Diet, herbs, sweating, and movement all have a profound influence on skin health and regeneration. In fact, utilizing cleansing herbs in a skin detox tea can help tremendously to bring circulation, astringency, elimination, and electrolytes to the body and lower the detoxification burden on the skin.
The skin is the largest organ in the body that is quite permeable, even though it is the most solid boundary we have with the external world. This complex interplay of porousness and delineation is quite telling of our coexistence in the microcosm of our bodies and the macrocosm of our outer reality. The skin truly acts as a reflection of how we interact with our inner and outer forces.
The skin is also a detoxification organ that is often called the third lung and kidney! It absorbs and releases nutrients, chemicals, and compounds to and from the body – a lot like the lungs – while helping the kidneys detoxify water-soluble waste through sweat (respiration) and the pores.
So what happens when the skin is affected by poor function and disease? From a holistic perspective, the answer is mostly internal, and usually not externally (meaning it doesn’t only derive from a genetically weak skin membrane). The body is not the sum of its parts but a biological ecosystem that works with all its parts to assimilate essential chemistry, keep us alive, and eliminate what we no longer need.
If the skin is the side-effect of internal imbalance, what should you know, and how can you go about fixing this imbalance?
Causes of Bad Skin: Genetics vs The Environment
Many factors could cause skin issues to occur. Most of the time, problem skin is the result of a few weaknesses in the body that are rooted in genetics, diet, lifestyle, or the environment.
My understanding of why problems occur for individuals at different stages of life is partly hereditary and partly lifestyle and dietary. Although most would claim that we can’t control our genetics, that is simply not true.
Our environment constantly interacts with our cells to rewrite the genetic code, meaning the experiences we have in our lifetime are stored in our DNA and passed to the next generations that are then wired to have similar responses and preferences due to this “memory”, which they can rewire through their own experiences of life.
The field of study that looks at ways our emotions, environment, and experiences change our DNA is called epigenetics and has been at the forefront of the mind-over-matter science that acknowledges that we are constantly co-creating our bodies through our choices, emotions, and thoughts, which have a profound effect on our physical reality.
In his research on how the environment has a profound impact on gene expression, Dr. Bruce Lipton writes:
But why should one cell be skin and another cell be bone or eye? The answer is not because of the gene programs but because of the feedback of information from the environment. All of a sudden the bigger thing hit me: what makes us different from each other is the presence of a set of unique identifying protein keys (receptors) comprising the keyboard on the surface of our cells.
The identity keys on the cell membrane respond to environmental information. The biggest “Aha!” was this: that our identity is actually an environmental signal that is playing through the keyboard on the surface of our cells and engaging our genetic programs; you are not inside your cell, you are playing through your cell using the keyboard as an interface. You are an identity derived from the environment.
Overall, genetics don’t determine our fate, but rather prompt us to interact with our environment in a certain way, which causes cellular changes and physical manifestations. However, we are fully in control of how we experience our environment and how we communicate those experiences to our “gene programs”. Yes, we can rewrite the code!
Did you know that if you detoxify the body and heal certain constitutional weaknesses before having children, you can pass on this stronger and healthier constitution to them? Once we wrap our minds around the idea that we are a biological “work in progress,” we can take more initiative and empower ourselves to take control of our destiny.
Common Causes of Skin Problems and Diseases
In my own experience with chronic eczema, I believe that multiple factors can instigate the genetic propensity for weaker-functioning skin. However, there is always a catalyst that acts like a match that creates a ripe opportunity for skin disease to develop.
For me, it was the stress and emotional upheaval when I was in an uncertain place in life professionally. Having all the ingredients of compromised elimination through skin and kidneys, the stress levels increased the overall acidity (pH balance) of my body’s terrain, overwhelming the kidneys and skin with elimination.
Your story may be similar, but in your case, it may be hormonal imbalance and a stagnant lymphatic system that is catalyzed by a period of high anxiety that is causing cystic acne, rashes, or psoriasis.
But don’t feel discouraged! You have all the power to change your body and heal every disease just by understanding that your body requires more alkaline chemistry and energy to self-heal. No matter the mix of conditions, your skin disease can be regulated and healed with natural body detoxification and cellular regeneration.
