Skin is our largest organ, and yet it is one that so many of us forget to take care of as well as we should. We douse it with fragrances, lotions, and other beauty products that contain an amazing amount of chemicals, many of which have been proven to cause cancer (like parabans for example). The best way to nourish our skin is the same way we nourish the rest of our body–from the inside out, with fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of good fats. There are also several ways to feed your skin from the outside too that are easy, cheap, and all natural:
Body Brushing: A wonderful way to detox your body, great for your lymph system, nervous and circulatory systems, dry body brushing is best done once a day to three times a week, preferably before taking a bath or shower. Using a loofah or natural bristle brush, and start at your feet. Brush toward the heart in circular movements for five minutes. After a few sessions you will notice a more natural glow to your skin, increased vitality, and a sense of invigoration, especially if done in the morning.
Masks: Our skin loves good food. Some wonderful masks that help nourish the face:
For dry/ sensitive skin: 1/2 an avocado mashed and mixed with ground oatmeal. The fat from the avocado nourishes the skin while the oatmeal soothes it.
For oily skin: a mixture of French green clay and pulverized strawberries or cranberries act to draw out impurities while giving your skin the astringent benefits it so needs.
For normal skin: A pina colada for the face! Crushed pineapple and banana work wonders–the acid in the pineapple exfoliates the skin while the banana soothes and tightens.
Sea Salt Scrubs: These are yet another great exfoliator for all skin types. Adding a bit of almond oil to the salt keeps it smooth and glowing. The salt helps relax muscles and detoxes the skin. Adding herbs to the scrub is great too–lavender to soothe, lemon or mint to invigorate, a pinch of cayenne on a cold day to warm you up, rosemary or calendula flowers to heal rashes or other skin problems.
Bug Spray: As the summer months approach, our thoughts turn to mosquitoes and how to prevent their nasty little bites. Most bug repellents are literally awful for you. Natural prevention is the best recourse–taking 3 or 4 capsules of garlic and 100mg of vitamin B1 create a smell that repels mosquitoes while avoiding sugar and fruit juice, to which mosquitoes are naturally attracted, can cut down on your victimization.
Using certain essential oils—such as eucalyptus, lemon balm, pennyroyal, citronella, tea tree, and geranium also makes effective bug sprays. Simply add a mixture of the above to a water/witch hazel (3 parts water to 1 part witch hazel) solution and transfer to a spray bottle. Several naturopaths say using these oils works as well as commercial mosquito repellent.
Baths: Warm baths are highly underrated. They soften the skin, relax the muscles and release stress from the body, mind, and emotions. Plus you can add all sorts of wonderful things to them– milk to soften skin, sea salt to soothe sore muscles, a tea of herbs such as lavender, mint, rose petals, chamomile, lemongrass, orange rinds to leave you smelling sweet and and all natural.