Saturday, April 5, 2014

How to love your skin

Have you ever seen your skin under a microscope? Take a magnifying glass and enter the magical world of ridges and valleys, of pores with hairs and without, of discolorations and dry spots. They are all hardly noticeable to the naked eye yet become intensified and almost a bit scary looking.  It’s hard to imagine you’re looking at the largest organ of your body and think, “Is that what I look like?  Nah, gross.”

Au contraire, my friends, it’s ultra cool, our beautiful shell, the mantle that covers our flesh, muscles, tendons, brain and bones.

The skin is not just a cover. As a live and vitally important part of our bodies, it’s also our largest eliminatory organ. We eliminate toxins and waste through our perspiration, through dead skin follicles and also through our breath. But the most evidence of a dirty inner terrain or a troubled immune system is often visible on the skin. This can take many forms:  acne, regular pimples, dry patches, areas that put out intense sebum, areas that are reddened and puffy, areas where you get lots of black heads or little pus eruptions, or skin discolorations in areas where we now know relate to specific organs.

How to go about changing this?
Edgar Cayce has this advice: for 3 days each month, choose different treatments that promote cleansing from the inside out. These cleansings can include colonics, high enemas, or careful diet, meaning these 3 days you eat very lightly and you may drink aloe juice or gel several times a day to help lubricate the intestinal tract. Obviously, you would drink clean X2O-infused water, ideally three to four bottles per day. You will remember that this lowers the surface tension of the water and will in fact allow your system to be more fully hydrated. That also means increased trips to the bathroom is normal and not a task to be underestimated, avoided or postponed. When you have the urge, go and eliminate. It has to come out of our regular channels, otherwise it will continue to show up on skin and other places. Sometimes, especially in the beginning, this can result in odd smells and unpleasant odors, but take heart, it gets better. Keep drinking and flushing your cells. Hiding under the umbrella of denial or personal embarrassment is not making you healthy.

Our faces and other areas of the body, for those who can read the language, speak volumes of how well we are inside our bodies, and if we are undergoing some serious setbacks or health challenges. While women regularly mask such signs with makeup, there is no denying that naturally radiant skin and a warm healthy glow are the landmarks of great health that speak louder than words.  Whether you come to this result naturally or have to work at it, it is a beautiful and necessary step to complete health and high quality of life. When you look at what’s considered attractive, you will observe how highly people with good skin are favored and noticed, even if they’re otherwise unremarkable looking in today’s strict landscape of what some believe defines “beautiful”.

Having said that, we all know people who have been plagued and challenged with skin blemishes and disturbances that make them unhappy and often send them from one medical office to another. Sometimes it’s a problem of diet, sometimes of hormones, sometimes it’s due to allergies, and sometimes we’re from families who are not favored with healthy skin. Always though, we can choose what we do about it. In this article I would like to share some of the principles underlying healthy skin and how you can attain a glow that radiates well-being. We’re going to cover cleansing, detoxing, diet, hydration, healthy elimination through kidneys and intestines, through proper sweating, exercise, and movement in fresh air.

What really works for the skin is the continued practice of a lifestyle that is consistent with a happy and productive existence, allowing and fostering personal expression and appreciation of the world and ourselves as at least one of the cornerstones. Even if other things are not great in your life, you can pull it together and make your body as healthy as you are able - inside and out. You can choose (many of us do that often), by comparing ourselves with others, how you want to live, how you want to be seen and how you choose to see yourself.

A ‘victim mode’ is not conducive to this path, so let’s see how we can collectively snap out of any doldrums and self-sabotaging habits, whether we think they affect our skin or not. A high level of well-being is our birthright and nobody and nothing can take that away from us. Short of being a prisoner, we have choices and options that involve our making good decisions and then following-through with them. It begins with having self-worth and an open heart & mind – all of which when practiced will result in greater personal peace and self confidence. Even if you don’t have a job right at the moment or are at a crossroads in your life, you always have dominion over your thoughts and your body. We each deserve to find that inner space that offers us strength to keep going and the certainty that we are valued. When we value ourselves (not in an egotistical sense), we increase our radiance, our beauty and our self-confidence.