Here are some of the main factors that cause skin problems and diseases:
Stagnant Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system is a clear fluid system that is the body’s sewer system and runs alongside the blood system to capture and circulate the body’s waste back to the kidneys. Unlike the blood that has the heart as a pump, the lymphatic system doesn’t have such a mechanism – it relies on our movement, deep breathing, and alkaline chemistry consumption to circulate properly and ensure that acids don’t damage our cells, tissues, and glands.
Overall, if the kidneys are unable to properly filter waste because they’re overwhelmed by the state of acidosis in the body, the skin will take over the burden through pores and sweat. Depending on the strength of the skin membrane, lymph elimination can show up as psoriasis, eczema, acne, and other skin problems.
Hormones are secreted by the endocrine glands, and if the glands, especially the king regulator gland – the pituitary – are weak, hormone production and regulation may be off-balance, burdening the liver, the reproductive system, metabolism, and the skin. The imbalance of male androgen hormones may lead to excess skin sebum production (the natural oils skin produces) and inflammation.
Likewise, the skewed presence of androgens and estrogens caused by endocrine gland dysfunction can cause estrogen dominance, meaning there is more estrogen circulating in the body.
Estrogen is quite acidic (if you are a female, you know what happens when estrogen increases during menstruation in terms of mood, skin, aches, and energy levels) and adds more acidic chemistry for the body to eliminate – putting the burden on all the detoxification organs, including the skin.
Compromised Liver Function
The liver is an alchemical factory that converts non-water-soluble toxins into acidic chemistry that the body can work with and eliminate without much damage. It has over 2,000 functions, one of which is to regulate excess estrogen in the body and protect the body from heavy metals and other toxins that may be stored in fat and skin tissues due to sub-optimal liver function.
Many skin issues are usually a reflection of the overall function of the liver, the kidneys (and the other elimination organs such as the skin, and the gut), and the nervous system.
Weakened Kidneys That Are Not Properly Filtering
Many variables can lower kidney function – be it the chemistry we consume or the chemistry we create through emotions. You’ve probably heard that high meat diets cause kidney problems, and this is because kidneys break down proteins and eliminate their acidic chemistry. What we’re told is the golden principle of health – that protein should be consumed in high quantities for health – is simply false.
Our bodies need simple amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and not complex proteins to thrive. Complex protein – be it from animal or plant sources – can be found in nuts, seeds, and animal products and should be consumed in very small amounts, if at all.
Unlike these sources, fruits and veggies contain all the essential amino acids that the body needs for its growth and repair function. Likewise, they are very easy to digest and assimilate, whereas complex proteins take vast digestive energy that robs the body of its vitality and are highly inflammatory.
When it comes to emotions, in Traditional Chinese Medicine, kidneys govern the emotions of anxiety, fear, and insecurity. Every time we activate these emotions, we deplete our kidney vitality. Take these emotions and combine them with an acidic diet, and you can see why most of the world is suffering from some type of kidney issue.
If kidneys are not properly filtering acids and toxins, to save the body from over-acidification, the skin will take over much of the process.
Dysregulated Nervous System
Did you know that the skin is formed from the same stem cells as the nervous system? The skin acts as an antenna for receiving important information about the outside world, feeding us sensory information essential for our survival. As an extension of our nervous system, the skin membrane is very sensitive to internal and environmental stressors. Any unresolved emotional problems, alcohol, or lack of sleep can further damage the nervous system function.
Overall, a sensitive nervous system is likely to be more prone to skin rashes, acne, psoriasis, eczema, and a myriad of other chronic skin problems. By working to regulate the stress response with behavioral therapy and healing nervous system weakness with a high fruit and herb diet, chronic skin disease should vastly improve or fully heal.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism signal that the thyroid gland, which is seated on both sides of the neck, is either producing too little or too much of the thyroid hormone. This excess or deficiency can cause common skin, nail, and hair symptoms of brittleness, dryness, and crackedness. In terms of skin, low thyroid function is also known to be a factor in the onset of eczema and delayed wound healing.
Weak Skin Membrane
If the skin is genetically on the weaker side, it will be hard for it to renew dead skin cells, sweat properly, and regenerate. A sedentary lifestyle, which decreases lymph and blood circulation to the skin, as well as chemical products placed on the skin, can further cause damage to the membrane. In order to improve skin function, the best course of action is to eliminate all conventional skin-care and cleaning products and replace them with all-natural alternatives.
Other wonderful ways to regenerate skin are to get at least 20-30 minutes of direct sunlight on the skin daily (without sunscreen and whenever seasonally possible), go to a sauna regularly, and engage in light exercise. However, probably the most effective way to detoxify the skin is to consume an organic, alkaline diet that is rich in ripe fruits.
