By: Sarah Grace Powers – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
Don’t squeeze it! Don’t!”
“But I have to! It’s so ugly!”
“You’ll be scarred. Just don’t squeeze it, whatever you do!”
So used to go a frequent conversation (if you can call an exchange conducted at such a loud volume a conversation) between my daughter Rosie and I back when she was in her late teens.
It seems so easy to squeeze those zits and away they go. Dab on a little cover-up and who will ever know?
This was her argument. She battled stress-related acne throughout her teens and early 20s, and I know many women much older than that who still wrestle with it.
Call me old-fashioned, but I am a firm believer in the no-squeeze theory of pimple treatment. And I’ve seen the scars to back up my conviction. Luckily, there are many, much better alternatives.
A good old hot compress is the insta-treatment I recommended to Rosie. Dip a clean cloth into boiling water and gently dab on the blemish. If it is ready, it will drain on its own. Then apply a drop of lavender or tea tree oil for speedy (and scar-free!) healing.
The thing is, if frequent blemish outbreaks plague your life you really have to dig a little deeper. Sure, natural cleansers, masks and toners will help. And even some of the high-quality commercial products (formulated with natural ingredients) might temporarily bring you closer to your dream of a flawless complexion.
But if you don’t at least try to address the root cause of the problem it’s like just slapping on so much more cover-up.
Come to think of it—this is a metaphor for A LOT of things in life. But I’ll save those thoughts for another post.
Back to the skin issue. See, most skin eruptive conditions (whether we’re talking pimples, excema or psoriasis) are caused (or at least exacerbated) by an imbalanced or sluggish liver.You might not have given much thought to this organ, but the no-so-lowly liver impacts much of what goes on inside our bodies.
One of the liver’s most important tasks is to filter and detoxify the blood. If your liver is sluggish for whatever reasons (and there are many) it may not be performing this vital function well, and the skin suffers as a result.
And then we’ve all heard that what we eat can affect our skin. The classic big no-no’s for acne sufferers are fried and fatty foods and chocolate. (The truth is that most processed foods can have a less-than-positive effect on our skin—more so than a couple of squares of high quality chocolate.)
But, did you know that the liver also plays a huge role in your digestion – and that digestive problems can manifest on your skin?
Yes – if you want to address your skin issues (whatever they may be) from the inside out then strengthening your liver is a primary plan of action.
And then there’s another huge culprit in skin conditions: anxiety and stress.
You probably have a clue if stress is the culprit in your own case. If you find yourself needing to do the silent scream of frustration (or worse, the loud scream) on a regular basis, chances are that stress and anxiety are unwelcome companions in your life.
This is something to be aware of in addition to looking at how to strengthen and detoxify your liver, as you build your radiant skin from the inside out. In another post (or several) I’ll discuss stress releasing herbs and techniques.
For now, we’ll talk about strengthening and detoxing the liver.
A few herbs show up in nearly every herbal skin formula – and for good reason. They are both cooling and cleansing, working to soothe inflamed conditions while also cleansing and building the liver. These are: Oregon grape root, dandelion root, milk thistle and burdock.
Milk thistle is best taken in tincture or capsule form because the beneficial components within the seeds just don’t extract that well in water.
Okay then, what’s the plan of action?
If you don’t mind strong, “herby” tasting teas, you could brew up a decoction, and drink two to four cups per day.
Happy Skin Tea
1 part burdock root
1 part Oregon grape root
½ part dandelion root
½ part yellowdock root
½ part licorice root
A few fennel seeds for better flavor
Use 3 tablespoons of the mixture per quart of water and follow the instructions outlined here to make a decoction.
If you’re not much of a tea drinker – or don’t think you’ll get it together to drink this every day – you can find some excellent skin cleansing formulas in shops or online. This is definitely the easiest route for busy people.
I prefer herbal extracts (also called tinctures) to capsules. The herbs are preserved in their freshest state, and they are absorbed into your bloodstream more quickly and easily. It’s important to make sure you purchase your herbal formulations from a reputable company that uses organic or wild harvested herbs. A few that I like are Herb Pharm and Mountain Rose Herbs.
A lower cost alternative is to make your own tincture. It’s actually an easy process, but it does take two to six weeks before your tincture is ready. And chances are it will not be quite as potent as the ones made by the pros who have all the state of the art extraction machinery. However homemade tinctures are still effective and have the added benefit of a personal formulation.
There’s a lot to be taken into consideration) when making tinctures and extracts. You can find great information The Herbal Medicine-makers Handbook: a Home Manual by James Green, or simply go to the Googles.
And yes, you can find many liver tonics and skin formulas in capsule form. This is great for folks who can’t tolerate even the tiny amounts of alcohol found in a single dosage of tincture – or for those who just can’t stand the taste of the concentrated herbs.
Although they make it easier to bypass tasting the bitter flavor of some herbs, as mentioned earlier, capsules are my least preferred method of ingesting medicinals. Be sure to drink plenty of water when taking herbal capsule. You want to be sure the capsule dissolves completely in your digestive system, releasing the beneficial contents.
Again, if you’re the DIY type, you can mix together your own herbal formulation and put it into capsules yourself.
Sarah Grace Powers is a certified life coach and EFT Practitioner. She is a ‘dream resuscitator’, helping clients rediscover their passions and reinvent themselves no matter what their age or circumstance. In her previous career she owned and operated an herb shop and has practiced holistic living for over three decades. Find her at sarahgracecoach.com
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