Skin, Hair and Nails
The answer to beauty lies within
The appearance of our skin, hair and nails often can tell us much more than we realize. The skin, hair and nails is the largest organ of the body, and is our first line of defense against microbes and the external elements. The condition of our skin, hair and nails can reveal to us much of what is going on, deep inside our bodies.
When faced with skin, hair and nail problems we often first try topical solutions or take supplements that we believe can help remedy the situation. This can make us feel better mentally and emotionally, and that is very important; but many products contain elements that can actually make the situation worse. It is important to remember - whatever we put on our skin, hair and nails is absorbed into the bloodstream, and the toxins in these products contribute to an already toxic liver. There are some antiviral and anticancer skin salves that can help support skin issues, as well as creams which mildly soften and moisturize the skin, yet it is important to understand that the true solution to improving the condition of our skin, hair and nails lies deep within.
Skin Health - The liver
The liver plays an important role in determining skin health. The more toxic the liver, the more likely we are to develop age related issues such as wrinkles, dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis. The liver cleanses and processes our blood and then directs the blood to various areas of the body. If the liver is overburdened with toxins, these toxins enter the bloodstream and make their way to the skin and other organs, setting the stage for potential problems. Basically, the cleaner the liver, the better the skin looks. So - if we’re having trouble with scarring, age spots, flabby skin, wrinkles or skin tags - the first thing we want to do is to support the liver.
When seeking to support the liver, the first thing we need to tend to is our diet. All fats and oils burden the liver, and fried foods are the most damaging. Plant based oils such as canola, soy and corn oil hold many toxins, and are the most damaging. Animal protein is high in fats, so when looking to support the liver, it is important we limit foods that contain milk, dairy, chicken, beef, and fish. The body does need a certain amount of healthy oils, and there are healthy oils available, especially the omega 3 based oils. Good sources for healthy oils are: red and butter leaf lettuce, purslane, walnuts, pumpkin, sesame, chia, hemp and flax seeds. If you choose to use an omega 3 supplement, it is imperative to not consume any supplement that contains fish or krill oil, due to their toxicity.
In order to support the liver, we need to also reduce our intake of toxins. The more organic produce we eat, the fewer toxins we ingest. It is also important to eliminate foods that contain additives, preservatives, natural and artificial flavorings. In addition to this, we need to help the body release any pesticides, heavy metals and toxins that have accumulated over the years. One great way to do this is by daily consuming the top five foods for detoxifying heavy metals from the body - wild blueberries, cilantro, Hawaiian spirulina, barley grass juice extract powder, and Atlantic dulse. You can read more about the detox process in the Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie article.
In order to improve the quality of our skin, the liver needs a steady supply of beta-carotene rich foods. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant and is critical for healthy skin. The liver takes in this important antioxidant, labels it and slightly changes it so that it can make its way to the derma. When we eat a lot beta-carotene rich foods, our skin radiates a healthy glow. We can find lots of these beta-carotenes in colorful fruits and vegetables such as: leafy greens, spinach, mangos, papaya, carrots, sweet potatoes, and berries. For more suggestions on how to support the liver, go to the Versatile Liver article.
The Liver-Adrenal connection
Our adrenals glands are also essential in supporting the liver. When we go through the loss of a loved one, betrayal, financial burden, or any other emotionally charged situation, the adrenals produce adrenaline which floods the body, harming the liver and other vital organs. Therefore, as we learn to better address emotional issues, this helps to balance our adrenal glands and lowers the amount of adrenaline in the body. Another important way to support the adrenals, is to eat differently. When we eat a combination of fruits and mineral rich vegetables every few hours, this gives the adrenals a rest and allows them to heal. You can read how to do this in the article on Adrenal Fatigue.
Skin and Hydration
If you want to speed up the detox process, in order to improve the texture and health of your skin, it is important to remain well hydrated. We often suffer from chronic dehydration without being aware of it. When this happens our skin becomes deficient of water. Chronic dehydration also impairs the liver’s ability to detox, further aggravating an already toxic liver. We can easily remedy this situation by adding a bit of lemon juice to the water we normally drink. Fresh lemon juice, especially first thing in the morning, improves the hydrating qualities of water, and acts as a wonderful tonic that helps to cleanse and detoxify the entire body.
