Banish troublesome skin with our experts all natural tips
Every year, one in four of us will seek treatment for a chronic skin complaint such as eczema, psoriasis, acne or rosacea, but many holistic health experts believe that addressing common symptoms such as inflammation, redness and scaly skin won’t solve the problem. “Skin manifestations are often a consequence of internal dysfunction,” says Gerry
Gajadharsingh, diagnostic consultant of complementary medicine at The Health Equation (thehealthequation.co.uk) in Harley Street who looks at everything from kidney and liver health to gut function when treating skin complaints. Here, the UK’s leading natural health experts give you their tips for healing your body inside and out.
Inside: “Eczema can be caused by your stomach’s inability to process foods such as dairy products,” explains Alison Cullen, A Vogel’s nutritional therapist (avogel.co.uk). “To strengthen your gut, avoid stress, which has a direct effect on digestion, eat slowly and take stomach-balancing bitter herbs such as centaurium tincture. Also remember to avoid dairy products and stock up on anti-inflammatory foods such as turmeric, ginger and liquorice, along with aloe vera for gut soothing.” She also suggests supplementing with evening primrose oil (3g daily), along with a B complex and magnesium to promote skin healing, good digestion and stress relief.
Outside: “Allergies usually cause eczema,” explains skincare specialist and aromatherapist Nikki Lewin of AromaWorks (aroma-works.com). She recommends using products containing aloe vera, apricot oil and calendula extract to relieve itchiness and irritation along with rosehip and evening primrose oil to stimulate cell regeneration.
Inside: “Acne can be caused by the mishandling of sugars and starches which causes insulin spikes, leading to over-secretion of male hormones and therefore more sebum production by the skin,” says Alison. Give your pancreas a break from refined sugars and restock your gut with prebiotics such as Molkosan Vitality and probiotics such as Optibac. Keep clear of dairy produce too, as it often promotes breakouts. In addition take chromium to balance blood sugar levels.
Outside: The bane of most teenagers, acne is often triggered by hormonal imbalances. Opt for natural products containing pure essential oils like mandarin, rose geranium, rosewood and cedarwood, suggests Nikki. “This can reduce oiliness and congestion, while patchouli and green myrtle help tighten open pores.”
Inside: Complementary medicine consultant Gerry recommends eliminating spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol and hot drinks from your diet and taking the herb ginkgo biloba to help to strengthen blood vessels. Make sure you stimulate your bloodstream and lymphatic system with gentle regular exercise, while protecting your skin from harsh weather and extreme temperature
Outside: Certain triggers such as stress, caffeine and heat can make the condition worse, says Nikki. “German chamomile and may chang are great for reducing redness and inflammation and carrot oil really helps to revitalise the skin,” she advises. Cosmetology dermatologist John Hamilton of Therapeutics Skincare (therapeuticsskincare.com) says the condition can often be a reaction to high level of metal or mineral particles in make up and sunscreens, so keep your skincare routine simple and natural.
Inside: Nutritionist Alison explains that psoriasis can be caused by the liver’s inability to process animal fats and proteins. Keep meat and dairy to a minimum and avoid fatty, fried foods and alcohol. Go for fresh fruit rather than refined sugar. Make sure your bowel moves at least once a day, and use liver-supportive herbs like milk thistle and choline/inositol with zinc and B vitamins to promote good digestion and skin healing.
Outside: Holistic skincare expert John recommends avoiding all skin-stripping products, especially shower gels. In addition, Nikki suggests essential oil of lavender to help combat stress and reduce inflammation while bergamot and roman chamomile can balance the skin’s natural oil.
Three of the best skin soothers:
Emu Oil, £9.95, is gentle enough to use on the most sensitive skins. emu-oil-well.co.uk
Jason Aloe Vera Crème, £7.49, keeps skin hydrated. jasonnaturalcare.co.uk
The Sensitive Skincare Company’s shower filters, from £35.25, remove chlorine. sensitiveskincareco.com
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