Natural Skin Care
Skin Care Naturally
GETTING INTO YOUR OUTSIDE: NATUROPATHIC BODY CARE
I think health nuts are right when they emphasize skin health for total health. Your skin is your body's largest organ, and virtually the only organ that you can watch. So many people have skin rashes, dryness, sores, blisters, corns, dandruff and such that more attention needs to be given to what holds you together. Do you realize what you'd look like without skin? A heap of organs on the floor: how explicit! The skin also excretes many wastes from the body. That's what sweating does, in addition, to automatically cooling you.
Naturopathic theory holds that rashes, pimples, eczema, and illnesses like chicken pox or measles are attempts by the skin to clean itself out. This idea will never cease to come up as long as we talk of nature's way in health: the body will try, must try, to clean itself of toxins, foreign chemicals and poisons. Nature eliminates wastes. You may not like it; it may not look romantic; it might even itch. However, the toxins must be expelled. Since the skin is your largest organ, it will by nature want to do a lot of cleaning out. The more it does so, the more you needed it to.
"So that's where all those hives and rashes come from," you might think, and you'd be essentially correct. Take a VERY common complaint: dandruff. An over-abundance of mucus-producing items in the diet seems to be a basic cause. Persons with dandruff have found that if they reduce their consumption of milk, ice cream, yogurt and eggs that their dandruff goes away. No medications, no special patent shampoos. I have seen this in my own experience, and if you will pardon me, on my own scalp. Cottage cheese and the aged cheeses seem to be less involved in making up what comes off us as dandruff.
Over consumption of cooked, processed foods in general seems to predispose a body for complaints like this. I even had a dog with dandruff...until I stopped giving him dry skim milk plus cream plus milk on top of all the dog food he could eat. When the dog's diet was cut in half, following a four-day cleansing fast, the dandruff was gone and never returned until the animal was overfed again.
Simple, proper diet eliminates so many complaints. Whole foods, raw or lightly-cooked vegetables, grains and fruits, no meat and no chemically-doctored food will go a very long way to improving your skin in a short time. Unfortunately, many folks are inclined to and even encouraged to put creams, salves, ointments and other patent remedies on their skin to "relieve the itching and scaling of the heartbreak of psoriasis" or to "restore moisture to dry, worn-out skin."
Let's "clear up" this skin medication question right here. First of all, there is no such thing as "worn-out skin." Fortunately for us, skin is perennial, self-repairing, and virtually indestructible. Now just think how many times you scraped, cut or bruised your skin when you were a kid! Look at you now; look at your hands, arms and knees. You're not covered with patches, are you? Nature repairs and mends skin beautifully. When you cut yourself, you might disinfect the wound with iodine or some other preparation. But does the iodine re-knit the skin, make the new cells, or weave new tissue? No, nature does. When a surgeon stitches up an incision or a wound she brings the skin together and holds it in place with sutures. But if nature didn't re-unite the cells, what good would the stitches do?
Vitamin C and E seem to be most important for proper healing and maintenance of your skin. Drs. Wilfrid and Evan Shute used vitamin E, both internally and externally, in their extremely successful treatment of third degree burns. Vitamin C is well-known to be essential to holding the cells together and encouraging their normal growth (that's a reason why C is so desperately important to a cancer patient's body). Vitamin C compresses have been used on severe skin ulcerations with success surpassing that of antibiotics. Both of these vitamins can be given internally, plus applied topically without danger of side effects. Recovery periods are rapid with each, and probably best with both. Show me a person with chronic skin problems and two times out of three I'll bet their diet is deficient in E or C.
For the other one time out of three, the person may benefit from the Schuessler Cell Salts, particularly if a needed mineral is missing. How can the skin function normally if it is lacking a raw material that it must have? The absence of any one nutrient is a problem for the whole system. A high-fidelity enthusiast once told me that a stereo system is only as good as its weakest part. You can spend a fortune on the best speakers, the finest amplifier, the highest quality CD player, and the greatest recordings. But if there's just one bad electrical connection, all the rest is useless to you. The Schuessler minerals in homeopathic potency are provided in minute but vital quantity and quality. "A little dab will do ya" if you'll pardon me. J.B. Chapman, M.D. lists over 85 different skin ailments that are helped by Schuessler minerals in Dr. Schuessler's Biochemistry (New Era, London. 1973).
Would you like to know what some of the indications for use are? This is some of what Dr. Chapman suggests:
Cracks in hands:
And there's over 72 more suggestions in this one book alone.