Everything we do with this in place is augmented and enhanced, as a result. Sometimes it’s easy to moan that “it’s too hard.” But by giving up, we lose in the end. Having said that, we know that nobody gets to their own growth unless and until they are willing to make that decision and choose such a lifestyle. Many are the examples we read about, be it weight loss, recovery from an illness, recovering from an accident or emotional trauma such as divorce, loss of a job, or the loss of a loved one. All these examples are among the most stressful events, and clearly, they do affect our skin, and really our wellbeing at the deepest core. So you can benefit by doing the work now, when you’re well and you’re healthy. Then, should something happen, you can draw from your native strength and bring to bear your innate power to remedy any situation and make it work for you. They do say that beauty is an “inside job” and it couldn’t be more true. So let’s take a look at what that means for you on the basis of most skin issues:

Everyday stressors.  When we abuse food, take on stimulants and alcohol, when we don’t sleep enough, when we smoke, or otherwise never go and breathe truly fresh air, when we live in tension and stress, when we are unhappy with ourselves, judge ourselves unkindly, when we’re unconscious of what our bodies need, when we defer to what’s more important right now – we lose is a personal choice. So why wait until your life draws the line in the sand? Why wait until the choice is taken away from you? The time is now, so let’s see what’s possible. Let’s see how we can make changes.

Pure water with X2O, fresh organic fruits and vegetables: fruits being the cleansers you eat up to early afternoon; vegetables being the builders you eat after that, raw, steamed, however you choose. It helps, of course, if you find a good practitioner or a health coach who can guide you towards what works best for you.

For 3 days every month you stay with a cleansing program. This way you eliminate more, both through the bowels and through the kidneys. You induce sweat easily in summer, and during the cooler seasons you could use a sauna followed by a cold dip in clean water. Or you can take hot and cold showers: 1 minute as hot as you can stand it, then1 minute as cold as you can. Not the easiest practice but it’s well worth it. This lateral ‘massage’ deepens your circulation, eliminates toxins from under the skin and is very refreshing.

Dry skin brushing is an essential way to increase circulation and to move your lymphatic system out of sluggishness. Begin at the feet, soles too, and brush your legs with a good body brush, in upward strokes towards your groin, go circular around your buttocks and gently around your belly, leave out the private parts and nipples, and move up your torso to your neck and shoulders. Begin again at the palms of your hands and brush up your arms toward your heart. Do this gently and firmly, skin will turn red and lots of dead skin will come off. That’s why it’s best to do right before a shower or bath. 

Your feet are an important part of your well-being. After brushing them, check for hard spots and callouses. For skin build-up, take a special foot file or a pumice stone and rub it off as often as possible. Make sure you wear shoes that fit.  And if you tend to have smelly feet, you may wish to put a drop of a pure essential oil (your choice of oil) into your shoes before wearing them.

Incidentally, if you are one of those hardy sneaker wearers, please take off your shoes and socks once you get home and let your feet breathe. They need it as much as the rest of you. A foot bath with a bit of apple cider vinegar is often helpful and loosens hardened skin on the feet with ease. You can actually rub it off after about 15 minutes in medium hot water. Once they’re dried, apply some nice lotion (Ellagiderm Cream is a great choice) to help keep the skin soft.

There are many ways that make this a sensory journey to be enjoyed. Light nice beeswax candles, play relaxing music and if you like, use a dab of your favorite essential oil. Lavender is a favorite, that you can scent your bathroom with, add a couple of drops to your washcloth or dribble into your bathwater. All this is meant to be a celebration of your skin and body, and its importance to your beautiful Self.

If you own a rebounder, please use it. There are many advantages to a daily 10-minute practice of bouncing on this small round little trampoline. The rebounder is outfitted with much stronger and carefully calibrated springs that protect joints from taking strain while we’re bouncing to promote a healthy lymphatic system.

And during the times when you’re challenged, whether it’s a cold sore outbreak because perhaps you had too much stress, or you experience a cleansing reaction, our Xooma products can help you along to ease the journey and keep you safe.

