Did you know your skin is the largest organ of your body? It weighs on average six pounds and covers and area of two square yards.
Many people don’t think of the skin as an organ, but it is.
And besides protecting your body from all of the invaders of the outside world, it’s also one of the top five primary organs for the elimination of toxic waste from your system.
In a perfect world, the skin would eliminate 2lbs of toxins daily to keep up with the demands of today’s world.
We only get one set of skin so taking care of it through all of life’s iterations and not routinely adding to its toxic load is vitally important.
That’s why today’s blog covers 7 effective, natural alternatives from the conventional and often clogging, over-the-counter creams and salves.
These wonderful alternatives can be used to soothe, prevent, or reverse common skin issues like eczema, psoriasis or other rashes, sunburn, stretch marks and wrinkles. They are just as effective, if not more effective than the “unnatural” stuff.
1 & 2: Shea Butter and Vitamin E
Stretch marks primarily form when the connective tissue of the skin gets stretched beyond its limit. Collagen production is decreased and that leads to those fine scars on the upper layer of the skin.
Shea butter and Vitamin E oil are the single best combination for stretch marks stemming from sudden fast weight loss, pregnancy, or the prolonged use of corticosteroids.
Shea butter is extracted from a nut native to Africa. Because it contains a high concentration of linoleic and oleic fatty acids, it helps the skin to remain hydrated naturally and stimulates collagen production, thereby rejuvenating the skin and reducing stretch marks.
It’s high in vitamin E and vitamin A, which help considerably with skin repair. It also contains a natural sun-protecting factor, which prevents skin from drying and over tanning.
Shea butter also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it very soothing.
When Vitamin E oil is added, you double your protection because Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects the collagen fibers in the skin, promoting skin elasticity.
I faithfully use FATCO’s Body Butta as my daily hand and body moisturizer and I love it. Not only does it contain shea butter and vitamin E (from avocado and olive oil), but its base is tallow from grass-fed cows, providing an added dose of anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acids.
I also absolutely love that it contains magnesium oil. The skin absorbs magnesium at 10x the rate of oral consumption, making this the best way get your daily magnesium for calmer moods and better sleep.
They top it off with essential oils of sage and lavender to ward off bad bacteria and to further soothe and nourish the skin. It’s my one stop shop for total skin nourishment on a daily basis.
Alternatively, you can try making it yourself!
Optional: 1 part of free-range duck fat to make your own, homemade version of “Body Butta”.
If you are using this as daily maintenance for skin health, once a day is fine. If your goal is to prevent or reduce stretch marks, rub it on the affected area twice daily.
3: Coconut Oil
Keeping it simple, our old stand by and tried and true favorite all around product for just about anything is coconut oil.
We already know it’s antibacterial, antifungal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory.
We should always keep one in the kitchen to cook with and one in the bathroom to use on our skin and hair (or for oil pulling).
Coconut oil is often used for stretch marks due to its immense moisturizing properties because it gets absorbed so quickly. It’s also high in antioxidants which fight free radicals and nourish damaged skin. The healthful saturated fat content makes for stronger cell walls.
4 & 5: Aloe Vera Gel and Calendula Cream
(aka The Dream Team for Rashes)
These are the two best options to temper any kind of rash, especially eczema or psoriasis.
Keep in mind, it’s very important to get to the root cause of rashes by doing your due diligence of digestive diagnosis and repair because most of these conditions begin in the gastrointestinal tract (another main elimination organ, when not able to do it’s job, will send out toxins via the skin).
In the meantime, using aloe vera gel and calendula cream together can do wonders to temper discomfort naturally.
Aloe Vera Gel is quick and highly effective at soothing and calming the skin. It’s derived from the aloe vera plant, a common houseplant that closely resembles a cactus. Aloe works on the inflammatory process by reducing inflammation.
When combined together, calendula can pick up where aloe vera gel leaves off because it works to produce collagen directly at the rash/wound site.
Step 1 is to reduce inflammation and step 2 is to stimulate new skin growth and healing – making these two a most powerful layering combination.
Calendula can work wonders in a matter of days during an acute rash. It’s an herb/flower hailing from the marigold family that has been used for centuries for wound healing, scrapes, minor burns, chafing and rashes.
It has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, astringent, antifungal, antiviral, and immunostimulant properties making it useful for disinfecting and treating minor wounds, conjunctivitis, cuts, scrapes, chapped or chafed skin, bruises, burns, athlete’s foot, acne, yeast infections, bee stings, diaper rashes, and other minor irritations and infections of the skin.
I like this Boiron Calendula and Jason Aloe Vera gel in the store, but if I am more proactive, I order both from Mountain Rose for an elevated level of quality.
6: Hyaluronic Acid – The Wrinkle Buster
Hyaluronic acid is naturally present throughout the body. It works to coat, repair, and protect. It’s especially concentrated in the eyes and skin, where it helps with both lubrication (its job is to sustain moisture) and shape. We also find it in the synovial fluid of joints where it works to keep us loose.
Hyaluronic acid is involved in a number of processes, including hydration, repair, and even the formation of collagen and elastin, which helps skin retain its shape.
For cosmetic purposes, HA is often extracted from the Japanese sweet potato and gelatinous root vegetables.
Since the compound is found throughout the body, taking it internally may help restore lubrication to important areas like the joints, skin, and eyes.
A 2002 study proved after 4 weeks of consumption (as compared to a placebo group), those ingesting hyaluronic acid reported better skin quality, more retention of moisture, and less dryness.
Barlean’s has just come out with a new swirl product of hyaluronic acid if you prefer to consume your hyaluronic acid.
Physicians use hyaluronic acid injections to alleviate the pain of osteoarthritis and to fill in or “plump out” fine lines and wrinkles.
How it works:
Hyaluronic acid naturally moisturizes and plumps the skin by helping skin hold on to its moisture, a main reason why it’s so effective at reducing fine lines and wrinkles when applied topically.
It also repairs tissue damage and can reverse sun damage by encouraging the formation of collagen and elastin, keeping skin supple.
When applied topically, it forms a protective layer that—although it “breathes” and air can permeate it—it locks in moisture and protects the skin from outside elements, particularly from harmful UV rays.
My favorite natural line of skin care that has high quality hyaluronic acid is Annmarie Gianni. Their products are 100% natural, totally affordable, and highly effective.
7: Vitamin C!
Never underestimate the power of this amazing vitamin!
Vitamin C can fade scars and age spots in as little as four weeks. Epicurean and Annmarie Gianni are my favorites when it comes to C serum.
I like how Annemarie Gianni uses buriti fruit oil, rosehip seed oil and carrot seed oil to rejuvenate the skin. The bioflavonoids in the rosehip oil are especially amazing for reducing redness caused by broken capillaries and rosacea.
I have a touch of rosacea. Diet has improved it dramatically (see my blog: 5 Unsuspecting Foods with More Vitamin C than an Orange), and then the vitamin C serum has taken care of the rest.
There you have it friends. 7 superstar, effective ways to take care of your precious skin!