By Penny Barnett
Penny is a Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist and has been working in health and well-being for over 10 years. Having originally studied and worked in the film industry she decided to turn her passion into her career, and to take her health into her own hands after suffering with facial acne for many years. She now has a young daughter with her husband Jonathan and is very happy in her skin! She trained with the Nutritional Healing Foundation and currently practises in Bristol. You can also sometimes find her on the shop floor working at Wild Oats among the products she loves!
The skin is an organ, the biggest organ of the body, and it needs to be supported and nourished to keep it functioning properly. It has to deal with a lot – atmospheric toxins, heat regulation, sun exposure and it acts as a barrier to protect our precious insides!
Skin health can be a difficult subject to discuss for the person suffering, as for some people their skin issue may be visible and therefore embarrassing to talk about. It can create great stigmas, unhealthy habits and discomfort, affecting the person socially, mentally as well as physically. This can leave the person psychologically and physically tired, which unfortunately will only exacerbate the issue further.
Healthy on the inside and out
There is a wide spectrum of skin problems including acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, shingles, cysts and eczema and in all these cases in could be said that the infection is trying to make its way out of the body, using the skin as its route of elimination, and for that reason it is important to maintain total body health for ultimate skin health.
Skin problems can vary greatly, but the solution for each and every one can be helped with a few skin care essentials.
✓ Water intake – make sure you’re getting enough water to help flush out toxins and hydrate your system; drinking herbal tea can also be a great, therapeutic way of staying hydrated.
✓ Dry skin brush – stimulating for the lymph and supportive for cleansing
✓ Epsom salt baths – rich in Magnesium Sulphate, which is hydrating and relaxing
✓ Sleep – at least 8 hours a night and switch off electrical devices before you get into bed.
✓ Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) – make sure you’re getting a sufficient amount of good EFA’s internally through food or supplementation, and apply oils, like coconut oil, directly to the skin (seek advice for the correct recommendation for your skin type)
“High levels of omega-3 have been shown to plump up the look of the skin as well as the quality, by reducing inflammation as well as supplying the building blocks for healthy skin cells.” 
✓ Organic and natural skincare products – there’s ample to choose from at Wild Oats!
✓ Exercise – oxygenate the blood and move built-up stagnancy in the body
✓ Antioxidant-rich food – helping to fight free radicals which can lead to skin cell damage
✓ Supplements – vary depending on the person, but a multi-vit and an Essential Fatty Acid are the basics. Herbal supplements can greatly can reduce skin issues.
✓ Sunshine – seek an organic/natural face and body cream that contains a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) for the summer. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are natural active SPF ingredients to look out for. Aloe Vera also has natural SPF of 5.
➔ Caffeine and alcohol – both are dehydrating for the body and stimulating for the liver – impacting the proper functioning of the liver, which can lead to a build-up of toxins in the body.
➔ Processed food and refined sugar – reduce your intake of acidic and inflammation-causing foods, including fried food, margarines and fast-foods as well as refined (white) sugar products.
➔ Dairy – dairy can clog the system and introduce pathogens to the body, which are an added burden for the system to process. The possible exceptions are kefir (cultured dairy), organic live yogurt and organic butter.
➔ Stress – skin issues are stressful enough, let alone any external stress added on top! Stress creates chemical reactions in the body that make skin more sensitive and reactive, and slowing the healing process. Hormones such as cortisol are released under stress, resulting in increased oil production by sebaceous glands, which makes the skin more prone to acne and other skin problems.
Eat a rainbow and glow
Spring is the perfect time to cleanse the system from the rich foods that we indulge in during the colder months, and to awaken the body from increased stagnancy (hibernation!). Some simple ways of kick-starting a cleanse is to focus on what you’re putting in your body, and giving your body the food it needs to maintain the perfect glow.
For ultimate skin health, it is important to eat fresh, alkalising and nutrient-rich food.
Increase these great foods for great skin…
★ EFA rich foods such as flax, oily fish, almonds, hemp and pumpkin seeds
★ Sweet potatoes
★ Citrus fruit
For Penny’s recipe for optimum skin health (pictured),
Less is more
We use toiletries to make us look good, feel good and smell good, but do we really need as much as we use to achieve the required end result?
As Pat Thomas highlights in her book ‘Skin Deep’,
“your skin absorbs up to 60% of the chemicals that come into contact with it and sends them directly into the bloodstream” .
Your skin has to deal with a lot: environmental toxins, as well as any chemicals used on a daily basis – deodorant, makeup, soap, perfume and household cleaning products -so why not lighten the burden and try reducing the amount you use? After all, you may not need an extensive facial routine to create the result you want. Try minimising and selecting more specific products. And what’s more, as your skin regains its natural healthy look, you may find you choose to rely less on make-up.
Natural and organic products will generally place less demands on the bloodstream, and they will ultimately be gentler on your skin, more hydrating and healing.
Additional therapeutic support
Nutritional Therapy – tailored nutritional and supplement advice for optimum health
Acupuncture – derived from Chinese medicine, fine needles are used for therapeutic and preventative use.
Holistic Massage – massage for detoxifying, relaxation and restoration
Colonic Irrigation – cleanse and hydrate the bowel and colon to support whole body detoxification
 How to eat for great skin – Dietary fats By Ian Marber
 Skin Deep, Pat Thomas, page 4.
More from Penny
For Penny’s recipe for Wild Oats, click here..
Take a step inside Penny’s kitchen, click here…