food stores. Take 1-2 tablespoons a day of the coconut oil, or allow it to melt on steamed vegetables for a healthy coconut flavoring. Also apply the coconut oil directly to the skin for increased strength and to offset dry skin.
Ellen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, can be heard on radio daily. She is the author of several books, including The Natural Medicine Chest.. Dr. Kamhi has been involved in natural health care for over 4 decades.