Any food that is processed, packaged, or made in a warehouse is probably acidic. If nature didn’t make it, it is probably not good for you! However, most of us have been eating acidic foods since our youth, which over time, takes a toll on the body that has been compensating for years to keep the most vital tissues and organs functioning properly.
When it cannot do so anymore, disease develops. Even bodily decay that comes with age is exacerbated with an acidic diet, which dehydrates and shrivels us from the inside out and leaches calcium out of bones and connective tissues to preserve cellular function. The type of disease we experience is usually manifested in the weakest areas of the body, where acids congregate and further degenerate cells.
Taxing Emotional Life
Thoughts and emotions do the exact same thing that food does – either bring positive energy resonance to our bodies or create acids through our body’s chemical response to lower-frequency emotions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, every major energy vortex in the body is represented by a major organ that is nourished or weakened by chemistry or energy that comes from food, the environment, our emotions, and thoughts.
For example, stress is a major body acidifier, as it depletes the adrenal glands and kidneys, causing dysregulation in the whole system. Remember, if one function is down, all functions take a hit.
Emotions such as sadness, anger, fear, low self-esteem, and resentment deplete corresponding organs, diminishing their ability to regulate and detoxify.
When it comes to the skin, think of what type of emotions you experience around boundaries, how you see yourself in the context of your environment, and ways you internalize and repress emotions. Could how you show up in the world misalign with how you’d like to show up? Most importantly, how do you feel in your skin?
How to Detoxify the Skin Naturally
Given that so many factors can cause skin disease, where can you start to get better? Thankfully, the antidote is a holistic lifestyle shift toward an alkaline diet, less stress, more fun/relaxation, and a natural approach to life. There are no special treatments, drugs, or supplements to take – only a dedication to well-being and nature.
As one of the main detoxification organs in the body, the skin helps the kidneys detoxify water-soluble acids and toxins. Through detoxification, our body gets rid of anything it no longer needs or that stands in its way of operating optimally.
Given that most of our modern habits are toxic – from EMF exposure and processed food to environmental pollutants and a culture of convenience – detoxification should take priority as a lifestyle habit and not only an occasional health routine!
A proper skin detox cleans all types of toxins and obstructions from the body, including stimulants, pesticides, heavy metals, and irritants. It does so through mucous discharge, urine and feces, sweating, breathing, and any other discharge.
Removing the unwanted body sewage allows for proper assimilation and elimination of everything we ingest and the ability of our body to harmonize how we show up in the world physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
When we feed the body the proper chemistry it needs through alkaline foods and high-frequency emotions, our net energy reserves will increase significantly and the body will have more energy to devote to detoxing poisons and healing the tissues and glands that are either genetically weak or chronically weakened due to our lifestyle choices.
The best foods you could consume during detoxification are fruits and herbs! Chemically speaking, fruits and herbs have the highest amount of antioxidants, astringency, and detoxification attributes of all foods. Not only that, but they have the highest electrical properties of any food available. The energies in raw fruits are so high that they can regenerate the nervous system and our endocrine function (no other food group can do that!).
A few other practices that help with the circulation, regeneration, and healing of the skin from the inside out include:
- Regular steam saunas
- Dry skin brushing
- Hydrating internally with cold-pressed juices, coconut water, and purified water
- Using herbs internally (and externally)
- Meditation and deep breathing to stabilize and relax the nervous system
- Avoidance of processed sugar, dairy, alcohol, and gluten
The Power of Herbal Medicine for Skin Detox
Herbal infusions have a long history of elevating the cellular frequency of our bodies, helping us heal by absorbing the chemistry and consciousness of plants. A potent skin detox tea is composed of herbs that promote elimination, and daily usage of these herbs will support the elimination organs to work more efficiently.
The most knowledgeable village healers of today understand the cycles of the cosmos and use them – especially lunar cycles – to know when to harvest herbs and make medicine so that it has the most potency.
They often pick herbs and make medicine within an hour of harvest time, since they understand how energy and chemistry lose potency when life is no longer present (the same goes with vegetables and fruits, which should be optimally picked when ripe and consumed soon after for maximum nutrition and vitality).
There is so much wisdom in the ancient healing traditions and shamanism, that simply observing these elders at work can teach us the fundamental truth of reality that we’ve lost as we’ve moved away from rural communities to urban centers.