Many of what we call "allergies" are probably just local or system-wide deficiencies of vitamins or minerals. As you now know, I don't believe in allergies. I do, however, believe in one's body showing in symptoms what it needs in nutrition. Also, I believe in the body showing that it has received something it doesn't need. If you're "allergic" to sulfa drugs or antibiotics, consider yourself lucky... and normal. Drugs, chemicals, preservatives, food coloring dyes, and other unnatural substances have to be high on the body's list of "things to excrete at first opportunity." These are foreign, toxic and very commonly ingested although bad for us. How is it then, that we are surprised when the irritant starts a rash, fever, nausea or sneezing? Wouldn't you expect your body to indicate poisoning in some way? If someone ate poisoned food and then developed fever or threw up, we'd agree that the body was reacting to get rid of the toxin in the best way it could. When a child eats preserved, colored food with the vitamins and nutrients processed out of it, and then develops food sensitivities, where is the surprise? Even injections and vaccinations are forced through our skin in an effort to get a drug into our bloodstream. We should remember that the body may utilize that same path in trying to get foreign toxins and poisons out.
Think of that next time you see a rash or other skin symptom.
Your skin is a living, breathing, body-cleaning organ. If you stop it up, you're in trouble. In the James Bond story Goldfinger people were spray-painted gold. Remember that they supposedly died? Your skin must be free from pore-clogging coatings. That's why commercial creams, ointments and salves are not doing any more than removing the symptoms of skin excretion. In slowing down or blocking this excretion they are clogging the pores and of themselves adding to what has to be cleaned out. Why make the skin have to now excrete these added toxins on top of the old ones? It's like shaking the dirt out of your rugs... in the middle of the living room.
If you don't use any of the countless patent skin treatments for beauty or disease, your skin will be that much better. Treating symptoms is just trying to fool Nature. Coating over the body's cleansing efforts does not make you or your skin well. I don't think it's wise to use chemical creams or antibiotic ointments or any of that. Keeping drugs, artificial colors, preservatives, alcohols, artificial fragrances, and those foot-long chemical names off your skin can only help it.
If nature had wanted us to use lots of synthetics on our body, she would probably have put triethanolamine, carbomer-934, methylparaben, propylparaben, dimethicone, titanium dioxide, sodium myristate, stearyl alcohol, FD&C Red #4, Yellow #3 and other "beauty necessities" within easy reach. As it is, these and other nostrums are key ingredients in today's best-selling lotions. I read right from cosmetic labels, including a "mysterious beauty fluid (that) works with your skin's own natural moisture to quickly ease away dryness" and "impart a new radiance and glow to your skin." Some are in "a unique conditioning lotion" that "keeps skin wonderfully soft and smooth." Would you care to tell me how they can do that? It's small wonder why people think they've got allergies, or that there's something wrong with their skin. There's nothing wrong with the skin; there's something wrong with what's layered onto it.
As for my family, we use a lot of vitamin E. It's hard to beat when directly applied to rough, sore or dry skin. For topical (external) application, simply take any E capsule and carefully puncture the end of the capsule. This is easily done with a push-pin or plastic-handled thumb tack. Then just squeeze the E directly where you need it. We keep a bottle of 200 IU capsules in the bathroom cabinet and in the past kept another bottle near the baby changing table, and use it almost daily for diaper rash, dry skin, chapped hands, burns, etc.
Unlike commercially concocted skin preparations, vitamin E is wholly natural as long as it's D-alpha-tocopherol. The "D" form is right handed in molecular structure, and the "L" form is left handed. As far as vitamin E is concerned, the body seems to have a preference for "right-handed" molecules". (On the other hand, you body can only use left-handed vitamin L-ascorbic acid, or vitamin C.) The natural "D" form of vitamin E is manufactured from vegetable oils. Fresh vegetable oil is a nutritional source of E as well, and the Biblical "anointing with oil" or "binding up wounds in oil" may be seen as very sensible.
Vitamin E promotes rapid, scar-free healing, prevents infection, feels a lot better on a kid's cut than iodine, and is almost unbelievably versatile. Please refer back to the appendix for a list of some of E's uses. Other entirely natural, simple skin aids are olive oil and cocoa butter. Both are just vegetable oils, although cocoa butter is not liquid in its natural form. It is more like a wax candle, like a stick. "Cocoa butter lotion" or "cream with natural cocoa butter" is not 100% cocoa butter. They may contain some and have wonderfully natural names, but the words "100% Cocoa Butter" should be on the label you look for if you want the real thing. Just apply the cocoa butter to skin like a stick deodorant or lipstick.
