DMPS Guide to Healthy Skin

Over the past three months the DMPS meetings have focused on skin health.  We covered many topics including:

  •  the importance of diet and exercise
  • healthy habits and rituals to improve skin health and function
  • herbal cosmetics to help clear and nourish the skin
  • liver herbs to promote skin healthy

 

Diet and Exercise

 Yoga at the Denver Botanic Gardens

Yoga at the Denver Botanic Gardens

 

Do your best to eat an organic, local and seasonal diet,  avoiding highly manufactured and processed foods which are low in sun energy (prana) and high in chemicals.  During mealtimes, prepare a plate full of colorful vegetables, a healthy grain, and small portion of farm raised, organic meat.  Don't forget the legumes, which are very high in fiber and protein.  Also eat green, leafy vegetables - well cooked to help release all the amazing vitamins and minerals inside of them.  Cook with healthy oils, snack on nuts and fruit, and go easy on all the fun stuff (butter, milk chocolate, wine, ice cream).

Our body was meant to walk, dance, run, jump, and stretch.  Do something active for 30 minutes..... Every.  Single.  Day.

 Healthy skin is a reflection of our overall health.  Seeing a person with clear, soft, and vibrant skin may indicate very good genes but it may also mean he or she exercises on a regular basis, eats a diet of wholesome, nourishing, unprocessed food, drinks plenty of water and gets a good night sleep.  Remember, all of these parts make up the whole, so there is no magic pill to take.  Just do your best :)

 

Rituals

 Dry brushing

Dry brushing

 

Engaging in a few minutes of self care each day help lower stress, help boost our sense of self worth, and benefit our mind, body and soul.  It is important to spend a few moments a day with ourselves. Want to improve your skin and feel great?  Here are just a few rituals you could try:

  • Self massage each day.  Rub your feet and hands to increase circulation, lightly knock your fists on sore/tight muscles each morning to awaken, wash your face and moisturize with oil or lotion after.
  • Yoga/Meditation.  Even five minutes of stretching benefits the body.  Do a few rounds of Sun Salutations when you wake up.  Salutations move lymph, trims our waistline, and balances out our energy which may get stuck in certain places in the body. Not much for yoga?  Meditate in a quiet room for 5 minutes.  Focus on breath and stillness to help promote clarity and keep you grounded throughout the day
  • Dry Brushing.  This Ayurvedic technique helps remove dead cells from the skin's surface.  A dry skin brush can be purchased online, anywhere from $10-20 dollars.  Before a shower, brush the skin in a circular motion.  Start at the feet and work towards the heart.  Not only will this practice remove dead skin, it helps move lymph, increases circulation, reduces cellulite, and it is quite invigorating! 

 

Herbal Allies for the Skin

 Calendula officinalis: anti-inflammatory, wound-healing, antibacterial, emmolient

Calendula officinalis: anti-inflammatory, wound-healing, antibacterial, emmolient

 

There are so many herbs that benefit the skin. Check out our other blog posts to discover more information.

  • Keep an astringent herb handy to help clean the skin and tighten the pores of the skin, especially before bedtime.  Witch hazel is a great example of an astringent.  Highly tannic herbs such as green tea, rose, and raspberry leaf are also great astringents. 
  • If a morning moisturizer is needed for the skin, try a light, non-clogging oil such as Argan, Almond, Jojoba, or Rose Hip Oil. 
  • During times of inflammation, herbs such as Calendula, Plantain, and Yarrow help heal the skin. 
  • Emollients such as Marshmallow Root, Elder Flower, Oats, and Comfrey can help soften, soothe, moisturize and protect skin.  Use these herbs in a salve, or even a bath
  • Thyme, Oregon Grape Root, Oregano, and Calendula help keep bacteria at bay. Mix one or several of these herbs with isopropyl alcohol, let it sit for a few weeks.  After you strain out the plant material, you have an herbal hand sanitizer. 
  • Diuretic herbs and Liver-loving herbs may help the body's natural process of detoxification.  Burdock root, Dandelion, Gentian and Stinging Nettle help boost the function of kidneys, liver and gall bladder.  When these vital organs are functioning properly, the rest of the body benefits, including the skin.