Silver MAX to the rescue
Most notably among the creams and gels, we have Silver MAX gel with its homeopathic component, which is very useful for fever blisters or genital herpes, especially when you first notice the ‘aura’ that is common before outbreaks. Apply a liberal amount of gel all over the skin areas where you feel that unique tingly sensation that sometimes also feels as if the flu is coming on. Do this at least twice a day. Internally, you can take the Silver MAX liquid under the tongue on an empty stomach twice a day and let is absorb for 30 seconds.

If you break out in hives or acne, or have other pimply effusions, cleanse it, apply a hot wash cloth well wrung out, then first use the Silver MAX liquid.  Once that’s dried, apply the Silver MAX gel. The warmth brings toxins to the surface and opens the pores for better reception of the silver. You can do this also for bleeding hemorrhoids or vaginal soreness. While it’s not a topic we openly discuss, Silver MAX can bring great relief.

Silver MAX gel and Silver MAX liquid are both very effective cleansers for challenged skin. Several members use these products for cleansing on a daily basis. I would reserve them for when there are challenging areas with the skin, as there is an acid mantle on the skin that naturally defends its balance.

When you use soaps, make sure they’re natural and don’t contain mineral or baby oil. There are some very nice olive oil-based soaps. I also recently began using Shea butter soap that has a rich scent, very sensual and soothing. When using creams, just make sure that you cleanse your face nightly, using a toner to re-balance the skin’s natural pH, which is closer to 5.3 or 5.5. So you want to choose creams that are at that level or a bit lower, especially if you are keen on efficacy.
Singing the unsung hero song:  Ellagiderm Cream
One of the unsung heroes in Xooma’s magical product line is the Ellagiderm Cream. It’s been constantly improved over the years and now has many beneficial applications. Whether you have an insect bite or bee sting, a just-squeezed pimple, or if there are abrasions and possibly suspected damaged skin cells, the Ellagiderm cream is a cooling, soothing and therapeutic application. If you don’t already own a bottle, get it. I firmly believe it belongs in everyone’s medicine chest and first aid kit.

There is a lot of research behind this product, stemming from way, way back, when Ellagic Acid was first looked at as a highly potent cancer fighter. Ellagiderm Cream is something that travels with me, right along with both the Silver MAX liquid and gel. Thus fortified, we are safer in our adventures whether we are outdoors, near home or trekking the far reaches of the world.

Balancing with Life’s Harmony
Finally, a bit closer to home is Life’s Harmony. It is a balancing cream with natural progesterone that nurtures and soothes your skin, no matter where you apply it. Used on the face, you can use it three days in a row and then switch to other body parts. If you have PMS or there is a tension headache stemming from your days, apply a small amount to your neck or forehead, at your temples and belly to areas that are sore, giving it some much needed TLC. Touch gently and rub it on in a clockwise circular motion.

An example of the skin’s role in elimination
Many years ago it was very common for older women to have ‘open sores’ on their legs. I have witnessed this in my own practice, and it’s not a pretty picture. There was a teaching in the holistic community that such leg ulcers and sores come from a very dirty colon, having the legs act as a third colon. Depending on where they are, you can have a lymphatic system that is clogged and compromised leading to dirty blood. The body then desperately tries to exude and get rid of, and a digestive tract – including the liver – that are sub-functional in the elimination of waste and toxins. The amount of acceptance around this issue, as something that “just happens,” is frustrating. It’s not until the 1960’s when Scandinavian researchers and doctors came out with the acid/alkaline balance and how we can affect our wellbeing by observing better eating habits. The shame and embarrassment around waste matter and the under-functioning digestive tract, leading to poor elimination, was the cause for many people’s suffering either in silence or a denial, all with the polite, secret acceptance of these horrible and painful leg ulcerations which often made sleep hard and outings near impossible. This is a small part of a much larger discussion on skin and its connection to our well-being.

In closing, I want to encourage you to think ‘outside the box’. There are ways to think about ourselves that allow new ideas and insights to emerge, whether in the field of health or in other areas of your life. Knowing what works for you is always your best defense and being open to input and new ideas can give us such a greater quality of life.

Article written by Dr. Henriette Alban and reprinted from Xooma Worldwide's Monthly Health Newsletter (HealthBeat).


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