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Your skin is your largest organ and is often the first outward sign of internal imbalance. If you suffer from acne, rosacea, or problem skin, a few natural adjustments just may make all the difference.

Conventional treatments include topical solutions that usually contain salicylic acid or antibiotics. These might do the trick, but these methods treat the surface rather than uncovering the underlying cause of your skin troubles. Plus, taking antibiotics for an extended period of time can be incredibly disruptive to your inner ecology. Antibiotics provide a perfect environment where yeast (or bad bacteria) can outgrow the good bacteria, become pathogenic, and create toxic waste products that weaken your body and overwhelm your immune and endocrine systems. This is one reason you may experience yeast infections from antibiotic use.

First off, take a look at your diet: are you eating mostly processed foods? Are you eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) of hamburgers and french fries, pasta, muffins, potato chips, coffee, sugar, soda, and candy? These refined foods lack nutrients, contribute to inflammation, congestion, unstable blood sugar, and deficiency. For beautiful skin, make sure you are getting enough antioxidants to fight free radical damage, a number one cause of wrinkles and aging. Antioxidants also protect you from damage incurred by sun exposure, a necessary source of vitamin D. Antioxidant-rich foods include fruits such as berries, cherries, and citrus, leafy greens, and green & white teas.

Hidden food allergies or sensitivities can trigger acne and rosacea, and cause inflammation, skin eruptions, and other “unexplained” skin issues. The seven most allergenic foods are citrus, wheat, milk, eggs, nuts, shellfish, and soy. You can eliminate any one of these foods for 14 days and reintroduce the food on day 15 on an empty stomach to see if you have a sensitivity. Watch for any symptoms whatsoever (bloating, fatigue, congestion). Anything adverse means you are sensitive to said food. Try a gluten, soy, and dairy-free diet for 60 days to reduce internal inflammation. Often, cutting out wheat can reduce acne quite dramatically.

Secondly, consider your liver. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: your liver is your hardest working organ. It must neutralize and detoxify everything you breathe, eat, drink, apply to your skin, and are exposed to in your environment. If your liver becomes congested from poor diet, too many over the counter or prescription drugs (VERY hard on the liver), too much alcohol, sugar, or processed foods, it cannot thoroughly detoxify your body. The result? Toxins back up into your system, hormonal imbalances occur, you may experience constipation, and all of this can manifest as acne or skin eruptions or rashes. Drink plenty of filtered water, eat organic, get enough fresh produce, and try milk thistle or oregon grape root to help a sluggish liver detoxify. Do a twice yearly detox program.

Thirdly, take a look inside your bathroom cabinets. Read the labels on your products! Are your products full of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and other chemicals you cannot pronounce? Watch out for sodium laurel sulfates, “fragrance” — the name under which endocrine-disrupting chemicals hide — and propylene glycol.

Use only organic, natural cleansers, lotions, and toners on your face. Be aware that just because a product is labeled organic does NOT mean it won’t contain chemicals! Read labels! Look for aloe vera, witch hazel, carrot, rosehip, natural oils (like borage or pumpkin seed or jojoba), green tea extracts, herbs, and essential oils. Tea tree and neem can be useful for acne.

Make sure you are getting enough vitamin C, which is the building block of collagen, necessary for healthy skin and maintaining elasticity. Zinc is an important antioxidant and deficiency has been linked to acne. Probiotics and probiotic foods such as kefir, yogurt, and cultured vegetables help maintain regularity, and a backed up digestive tract means inner toxicity, which can cause acne. A good digestive cleanse using psyllium and flax powder combined with digestive enzymes and probiotics could be just what you need to detox your colon and prevent toxic build-up.

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