Contributed by Rynn Jacobson, Apple Wellness
Most women have spent many years of their lives using cosmetics and beauty products that were loaded with toxic chemicals. Our beauty routines lather toxins onto and into our skin, causing damage, strain, and imbalances. The longer we persist, the deeper the damage.
Not only do toxins affect the overall appearance of your skin, but if your body is unable to eliminate this build-up of toxic waste, it will begin re-circulating those toxins and storing them in fat cells — which some suggest contributes to cellulite and fat deposits.
Yeah, we’ve really got your attention now, don’t we?
After switching to natural, organic beauty options, we may be tempted to believe that all of our skin problems built up over the years will just vanish — but unfortunately, healing your skin and removing those toxins from your body takes some time and effort.
We could talk for hours about various methods of healing the skin and detoxifying your body. Seriously. And we wouldn’t get bored or run out of fascinating information to relay.
But, we only have so much time, so in this article we’ll try to hit the skin healing highlights for you—those healing methods that are most important, the easiest to incorporate into your daily life, and a few tricks that will be the most fun.
Step 1—Detoxify Your Skin Care Regimen
If you are trying to heal your skin from years of toxic beauty products, you’ve probably purged your skin care collection to one degree or another. But if you haven’t been able to fully remove all those toxic cosmetics and creams, now is the time to do so.
It’s sometimes surprising how many personal care products we have stockpiled in our homes. We use them without thinking because they’ve become such a normal part of our lives. Today, we are going to take a look at those products we still have on hand and remove any that are damaging to our health. After all, you aren’t going to effectively heal your skin if you are still using toxic beauty products.
Pull out all of your lotions, serums, cleansers, and cosmetics. If it goes on your skin, it goes in the pile.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of questionable chemicals added to our skin care products and cosmetics, but for now, here’s a brief list. If you want to dive deeper, this list of toxins from EWG is a great place to start.
Here comes the hard part. Read the ingredient list for each product. If any of the chemicals listed below are included, toss that product in the trash.
- Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives such as…
- DMDM hydantoin
- Diazolidinyl urea
- Imidazolidinyl urea
- PEG compounds
- Butylated Compounds (BHT, BHA)
- Carbon black
- Ingredients that end in ‘-siloxane’ or ‘-methicon
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS, SLES)
Shocked by how many things you threw away? It’s incredible that most beauty care supplies include harmful chemicals. But, thankfully, we don’t need those chemicals to look and feel beautiful.
We can do it naturally.
Your final step in this process is to choose 100% natural options that are not only not harmful, but actually healing for your skin. The Annmarie Skin Care line is the perfect example of how the products we use can heal, nourish, and strengthen our skin, rather than deplete it.
Step 2—Clean Up Your Diet
It’s hardly news to us anymore—your diet is a big deal when it comes to your health, weight, and well-being. It’s also a big deal when it comes to your skin. In order to function properly, your skin needs nutrients to regenerate new skin cells and keep them healthy.
High-fat, processed foods, too many sweets, and sugary drinks all contribute to a poor complexion. They trigger acne, blemishes, oily skin, whiteheads, and more. But these ‘junk foods’ also affect our skin in behind-the-scenes ways, such as slowing down our digestive system, blocking up our lines of detoxification, slowing our circulatory system, messing with our hormones, and clogging our pores.
Changing to a diet that is rich in (preferably organic) fruits and vegetables and natural meats while cutting out processed, sugary foods is a wonderful way to begin healing skin problems and strengthening your body. In fact, we’d argue that this might be THE most important way to help your body return to a healthy, balanced pH.
So, tuck into healthier options and ditch the drive-throughs.
Hydration is a vital part of naturally healing your skin from years of using toxic skin care products. Water is essential for the optimal function of every organ in your body, and this includes your skin. It also includes your liver and kidneys, which are responsible for processing the toxins absorbed through your skin.
When our liver and kidneys are well-hydrated, toxins are easily flushed from the body. If we are dehydrated, however, our liver and kidneys aren’t able to effectively remove all the toxins filtered from our blood. Those toxins then continue to circulate, increasing the body’s toxic load.
Have you noticed that fast-flowing rivers are free of debris, but sluggish rivers are clogged with mud, leaves, and garbage? By not hydrating your body, you’re creating a sluggish river that can’t get rid of the junk it’s accumulating.
That’s not all water does for us, though. Dehydrated skin appears dry, splotchy, and often oily. Drinking more water will help firm your skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, keep your skin naturally moisturized, and reduce the appearance of blemishes.
So – drink up! A great way to start is to purchase a reusable water bottle to take with you to work or to have around the house. Start with the simple goal of finishing a minimum of one full bottle per day, and work up until you’re drinking several water bottles a day.
Step 4—Replenish Your Nutrient Stores
Little known fact—vitamin deficiencies can cause or contribute to skin problems. Why is this? Because our bodies absolutely require a certain amount of vitamins to function each day.
Walking, talking, working, digesting, breathing, filtering blood—it all takes energy and nutrients to do these things. If we don’t get enough nutrients from our food or through supplementation, your body has to pull the vitamins it needs to function out of storage.
So, what happens when all we do is take from nutrient stores? Eventually, they empty.