Eczema, Psoriasis, Vitiligo and Cystic Acne
Before we move on to discussing hair and nails, I’d like to add a few words on eczema, psoriasis, vitiligo and cystic acne.
These skin conditions stem from highly inflammatory derma-toxins found in the liver, causing the skin to break and bleed as it tries to eliminate the toxins. The specific type of derma-toxins that leads to eczema and psoriasis are caused by a pathogen that feeds on copper found in DDT pesticide. This particular type of copper is passed down to us from our ancestors - those who lived from 1874 and onwards. This copper not only feeds the pathogen, but it also stops the DDT in our bodies from degrading, so the eczema and psoriasis don’t go away. This condition can be made worse by a bad diet and continued exposure to copper from old pipes and newer pesticides found in our food and/or environment.
The first step in healing these skin conditions is to eat as much organic food as possible. Avoid spraying your lawns, garden and home. Anything we can do to support the liver is crucial - which means we need to adapt to a plant based diet that is low in fat during outbreaks. For an optimal healing diet, see the 28-Day Healing Cleanse. Another important recommendation is to incorporate the Heavy Metal Detox Smoothie daily. Additional foods that draw out DDT include grapes, melon, parsley, pomegranate, and onions. Once the situation improves, you can choose a healthy diet that feels right for you, as long as grains, dairy, canola oil, soy and corn are eliminated on a more permanent basis.
Supplements and herbs for psoriasis and eczema include fresh aloe water, zinc, B complex, MSM, Mary Ruth Organics multivitamins and minerals, probiotics, curcumin, calendula, peppermint, rosehip, nettle leaf, chamomile and burdock root tea, and a non-alcohol skullcap tincture.
Vitiligo is a skin condition characterized by white patches of skin due to a loss of pigment. Vitiligo can also affect the eyes, ears or knees. The causes for vitiligo are three-fold: Industrial toxins (particularly aluminum), a high fat diet, and the presence of particular viruses.
Vitiligo is typically caused by heavy metals that have been in body since before birth or early childhood. Once the aluminum has been in the liver for an extended period of time it begins to oxidize and interact with other metals present in the liver. When the oxidised metal meets with fat, they interact with one another and accelerate the oxidation process. If there is low grade EBV, herpes or shingle viral infection present in the liver, these viruses begin to feed off the oxidized metal and excrete a type of derma toxin that affects the pigment creating cells (melanocytes) in the skin, causing them to malfunction and die off.
The first step in healing vitiligo is to limit the exposure to aluminum. Aluminum is typically found in deodorants, toothpaste, water, cleaning agents, and aluminum foil and cookware. In addition to lowering our exposure to toxins, a low fat diet is essential to healing. Animal products are extremely high in fat, and should be eliminated from the diet. Other foods high in fat include soy, seeds and nuts. Gluten should also be avoided as it feeds and strengthens the virus, allowing them to create additional damage.
To speed up the healing process we need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables such as leafy greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash - all of which help clean out the liver. The heavy metal detox smoothie is helpful in providing important anti-viral foods and is instrumental for cleaning out metals from the liver. Another important food to help heal is celery juice, which provides cluster sodium salts that not only heal the liver, but also dissolves the virus's membrane, thus limiting their action. If you are looking for supplements and herbs to add to your daily regime, MSM, ALA, B12, 5-MTHF, lemon balm, licorice, rose hips, and olive leaf are helpful.
Cystic acne often occurs during hormonal changes, creating a belief that hormones are behind the outbreaks. Hormonal changes tend to weaken our immune system, creating a condition that opportunistic pathogens take advantage of. In the case of cystic acne, streptococcus is the actual culprit, and not our hormonal system. Therefore, it is important to adapt to an antibacterial regime during an outbreak, while finding ways to support the body in general.
For an in depth look into healing from a chronic strep infection, see the article on Rethinking Streptococcus. Specific best supplements for this type of strep include zinc, periodic goldenseal (non-alcohol), sovereign silver, vitamin C (Ester-C) and lemon balm tea. overcoming a chronic strep infection requires patience and perseverance. When we know the true cause of our outbreaks, healing is so much easier.
Just like the skin, hair health is largely dependent upon internal issues and the adrenaline that is produced from our response to high-charged emotional events has a major impact on our hair. Often we see the impact of stressful situations only a month or more after the initial occurrence. This can manifest as hair loss that could continue over an extended period of time.