And Speaking of
Lipsticks and Deodorants:
skimp on chemicals. Of all of them, Right Guard brand and Mennen brand stick deodorants are less bad than the most, but is
not as good as what health food stores generally carry. Anti-perspirants are the worst kind of all deodorants because
they contain aluminum and chemically block up skin pores and prevent natural
sweating. Okay, so you don't want to sweat? Then dress more
seasonally! When I was in
Concerning cosmetics, I can't really say that much from personal experience. My wife uses some make-up, although I think she's very attractive without it. It would seem to me that moderation and natural ingredients would be the two things to look for in using cosmetics, if you choose to use them at all.
Loofas and Dry Towels
It has always been known for its "No More Tears" products, but Johnson and Johnson have really gone one better. Their popular Baby Shampoo label in Sept. 1999 specifically stated that it is "As Gentle To Eyes As Pure Water." I guess I've been reading only the front of their label for too long, so now I looked on the back to find, in addition to the usual detergents, these goodies: polyquaternium-10, tetrasodium edta, quaternium-15, and D&C yellow #10 and D&C orange #4. I'm not saying that this stuff is dangerous. I actually used the product on my kids for years. I am surprised, though, that Johnson & Johnson would claim it is as gentle to the eyes as PURE water. It might have a pH of 7, but those other ingredients must make it just a little different than H20.
So who can be surprised that natural, herbal shampoos are highly recommended by many health advocates. There are many brand names of natural-origin shampoos, and you'd want to read the labels before purchasing any and reject any bright colors, preservatives, or long names! One or two natural ingredients don't make a product natural unless the rest are natural, too. In case you think that natural shampoos and soaps must be expensive to use, please consider this: In terms of quality of ingredients, "bargain brands" may be the real waste of your money and generate the biggest profit for manufacturers that don't care what's in their product. Natural products may not be the cheapest, but they do cost more to produce in the first place. Keeping these points in mind may help you compare quantity and quality and still save money in the long run. Good daily skin care is cheaper than a visit to a dermatologist.
In case you feel that natural ingredients are not important in your shampoo because synthetic ingredients are carefully tested and approved, please consider this quotation from "And Now A Word About Your Shampoo" by Harold C. Hopkins in March 1975 FDA Consumer:
FDA (Food and Drug Administration) authority under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to regulate synthetic detergent shampoos, along with other cosmetics, falls considerably short of the comprehensive kind of jurisdiction the Act authorizes for regulation of foods and drugs. The maker of a cosmetic is not required, as is the sponsor of a new drug, to obtain FDA approval before marketing to assure that the product is safe and effective. And cosmetics makers, unlike food processors, are not required to obtain FDA clearance to use new additives (except for color additives) in their products. The law does hold the manufacturer of a synthetic detergent shampoo or other cosmetic solely responsible for safety in its use. He is expected to use ingredients about which there have been no questions of safety, and to perform adequate studies... to make sure his product is safe before he puts it on the market. FDA must trust that the manufacturer has fulfilled his responsibility.
It is only if, or should we say when, an "adverse reaction" occurs that the consumer or the manufacturer is supposed to notify FDA and then FDA will "look into the matter." This does not seem like much of a safeguard to the millions of people who may have been using the product already.
FDA's enforcement of its regulatory powers over foods are weak enough. Think of all the chemicals, preservatives, dyes and other additives that are legally allowed, to contaminate our food. To think that FDA's authority over cosmetics and shampoos is actually less than its control over "Kool-Aid," "Twinkies," Mello Yello," "Hamburger Helper" and bologna!
And if you think that's bad, consider soap itself. This same article also says this:
The Food. Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 defines a cosmetic. But the same law specifically excludes soap from this definition of a cosmetic and it Is thus exempt from FDA regulation.
We'd better all read the package labels for everything we put on our bodies as well as for everything we put into them. The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938 was a very watered down excuse for the original and very strict Food and Drug Act of 1906. The original 1906 law actually permitted only pure foods and drugs! It didn't last long, after industrial lobbying and governmental corruption started after it. If you want to read an account of this amazing and unlawful process, it is all in Dr. Harvey W. Wiley's A History of a Crime Against the Food Law, most recently republished only by photocopy. This is probably another job for your skilled librarian and an interlibrary loan. If you still think that the government protects us from toxic substances in what we eat or drink or put on our skin, it's time to reconsider.
There is little question
that natural cosmetic products, soaps and shampoos are nearly as important to
us as natural foods. Nature is best for your inside and your outside.
Copyright C 2004 and previous years Andrew W. Saul.
Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at http://www.doctoryourself.com/review.html ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at http://www.doctoryourself.com/saulbooks.html )
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