To heal your skin, you need to restock your body’s stores of vitamins and nutrients. The easiest way to tackle vitamin depletions is to find a high-quality multivitamin from a local health food store. Remember, you’re looking to replenish stores, not just meet a daily minimum, so a tiny dose here and there won’t cut it. A powerful multivitamin taken each day is what you need to really jumpstart cell rejuvenation and healing.
Here’s a sample of the way nutrients can heal tired, blemished skin.
- Vitamins A, E, B2, B6, and C can help to heal worn-out skin cells and diminish the appearance of acne.
- Omega 3’s and Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) help keep the skin moisturized naturally by soothing dry, itching skin.
- Zinc and magnesium are nutrients your body uses to help resolve edema and swelling.
- Calcium and B vitamins reduce dark circles under the eyes.
Step 5—Get Moving
Some of us love our hardcore daily workout. Others prefer the gentle intensity of time spent on a yoga mat. And for some, exercise is more of a concept than a daily practice.
But aside from the muscle toning, weight loss, and other benefits, daily exercise actually plays an important role in healing our skin too.
- Exercise gets you breathing. Your lungs are a huge part of your detox system, so you can expel a lot of toxins in just one workout through your breathing alone. So, next time you are huffing and puffing, be encouraged that not only are you toning your body, you’re getting rid of toxins too.
- Exercise burns fatty tissues in our body. As those fat stores as used for fuel, the toxins stored inside them are moved into our detoxification channels for elimination. You work off fat and toxins. What’s not to love about that?
- Exercise strengthens your cardiovascular system. This means our circulatory system flows more smoothly, bringing more nutrients to your skin cells.
- Exercise triggers your digestive system. Getting your heart rate up reduces intestinal sluggishness by stimulating your muscles to push digestive waste through your body more quickly.
Here’s the deal though—exercise should be fun! Find a practice that fits your lifestyle and suits your tastes. You don’t have to join a gym, take a Pilates class, or run for an hour on the treadmill (though all of those things are good options), simply taking a daily brisk walk around your neighborhood or 15 minutes of weightlifting might be your sweet spot. Find what feels good for you and enjoy yourself.
Step 6—Dry Brushing and Exfoliation
At first blush, the suggestion of dry brushing probably sounds strange to you. However, this is actually a simple and effective way to stimulate healing and regeneration in your skin.
So, we know that our skin is the organ responsible for sweating, which not only cools our bodies down when we get too hot, but also releases waste. This important function can be greatly inhibited by dead skin cells, toxins, and synthetic or chemical-based skin care products that block sweating (lots of deodorants do this).
Thankfully, there’s an easy solution to help keep your skin functioning well — dry skin brushing. This takes only a few minutes a day, and is helpful whether you do it once a month, once a day, or once a year.
Dry skin brushing works to remove dead skin cells. It also stimulates your lymph system, helping to increase the flow of lymph fluid, which plays a big role in cleansing your body of toxins and waste. Finally, it increases blood flow to your skin, ensuring that oxygen and nutrients are replenishing all those cells.
Overall result? Healthier skin and healthier appearance.
We recommend that you choose a natural bristle brush with a long handle. Dry brush before you shower, preferably in the morning. Gently stroke your skin in the direction of your heart using long, sweeping or circular motions. Start at your feet and work your way up your legs, then hands and arms, before moving to the torso.
Step 7—Epsom Salt Baths
Epsom salt is a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate—not your traditional table salt. When added to warm water, Epsom salts dissolve, making them easily absorbed through the skin. Here are a few of the powerful benefits you’ll enjoy:
- Magnesium salt acts as a gentle laxative to relieve constipation (often one of our biggest hurdles to detoxification and healing).
- Magnesium increases circulation, keeping a steady supply of nourishment to your cells while removing waste matter.
- Sulfates, when absorbed, bind to toxic impurities in the liver to aid in removal from the body.
- Epsom salts and hot water trigger sweating, which releases toxins through your skin.
And, you get the added benefit of soothed muscles, relief from aches, pains and stress, and even a natural treatment for fungal infections such as athlete’s foot.
Here’s our favorite recipe for a luxurious, healing bath:
- 1 to 2 cups Epsom Salts
- 1 cup baking soda
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, or another natural oil of your choice
- 5 to 10 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar (optional)
Remember to drink a large glass of water before bathing. Because these baths trigger sweating, it’s important to stay hydrated.
Resources for Healing
Annmarie Skin Care has an incredible support system in place with their customer happiness team. They’re prepared to handle any and all your questions about how to clean up your cosmetics and skin care products, and how to heal rather than harm. Give them a call or shoot them an email.
Our team at Apple Wellness is also happy to help you heal your body from years of toxic beauty practices. Our Wellness Consultants can offer guidance on detoxification and cleansing practices, as well as nutrients that will help rebuild your skin.
Finally, EWG’s site is full of studies, resources, and cleanliness ratings for hundreds of products and brands. If there are any products you’re questioning, they are a great place to start your research.
Contributed by Apple Wellness
Kevin Gianni is co-founder and CEO of Annmarie Skin Care, an award winning skin care company that produces organic and wildcrafted facial oils, serums, and cleansers. Annmarie Skin Care has been one of Inc500’s Fastest Growing Companies and also was recognized as one of Inc500’s Best Workplaces. The company and products have been featured by many media outlets including The New York Times, Huffington Post, Forbes, and Organic Spa Magazine. He is also the author of Kale and Coffee: A Renegade's Guide to Health, Happiness, and Longevity published in 2015 by Hay House.