Skin care is big business.
- Dermatologists book appointments at least a month out.
- Stores line aisle upon aisle with skin care products.
- Infomercials rave about the latest new incredible skin saving formulas.
Yet even with the latest youth serum, dermatology treatments, and skin care prescriptions, our skin still suffers. Skin creams and prescriptions bring little relief to skin difficulties such as rosacea, acne and chronically dry skin. Furthermore, the effects of youth serums and injections may give the illusion of fewer fine lines and wrinkles, yet the results are merely temporary.
This healthy eating plan and lifestyle change clears the detoxification channels inside your body and leaves you with glowing skin. The purpose of this detox is to eliminate waste and flush toxins from your body so you have supple, clear and youthful skin. The key nutrients in certain foods can also protect your skin from the inside out by:
- Balancing your hormones
- Boosting your metabolism
- Maximizing the efficiency of your eliminatory organs
Following this plan yields positive changes not only for your skin, but also for your entire well-being!
Eating for Healthy Skin
What you put inside your body is reflected by your skin. This makes the food you eat an absolute priority for maintaining healthy skin. Eating fast foods, processed meals, and sugar is akin to dumping toxic waste into your body. These things slow your metabolism and overburden your detoxification system. Your skin reveals the evidence of the foods you eat. Dry, dull and irritated skin declares your poor food choices.
On the other hand, healthy nutrient based foods support healthy skin In a variety of ways:
- Vitamins, minerals and antioxidants help fight free radicals that cause aging.
- Healthy fats and proteins support collagen formation and prevent dryness and wrinkles.
- Water, herbal drinks and supplements flush toxins out of our system to keep skin free from acne and irritation.
The 2 Week Healthy Skin Cleanse
Healthy skin may require a lifestyle change in eating habits. However, giving yourself a jumpstart may be what your body needs to transition to healthy skin. I have put together a two-week plan that I believe will bring you results that would otherwise take months to achieve. If you want to fast track healthy skin, give your body energy or just make healthy choices, then follow this safe and do-able program.
There are 3 essential steps to this 2-week healthy skin cleanse:
- Skin nourishing foods and drinks
- Detoxifying supplements
- Daily exercising and skin brushing
You can achieve beautiful skin results if you accomplish all 3 steps. Don’t take shortcuts or you won’t get the results you’re looking for! This plan may seem strict or inconvenient at first. It will also require some planning and preparation. But, I assure you that bright, glowing skin is worth it! Push through and you’ll see your skin transform!
During this two-week jump-start cleanse, the most important aspect will be your diet. I designed this plan to cleanse your body of accumulated toxins. Your skin is your largest eliminatory organ, therefore toxins inside your body have the potential to come out through your pores and create skin issues. This makes eating foods that facilitate detoxification extremely important.
There are several foods that you CANNOT consume during this two-week plan. These foods cause congestion in the body and the skin, as well as disruption to the detoxification process.
Think of your skin like a sprinkler system. The underground pipes represent your lymph system and the sprinkler heads represent your pores. Eating congestive foods is like adding debris in the water line. At first the debris may only slow the flow of the water, but over time it completely blocks the water’s ability to escape! Congestive foods clog the skin’s natural system of elimination. This creates a toxic buildup, which in turn results in premature aging, irritated skin, and skin eruptions such as acne.
Following the two-week cleanse, you may incorporate some of these foods back into your diet. However, take note to eat only limited amounts given their ability to trigger further skin issues.
Foods to Avoid:
- Dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
- Wheat (other grains should be eaten very sparingly)
- Sugar (in all forms, including honey)
- White potatoes
- Bananas (because they have a high sugar content)
During the two weeks, limit fruit to only 2 servings a day. Also eliminate high carbohydrate vegetables entirely due to their excess sugar. Sugar attaches to collagen in our skin through a process called glycation. When sugar attaches, skin inflammation occurs and produces enzymes that break down collagen. Collagen is the connective tissue that holds our joints together and keeps the skin elastic.
When collagen breaks down, our skin becomes dull and brittle; wrinkles are a result. Sugar exacerbates acne, as well. Surges of insulin create imbalances in the body, leading to inflammation and acne. The constant rise and fall of blood sugar also disrupts hormone levels, which influence acne breakouts as well.