Each herb has its own folklore and mythological history formulated by ancient cultures for its unique abilities to elevate certain energetic states through mutual correspondence with physical organs and the emotions/state of awareness that they govern.
5 Most Potent Skin Detox Teas
These are my favorite skin detox teas! In herbalism, these herbs are known to possess astringent, eliminatory chemistry that cools down the body, hydrates the cells, and strengthens the elimination organs for quicker and more efficient body sewage removal. Always prioritize buying your herbs and teas organic and ensure they come from reliable sources.
These skin detox teas are potent. The herbs can be used both internally as tea or herbal tinctures or externally as poultices, salves, and pastes that treat physical symptoms for quicker healing. My recommendation is to combine them for the synergistic effect every morning for the best results. Make sure to steep the herbs for as long as possible (10-15 minutes or longer) and make enough to drink not only in the morning but also throughout the day!
One of my favorite sources of organic herbs is Starwest Botanicals. Starwest is one of the oldest and largest organic herbal stores in the US with some of the best environmental practices when it comes to sourcing herbs. They have an in-house testing lab, ensuring all herbs meet potency and quality standards. You can get my favorite skin detox herbs directly from Starwes Botanicals below!
Starwest Botanicals is my affiliate partner, and any purchases made through the link above will not come at any additional costs to you, but the proceeds of it will help support the growth of my small business. Thank you!
Burdock root is nutrient-rich and vitamin-packed and improves circulation and elimination mechanisms in the body. It is known to be one of the key herbs that help reverse cancer!
As a skin regenerator that improves the metabolism of external skin layers, it is anti-aging and treats the appearance of wrinkles and dry, sagging skin. It is also known to treat skin diseases such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis by boosting the lymph system and kidney function.
Calendula is a panacea herb for the whole body as it is an anti-inflammatory tonic. It is known to cool down visible inflammation and soothe irritated skin, while promoting faster wound healing.
Due to its ability to promote collagen production, calendula retains hydration and nutrients in the skin membrane, making it a wonderful skin-regenerating medicine. It is a potent healer for many chronic skin conditions and can be used for overall body nourishment and wellness.
Stinging nettle is another whole-body panacea herb that helps mineralize the body with essential nutrients and electrolytes. It alkalizes the body and strengthens all cells, tissues, organs, and glands. When it comes to skin, nettle provides the elimination organs with greater support, helping to relieve the detox burden from the skin.
The herb also purifies the blood and the lymphatic system, strengthening skin function and minimizing skin disease symptoms. Nettle can be consumed internally but can also be applied to skin conditions as a paste made from natural oils like olive oil, coconut oil, or sesame oil.
Dandelion leaf, flower, and root are potent liver detoxifiers, and as already mentioned, the liver helps with hormonal, chemical, and toxin regulation. A well-functioning liver lifts the elimination burden from the skin and kidneys.
As a diuretic rich in antioxidants and vitamins, dandelion is also used to treat kidney disorders. Likewise, its white stem sap has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties that effectively treat acne, scars, warts, and wounds.
Highly anti-inflammatory and rich in skin-nourishing compounds, moringa is known to heal the skin and boost the production of collagen. It is rich in calcium, making it an excellent body alkalizer.
Likewise, moringa contains the highest level of antioxidants of any food known and protects cells from oxidative damage. In terms of skincare, moringa firms the skin, helps rejuvenate aging skin, heals scars, and reverses skin disease.
A proper skin detox cannot be dissociated from the strengthening of the elimination organs and the function of the lymphatic system – the body’s sewage system. The state of our liver, kidneys, endocrine glands (including the thyroid), and nervous system are all reflected in the condition of the skin. Depending on any other additional health issues you may experience, you will probably know which weaknesses are the culprits.
However, the solution is simple: introduce more organic, raw, and alkaline foods into your diet, including herbs and skin detox tea in your daily regimen, and promote lymphatic and skin function through light exercise, sweat, and circulation.
Simply treating the body holistically as a system and providing it the chemistry and energy it needs to self-heal is the basis of any healing protocol. Don’t get lost in keeping the focus only on the skin or taking supplements for one organ. Instead, all these new habits will elevate the body’s healing capacity as a whole and its intelligence will do the rest. Our job is to simply provide the high-frequency fuel and let the body do the rest!
And if you’d like more information on how to use herbs as medicine, I hope you find the article I’ve written helpful!