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Shining dial

Lovely, sparkling, lustrous, flawless, smooth and peachy. That’s what I want my skin to be! You?

Easier said than done, what with hormones, allergies, pollution, crappy diets, sluggish livers, cheap cosmetics, etc.. all these things certainly have a tendency to get in the way and clog things up.

Yes, ok, it depends on who you are and what your situation is as to what you can do specifically – but there’s heaps you can do generally. Bucketloads.

Water is an important nutrient – don’t forget it! Drinking plenty of filtered water keeps you well   hydrated. Depending on things like body type, diet, exercise and the season, the amount you need can vary from 1.5 – 3 L daily. Drinking water helps the body flush out unwanted wastes, which prevents the build-up that can result in problem skin.

Fibre helps the body eliminate unwanted waste products and prevents the toxic build-up that can result in inflamed skin conditions. Good sources of dietary fibre include wholegrains, legumes, flaxseeds, psyllium and, of course, fresh fruit and vegetables.

Oily oils (that’s right, the good fats) are the building blocks of good skin: they improve moisture and elasticity, as well as reducing inflammation. Supplemental fish/flaxseed/evening primrose oil can work wonders, but don’t forget your diet – nuts and seeds, cold-pressed oils, avocados and oily fish are all super sources of nutritious oils.

Chlorophyll is a green-coloured extract from plants and algae that has a gentle detoxifying action on the body. One of the easiest ways to increase chlorophyll in your diet is by eating more greens – two serves a day is easy! Get it on your plate! You can also get chlorophyll in liquid form, which is super easy to take – you can mix it into your drinking water.

Lifestyle factors – particularly stress and anxiety – can play a major role in problem skin. You know what I’m going to say next: activities such as meditation, yoga, qi gong and breathing exercises may help. Or, something else you find relaxing, like taking time out to read the paper over a cup of tea in the morning – whatever floats your boat. The other thing to be aware of is the effect of harsh soaps and chemicals in deodorants, detergents and cosmetics – cut them down when you’re breaking out.

Seriously, how easy is that? Not to mention…

Lemon juice in water is a zesty way to begin each morning. Squeezing the juice of half a lemon into a glass of room temperature filtered water first thing in the morning will stimulate your digestion and kick-start your liver for the day. Lemons are also high in vitamin C – one of the most important nutrients for skin health.

Dry skin brushing not only feels nice, but does good. With a skin brush, start at the feet and brush the skin upwards, up the legs and torso, towards the heart. Then from the hands, brush up the arms and over the shoulders, towards the heart. Do this before getting into the shower. It will help to slough off dead skin cells and stimulate good circulation.

Nutritional supplementation can make a big difference. Vitamin A and Zinc are specific for improving the overall health of the skin, but these are not the only ones. Vitamin D also plays a big part in healthy skin – and while it is important to avoid sunburn, 15 mins of early morning sunshine each day is a good start for getting your daily dose.

Herbal medicine, particularly herbs that enhance liver function such as Dandelion and Globe Artichoke, can help to promote elimination. For allergic conditions, Albizzia and Baical Skullcap can calm the immune response. Other herbs such as Nettle and Burdock have a depurative (blood-cleansing) action, which is excellent for problem skin.

Bear in mind: this is a jumble of general ideas. There’s much, much more you can do to get (and keep) gorgeous skin – it just depends on what else is happening in your life, and your health.

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About Kathleen Murphy

Australian naturopath and freelance writer, based in Sydney. I love working with people from all walks of life, helping them institute changes that can become life-long health habits. I can be found at Uclinic | 421 Bourke Street, Surry Hills | Ph: 02 9332 0400 |

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