Beautiful Skin: An Inside Job

Beautiful Skin- An Inside Job

By Jackie Callahan

Acne, an inflammatory skin disorder characterized by the presence of blackheads, pimples, whiteheads and clogged pores, is the most common of all skin problems. It most often occurs during puberty when the body is flooded with androgens: hormones, which stimulate the production of the protein keratin, and an oily skin lubricant, called sebum. When sebum is produced more quickly than the pores can be cleared, a blemish develops. An over-abundance of this oil makes the pores sticky, creating an opportunity for bacteria to grow, and local infections can develop. Often, the skin is red and painful, but the pain is not just physical; embarrassment can lead to social isolation, lack of confidence, and low self-esteem.

According to Phyllis Balch, CNC, best-selling author of Prescription for Nutritional Healing, and, Prescription for Herbal Healing, acne affects 80% of Americans between the ages of 12 and 44, to one degree or another. Balch says that the numbers of adults affected by acne is on the rise.

Acne is a sign that the body is out of balance, due either to diet, body chemistry, or skin care routine. Some contributing factors may be poor nutrition, heredity, monthly menstrual cycles, hormonal imbalance, and certain drugs, such as contraceptives, and anti-epileptic drugs.

The skin is a major organ of elimination, and when toxins are taken in to an excessive degree, such as through a diet high in hydrogenated fats, animal products, and saturated fats, the skin is not able to eliminate the toxins fast enough. If the body contains more toxins than the liver and kidneys can process, the job must be done by the skin; blemishes are a reflection of the body’s efforts to eliminate toxins from the body. As a result, acne can occur. Complicating the matter further may be food allergens, or food sensitivities, such as to wheat, or dairy. Avoid chocolate, fatty meats, sugar, and cheese, butter and ice cream during the outbreak.

A nutritious diet, rich in vegetables, and fruit, whole grains, and chicken or fish; and low in highly processed foods and saturated fats, such as are found in “fast foods”, or foods that are highly laden with chemical additives, will go a long way toward beginning the healing process. Easing the burden on the liver and kidneys, through a cleansing, clearing diet, can have a major effect on cleansing the liver, kidneys and blood, and as a result, the skin, as well.

Cleansing herbs such as burdock root, dandelion root, and others, have long been used to gently stimulate the elimination processes for the lymph glands, digestive system and urinary system, and clearing a sluggish liver of its burden improves elimination of toxins from the body, allowing for a clearer complexion.

Cleanliness of the skin is also important because the skin breathes, so, if dust and dirt, as well as grime, and oil, from pollution, clog the pores – actually protecting the bacteria from the healing effects of the sun – blemishes flourish. Cleanse the skin with a natural, gentle soap, free of heavy perfumes. Follow with a tea tree oil wash, either full strength gently dabbed on individual blemishes, or watered down and used as a wash.

For mild acne you can try a weekly herbal steam of chamomile, lavender and calendula blossoms; the essential oils released in the steam will provide a healing and soothing effect. Or, if you prefer, you can make a hot compress by dipping a clean cloth in the same herbal infusion, and hold the cloth to the affected area. Follow by rinsing your skin with cold water, then a diluted solution of witch hazel (1/4 cup witch hazel to ¾ cup water). Finally, dab each pimple with a blend of honey and French clay, and let it dry. It will draw the pimple to a head. Never pick or break pimples because it will spread infection and may cause scarring.

Some of the vitamins and supplements considered by Balch to be very important for clear skin are: acidophilus, essential fatty acids (evening primrose oil or flax seed oil are excellent sources) Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C and zinc. In addition, she recommends garlic capsules.

So, it appears that beautiful skin is an inside job! Taking the time to nurture yourself, inside, and out, will quite likely affect the change you have been longing for!

Aviva Romm’s Cleansing Tea

¼ -cup burdock root

1/4-cup nettle leaves

1/8-cup licorice root

1/8- cup red clover blossoms

1/8-cup sarsaparilla

1/8 -cup dandelion root

Mix all herbs together in a bowl. Reserve ¼ cup of the blended herbs and place the remaining herbs in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; set aside. Place the reserved ¼ cup of herbs in a quart-sized jar and cover with boiling water. Close lid tightly. Let stand for four hours. Strain tea and refrigerate. Drink one cup, hot or cold, twice daily. Makes 16 cups of tea. Store remaining herbs in a dark cupboard.

Skin Beauty Salad

2 handfuls of young arugala

2 handfuls of baby spinach

1 grated carrot

2 radishes, sliced thin

2 small cucumbers

1 small red onion

3 limes, juiced

1 Haas avocado

1 tbs raw apple cider vinegar

1 pinch cayenne pepper

1 tsp raw honey

1 handful fresh soft herbs (dill, coriander or basil)

¼ tsp sea salt

1. Soak onion in a bowl with limejuice for ten minutes (up to an hour creates an even softer, sweeter result.)

2. Scoop seeds out of cucumber. Put seeds in blender. Slice cucumber in half, lengthwise

3. In a large bowl arrange lettuce and greens, cucumber, carrot and radish. Take onion out of the limejuice and arrange on plate with vegetables.

4. Add to the blender leftover limejuice, avocado, vinegar, cayenne, honey, herbs, and salt. Blend until smooth, adding a small amount of water, if needed.

5. Dollop dressing generously on salad.    (From

jackie callahan in Wellness at Healthy Living and Cafe New York



Jackie Callahan has been interested in health and nutrition for her entire adult life. She is an amateur naturalist and has written over 13 illustrated journals on the flora and fauna of Fish Creek, an outlet of Saratoga Lake, and is currently studying with master herbalist, Dr. Aviva Romm, working toward a certification as an herbal educator. She works as a sales associate in the Healthy Living (Saratoga) Wellness department. She lives in Saratoga Springs on beautiful Fish Creek with her husband, John and their son, Alex. She also has two grown children, Danielle and Devin, who live in Marblehead, Massachusetts, and Burlington, Vermont, respectively.