Here, holistic nutritionist Joy McCarthy tells us about a common health problem she’s seen in her practice and how she came to a solution.
This Client: Chelsea, 29, a public relations manager who loves coffee and croissants
The Problem: Chelsea claimed that by each day’s end her skin looked as though she had doused her face in olive oil. As a result, Chelsea, not unlike many women with oily skin, had spent countless hours (and plenty of money) searching for a magic potion, lotion or cosmetic.
Oily skin occurs when the sebaceous glands produce more oil than is needed, leaving the afflicted with an unflatteringly shiny face. To make matters worse, the excess oil can very easily clog pores and cause blemishes. There are various causes for this including genetics, diet, hormone levels, humid weather and facial products.
Before I gave Chelsea my recommendations, I reminded her of the positive aspects of having oily skin: Her skin will be slower to develop age spots and discoloration in addition to fine lines and wrinkles; and oily skin doesn’t freckle or turn red as quickly in the sun. On the negative side, oily skin is more prone to breakouts, which Chelsea suffered from occasionally.
Nutritional and holistic solutions
- Reduce the amount of bad fats in your diet. This means avoiding fried foods, vegetable oils and processed baked goods with trans fats including store bought croissants, muffins and cookies. Cook with coconut oil, olive oil (low- medium heat) and ghee.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day keep to keep your skin well hydrated and aid in the elimination of toxins.
- Keep your skin very clean. Use a cleanser with lavender because this helps to reduce oil in the skin. Avalon Organics has a line of skin care products with lavender.
- Avoid cleansers with additives that can be both irritating and pore-clogging. Check how clean and non-toxic your cosmetics are on the Cosmetics Database site.
- Use a clay or mud mask, two to three times per week to clear away excess oil. Blend together one teaspoon of green clay powder (available in health food stores) and one teaspoon of raw honey. Apply the mixture to your face (avoid your eye area) and leave it on for fifteen minutes, then rinse well with water. White or rose-colored clays are best for sensitive skin.
- Witch hazel is a herb that when applied to the skin is excellent for absorbing excess oil.
- Flaxseed oil is a hormonally-balancing essential fatty acid needed for healthy skin. Add it to your salad dressing each day or take flaxseed oil capsules, 1,000mg daily or primose oil, 500mg daily.
Lastly, many clients benefit from doing a liver cleanse. The liver is your master organ of detoxification. As toxins leave the body, the skin may get worse at first, but long-term, cleansing the liver with herbs that are both detoxifying and protective has many benefits for skin health. One of my favorite cleanses is by FLOR-ESSENCE. It’s a tea that you take every morning on an empty stomach.
Chelsea followed my recommendations above, did the FLOR-ESSENCE tea cleanse for six weeks, and she eliminated five problem foods and her skin showed a significant improvement within just three weeks. I advised her of the importance of sticking with the nutritional recommendations, otherwise she would risk the return of a shiny face. Not only did her skin look better, but she had more energy than ever before. She loved the face mask and continued doing it once per week, just because it felt so good.
Joy McCarthy, Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Health Coach of Joyous Health, loves to inspire others to eat well and live well. Joy is the resident holistic nutritionist at 889 Yonge, a Yoga & Holistic Lifestyle Spa in Toronto. Joy welcomes your questions or comments.
Please note: This advice is not meant to treat or diagnose, please consult a certified practitioner or your family doctor for any serious health issues.