How to Have Healthy and Beautiful Skin
by Purple Herbal
I used to have very unhealthy skin. It was damaged, scarred, chapped, broke out a lot, was dry in some places and oily in others, and overall just a mess. I wore a lot of makeup to cover up my skin, which only exacerbated the problems I was already having.
My skin was never able to breathe with all of the layers of foundation and concealer I put on, and because of the harsh chemical based treatments and moisturizers I was using. It made it impossible for my skin to truly heal itself.
I was in a never ending cycle that was hard to let go of. I didn’t want to show my face without makeup, but I wanted clear and beautiful skin as well. So, one day, I decided that I was going to try to go without makeup and see how I felt. I knew it was the only way I could begin the process of healing my skin. Let me tell you, it was embarrassing and extremely difficult to go out in public with no makeup on. But, every day I could do it was one day that I was closer to getting the clear and healthy looking skin I wanted.
After getting comfortable without wearing makeup, I decided to throw out all of my over the counter and department store skin care products. They were just not effective at all in helping to clear my skin. I researched the main ingredients in all of them, and found that they all were full of petroleum based chemicals, and some were even carcinogenic! I needed to get rid of these ineffective and, for lack of a better word, toxic products, and get back to basics by starting to use things on my skin that were simple, fresh, and natural.
My new skin mantra became, “If I won’t put it in my mouth, I’m not putting it on my skin.” I looked for products that were usually just one ingredient; like a single herb, carrier oil, or essential oil. All of the research I had done on treating my skin naturally showed me that I needed to stick with nature and her vast array of nourishing and deeply penetrating treatments, and steer clear of man made synthetic chemicals, artificial colors, scents, and ingredients.
Later, I came to realize that the reason my skin was not responding to any treatment was because I was viewing my skin problems only as an external problem. I wasn’t getting to the root of the problem. I found out that all skin problems begin within the body, mainly with the liver, blood, and digestive track. If our body is full of toxins, our skin will show for it.
Now for some of the herbs I used on my skin: one of the very first herbal treatments I tried was with Basil. I made a tea with some fresh leaves, poured it into a bowl and steamed my face for about 10 minutes with a towel over my head. Then after that was done, I took a cotton ball and dipped it in the hot liquid and rubbed it on my face. My pores had been opened by the hot steam, and the essential oils of the basil plants seeped into my skin. Basil in an anti-inflammatory, so it helps reduce redness in the skin and make it appear smoother.
The other thing I started doing was taking fresh squeezed lemon juice and dabbing that on my face. The acid in the lemon juice acts as a natural facial peel, helping to exfoliate dead skin cells, revealing fresher and younger looking skin. Plus, all of the vitamins and minerals in the lemon juice helped to nourish my skin. Lemon juice also reduces the appearance of scars. I left the juice on for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off. It stings at first, and be careful that you don’t go into the sun right after doing a lemon juice facial, as your skin will be more sensitive to sunlight.
My experimentation with other fruits and vegetables of all kinds and putting them on my face, helped my skin tremendously. Tomatoes exfoliated my skin and reduced my acne. Bananas helped when my skin was extra dry, as did avocados. Watermelon and strawberries were another two of my favorite fruits to use as natural facial peels, because they cleared my skin really well. Garlic and onions were two vegetables I used, because of the high sulphur content. Luckily my husband didn’t mind the smell!
Egg whites and egg yolks were two other things I started to use on my skin. The yolk is packed full of vitamin A, making it ideal for problematic skin. The yolk is great for oily skin, as it reduces the appearance of pores and tightens the skin.
Diet is a key player in the appearance of our skin. We are what we eat, so I wanted to be clean and healthy and those are the kinds of foods I ate. First, I limited the amount of sugar in my diet. Refined sugar is basically crystallized acid, and promotes inflammation as well as depletes vitamins and minerals. I knew I needed all the vitamins and minerals I could get to help heal my skin, so I literally threw any food item that had refined sugar in it (you’d be amazed how many pre-packages foods have sugar in them!). I also cut down on dairy, refined carbs, and fried foods. I ate a lot of fruits and vegetables instead.
I also began using an internal herbal medicine regimen that consisted of dandelion root, burdock root, and yellow dock root. I made decoctions out of these herbs and drank it on a daily basis. All of these herbs help clean the blood, liver, and digestive system (where most of our immune system is located). I also enjoyed red clover, nettle, chamomile, and mint teas.
Externally, I would make a paste with powdered herbs like slippery elm bark, comfrey root, marshmallow root, and goldenseal. I’d also use essential oils of lavender, tea tree, and juniper berry mixed in with rose water to make my own toner and put that on my face after I rinsed off the mask. I’ve since moved onto using a few drops of tea tree or lavender oil on a cotton ball that has been run under hot water. When I use soap on my face, I only use Dr. Bronner’s Organic Castile Soap. Check out the link for more information.
I got into a routine of first doing a steam facial (with herbs like lavender, rose, and mint in the water), then using a clay mask (green or white clay), then toning my skin with essential oils, and finally putting a moisturizing oil like grapeseed on. This routine I did mainly at night, and the mask wasn’t always part of it. Right now I use a bentonite clay mask mixed with apple cider vinegar. It draws out impurities so well that my skin actually turns red for like half an hour after I use it. Clay masks are great because they draw out dirt and tighten the pores. Clay is a substance made with materials from the earth that are millions of years old! Needless to say, it’s an amazing experience to use them on my face, and all over my body.
The combination of eating healthy and nutritious foods (mainly fruits and vegetables), eliminating the use of harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients, using natural fruit and clay masks, steam facials with herbs, essential oils, and natural oils for my moisturizer has given me a healthy complexion beyond anything I could have imagined.
I may put a before and after pic on here to show the results of my years of dedicated diligence to the practice of herbal medicine to improve my skin. It is how my journey using herbs started, and I hope that my experience may be able to help other folks who wish to improve their skin with inexpensive and effective ingredients courtesy of mother nature.