More Than Skin Deep- Spring 2013 Catalog
More than Skin Deep
Solving Problems on the Surface by Healing Inside
Beauty may only be skin deep, but problems that show up on the surface often are not. They come from hidden places in the gut and become painful and impossible to ignore on our skin. Yet most conventional treatments offer little hope, with words like “idiopathic” (unknown cause), “lifelong and chronic,” and “no cure.” If you’ve ever sought treatment for skin problems, you’ve likely been offered a steroid cream or ointment to help with discomfort but given little actual help curing the fundamental problem. Doctors often do not even recognize the presence of underlying causes.
Although I’ve experienced a few mild bouts of adult onset acne, my main battle with skin problems has been on behalf of my son. Our sweet Elliot was born six years ago and struggled with stomach issues from the beginning. He eventually developed extreme eczema—to the point that his feet would crack and bleed when he walked. At times, he screamed for hours on end because of the discomfort. A doctor “assured” us this was “hopefully” just a childhood problem he would grow out of but left open the dismal prospect that it could be a lifelong condition. As instructed, we smothered the affected areas with an assortment of creams, all of which included petroleum or steroids, and none of which did a bit of good. It broke our hearts. For almost a year, my husband and I took turns sleeping on an air mattress by Elliot’s bed so we could press on his breakouts to help relieve the pain and “itchies” when he woke up in the night.
Gutting It Out
Studies show that most skin disorders are related primarily to the gut—either with food allergies or intolerances—and/or poor bowel health altogether. This is especially true for those whose bodies have significant yeast overgrowth. When we discovered the skin-gut connection, we began to explore healing through adjustments in Elliot’s diet. Recognizing that healthful eating would benefit the whole family, I made sure our diet included healthy fats, grass-fed and organic meats, and organic vegetables and fruits low in allergens. We started with an elimination diet and found that Elliot’s triggers were corn (he doesn’t seem to react to organic corn, but we still limit it in his diet) and sugar. By eliminating just these two foods, he improved greatly.
We augmented his diet with gut-healing helpers like Tummy Tuneup and Digestive Enzymes at each meal and did a gentle yeast cleanse on him. Elliot took daily servings of coconut oil, and once he could swallow the necessary capsules, we gave him Yeast Assassin Lite. Finally, we started him on cod liver oil every day. At that point, not only did his symptoms disappear, but his skin became softer and less prone to itching.
Meanwhile, Back on the Surface
While the foods and supplements worked on Elliot’s insides, one of the things for which we will be forever grateful is the lotions, astringents, and essential oils that became the daily regimen of relief! (I’ve also seen the benefits in friends suffering with rosacea, psoriasis, and acne.) Using natural treatments like these increased my peace of mind, knowing they didn’t add a toxic burden to Elliot’s already overtaxed system. When people lather up with chemically-based potions, they often pump toxins—such as fragrances, dyes, petroleum, and parabens—into an already stressed body.
As a barrier to the outside world, skin is designed with a waterproof layer—the stratum corneum—which both keeps moisture in and foreign substances out. The problem is that when exposed to water or liquids for a long period of time—like soaking in a bath or using a warm facial—the skin starts opening up and accepting moisture. This also tends to be when we start slathering! So coating ourselves with non-natural products actually infuses these toxins into our bodies.
The other problem with these toxic treatments is that many have a lower molecular weight than water which enables them, even without soaking, to slip through the skin’s protective matrix. Since most chronic skin issues result from toxin overload, “traditional” treatments thereby compound the existing problem. And for teens or adults who suffer from blackheads or acne, it may even exacerbate the situation in the long run because the body’s other detoxification methods—bowels, liver, and kidneys—are already stressed. As a result, the body may turn even more to the skin for detoxification, which can lead to even more acne—a vicious cycle!
So even if the entire gut-healing regimen seems out of reach to you, healing with natural-based lotions, astringents, soaps, and other topical aids can go a long way to reducing the burden on your skin. Let me recommend a few that Beeyoutiful can help you with.