A different type of hair loss is spot baldness, or alopecia. In this case we will experience a more severe loss of hair loss. Contrary to popular belief, this is not an autoimmune disorder, but rather an adrenal related issue. There are actually 56 different blends of adrenaline; and a particular hormone that regulates hair growth. When this hormone is missing, it prevents the hair follicles from functioning properly. Once we start to support the adrenals with the foods and herbs it needs, such as Ashwagandha in this case, the body can remedy the situation.
Herbs and supplements that support hair growth include nettle leaf, lemon balm and milk thistle. Foods that promote hair growth include amla berry, apricot, barley grass, and cashew nut. Fresh aloe vera gel massaged into the hair and scalp is also helpful in stimulating hair growth.
The state of our nails can tell us a lot about our overall health. A vanishing half-moon, any pits, bleeding, ridges, changes in color, shape or thickness of the nails, can be signs of internal issues that need to be addressed. These situations are often an indication of a long standing zinc deficiency, a liver and/or an adrenal related issue.
The first step to take in remedying these situations is to increase the amount of zinc in the body. While pumpkin seeds are a good source for zinc, when dealing with a deficiency, a really good zinc supplement is the best option.
What else can we do to support the skin, hair and nails?
When seeking to improve the condition of our skin, hair and nails, we are often told to increase our protein intake. This approach is based on a misconception. Contrary to popular belief, hair, skin and nails are not derived from protein, but are composed of thousands of different chemical compounds, vitamins and minerals found mostly in fruits and vegetables. We certainly can eat some protein, but if we want to improve the quality of our skin, hair and nails, we need to eat mostly fruits and vegetables throughout the day. A diet high in protein weighs heavily on the liver, especially animal protein that is also high in fat. Sources for high quality plant based protein includes spirulina, barley grass juice extract powder, kale, spinach, lentils, black beans, and walnuts.
Another nutrient to be on the lookout for is silica. The body needs two different types of silica: one for the bones, and another for the skin, hair and nails. The type of silica we want in this case is found in asparagus, artichoke, kale stems, cucumber, and fennel. Horsetail, nettle leaf, oatstraw and rosehip contain both types of silica and a good quality silica supplement will do the trick as well. Other important supplements we might want to try include selenium, ionic manganese (free of citric acid) and molybdenum.
Wild blueberries are at the top of the list of foods that support the skin, hair and nails. These berries are the most powerful antioxidant on Earth. They and are rich in phytochemicals, amino acids, coenzymes, and co-compounds, many of which are yet to be discovered. Figs, avocados and bananas are rich in potassium, which is an essential element needed for healthy skin. Bananas are helpful in flushing out toxins from the liver and intestinal tract, and support the skin, hair, and nails in many different ways. Sprouted lentils contain a carbohydrate that is stored as glycogen in the body, providing incredible support for the skin, hair and nails.
We live in a world that strongly identifies with the physical appearance of things, and we don’t always stop to evaluate what is going on beneath the surface. Nowhere is this more apparent than when talking about skin, hair and nails. Often we care so much about how we look that we become oblivious to the implications of what we are putting on and in our bodies - most brands of perfume, cosmetics, body cream, deodorant, soap, shampoo, hair dye and nail polish contain extremely toxic ingredients. The irony of this is that we often harm ourselves in an attempt to improve our physical appearance. It is important to understand - anything we put on our skin, hair and nails is absorbed into the bloodstream: if it contains any toxins, this will negatively affect our liver, as well as the rest of the body. As we seek to create a more beautiful body, we must become more knowledgeable of the products we use because our increased exposure to toxins is often the leading cause of disease.
True beauty lies within. As we learn to love ourselves more, we start to search for new ways to nurture our body, without doing harm. Each of us is like a snowflake - unique and special. We are a masterpiece, an extremely complex and diverse being. We are the sum of many different parts, and each part holds importance - regardless of how much we like or dislike that particular aspect of our self - for the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. As we connect with this understanding, we learn to accept and cherish our weaknesses as well as the strengths, radiating unconditional love. We are beings of light. As we learn unconditional love, we learn to shine more than ever before, radiating beauty from the inside out.
With much love,
Information in this article is based on Anthony William's work: Medical Medium