All Beeyoutiful astringents are handmade with organic or wild-crafted herbs, specifically formulated to address acne and other facial problems. They also work well on bug bites and flare ups of eczema. We offer three types—normal, dry, and oily–corresponding to your type skin. All have a base of plantain, calendula, comfrey, rosemary, sage, thyme, and horsetail in alcohol and witch hazel, combined in varying proportions as appropriate to skin type. These herbs help moisturize while they promote healing of damaged skin, cell renewal, and tightening of pores. They also ease itching associated with eczema and bug bites. We suggest applying in both morning and evening, but you can use them as needed for discomfort.
(Tip: Since small flecks of the herbs often get on your cotton pad, the slight residue may leave minute smears on your face. So we suggest putting the astringent on your cotton pad and then flipping it over and applying it to your skin with the other side. The astringent absorbs through the cotton, but the green flecks don’t. Although the flecks can actually be beneficial to problems you’re treating, you probably don’t want to wear them around all day!)
This lovely, light facial moisturizer has such a wonderful cooling and soothing sensation that it is my go-to daily lotion. This can be especially helpful for itchy, scaly skin associated with eczema and psoriasis, but it also helps calm the flushing and breakouts in skin ailments like rosacea. Aloe and Coconut oil are the primary moisturizers in Laveshmint. Both are natural moisturizers—even safe to take internally—but they also offer healing properties from antimicrobial affects to nourishing the skin as it softens and moistens. In addition, the essential oils, Lavender and Peppermint, are tremendous for the skin! Peppermint’s cool, tingly, refreshing aroma enlivens the skin and stimulates blood flow while it soothes aggravated areas. Lavender does double duty by decreasing skin irritation, and its healing properties help restore the supple skin that should have been there to begin with.
When a moisturizer isn’t enough, we reach for the miracle in a jar: Miracle Skin Salve. Like Laveshmint, it contains Coconut oil and Lavender but also other natural healing ingredients such as plantain, comfrey, propolis, and Rosemary Essential Oil! Plantain has long been used as a natural and easy-to-find cure for cuts, abrasions, and stings. It works well to heal and promote blood supply in affected areas. Comfrey has anti-inflammatory properties, and it supports the healing of cuts and abrasions. Propolis is well-known for helping skin problems ranging from acne to eczema to psoriasis. Finally, Rosemary Essential Oil has strong anti-inflammatory properties which can be especially helpful with rosacea, psoriasis, and eczema!
(4) Tea Tree Oil
Since many of these conditions have roots in fungal infections, specifically candida, I highly recommend washing the areas with a Tea Tree Oil bath each night. This is not only good for treating the underlying problem if it is fungal, but it prevents microbes from gaining a foothold in or around the affected area. Since problem skin is inflamed and often has abrasions, it is more susceptible to infections or fungal growth. Cleansing with a simple Tea Tree wash—approximately ½ cup of warm water with 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil—and then patting dry can help deter microbial growth for many hours. It has also been known to diminish acne overnight!
I discovered with Elliot that it is immensely cool to a young boy to smear himself with black soap, but he had no clue that I did not choose the soap for its fun in the tub! It actually helps bind and cleanse the impurities expelled from the skin. This can be especially helpful for those with blemishes and acne, because it serves to draw out toxins the skin is eliminating while reducing redness and swelling. In addition to the soap, a charcoal mask can be used weekly to diminish acne and blackheads. A tutorial video on how to do this is available on the Beeyoutiful website: http://articles.beeyoutiful.com/2011/12/02/1086/
Like we did with Elliot, the ultimate solution for skin disorders is to treat the internal causes. But reducing the external manifestations can prevent complications such as infections from broken or irritated areas. The goal in our family remains complete, deep healing, but attacking the inner problems from inside and out is the best way to bring back skin-deep beauty and gut-deep health.
• 1 spoonful of raw honey
• 1 spoonful of charcoal powder
• 1 tsp of Sweet Almond or Jojoba Oil
• Several drops of Tea Tree, Chamomile or Peppermint Oil
• 1-2 capsules of Bee Strong and Bee Immune
Mix well, and then apply to face (avoid eyes!). Allow to dry as long as desired, and then rinse with water. Wash with your favorite soap or cleanser (natural, please). Dab problem areas with a small amount of Miracle Skin Salve. Then use the herbal astringent of your choice, and follow up with Laveshmint Daily Facial Moisturizer to complete your routine.