This plan eliminates grains, aside from a small serving of quinoa each day. This again is due to carbohydrates’ destruction of the skin. Gluten from wheat and other grains contain sticky proteins, which are difficult to digest, and also lead to skin inflammation and skin breakouts.
Dairy can also cause skin issues in many people. Pasteurized milk congests the body’s system and promotes mucus production. Furthermore, hormones to increase production given to cows end up in the milk itself and have been proven in studies to cause acne.
Raw milk is tolerable for many people, as is goat’s milk. You can add these back into the diet after the initial two weeks.
Soy products may seem like a great vegetarian protein option to some. However, the effects of soy on the body are far from healthy. Soy mimics estrogen and promotes hormonal breakouts. Avoiding soy not only prevents skin issues, but also prevents future health issues…such as infertility and cancer! Not to mention that all soy is genetically modified.
Caffeine can also promote hormone disruption by increasing cortisol, the stress hormone. Stress and acne have always had direct connection because of cortisol’s presence. Cortisol increases inflammation in the body, which results in acne and premature aging of the skin.
Although I am a big believer of plenty of healthy fat in the diet, limit fatty foods during this cleanse to help give your liver a much-needed break. After the cleanse, feel free to increase your daily healthy fat intake with coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil or avocados. These healthy fats are essential for skin moisture and suppleness.
The foods recommended for this 2 week skin cleanse help promote:
- Hydration of the skin
- Detoxification of the skin, as well as the body’s cells and systems
- Increase in skin collagen and elastin
- Reduction of inflammation-based breakout and skin issues
- Unlimited vegetables (excluding carb based, white potatoes and corn)
- Fruits (2 servings a day only)
- Eggs (free-range or organic)
- Chicken (free range or organic)
- Lean beef (grass-fed or organic)
- Lamb, veal, and fish
- Healthy fat (1 tbsp coconut oil per day, olive oil for sautéing)
- Quinoa or brown rice (½ cup per day only)
- Lemons or lime (for daily lemon water)
- Raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- Dandelion tea
- Green tea
- Raw almonds (2 tbsp a day only)
- Unsweetened almond milk
- Full cream coconut milk (2 tbsp a day)
- Bone broth
- Sugar free rice or whey protein powder
Healthy Skin Cleanse Instructions
You will begin each day with a liver cleansing drink. Mix water with the juice of half a lemon and drink this on an empty stomach. The lemon stimulates bile flow and encourages liver detoxification. This is a great way to kick-start digestion and cleanse the system.
Fifteen to thirty minutes after drinking your lemon water, eat a protein based breakfast. This is typically an egg dish or protein shake.
The cleanse includes a morning snack followed by lunch, an afternoon snack, and dinner. Some great snacks during the cleanse include:
- 1 serving of fruit
- 2 tbsp raw almonds
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- Veggie sticks with fresh salsa
Lunch and dinner are always served with a glass of bone broth, which is rich in collagen, amino acids and skin enhancing minerals. You can drink unlimited amounts of bone broth throughout the day or whenever you feel hungry. Store bought gelatin can also be mixed into a smoothie or water for a great source of collagen and protein. I recommend Great Lakes Gelatin Collagen Hydrolysate, available HERE.
A sample day is as follows:
- 6:30 am: 1 cup filtered water with ½ squeezed lemon
- 7:00 am: Omelet with eggs, spinach, onion, and mushrooms or a protein shake (1 scoop protein powder, ⅛ cup frozen berries, 1 tbsp gelatin, stevia and 1 cup unsweetened almond milk)
- 9:00 am: 1 tbsp almond butter with an apple
- 12:00pm: Mediterranean Chicken Stir fry (recipe below) with 1 cup bone broth
- 3:00 pm: ½ grapefruit
- 6:00 pm: Crockpot carne asada in lettuce wraps (recipe below) with 1 cup bone broth
Hydration is key to detoxification, so be sure to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water each day.
- Hydrating skin cells, which prevents wrinkles and dry skin
- Encouraging the lymph system to circulate and flush toxins out of the system
- Supporting kidney detoxification by flushing out toxic waste
Healthy Skin Detoxifying Supplements
Detoxification benefits the skin by preventing bodily toxic wastes from accumulating under the skin’s layers, which clog pores and damage healthy skin cells. Adding detoxifying supplements to your cleanse can help speed the detoxification process, help curb caffeine and sugar cravings and facilitate more dramatic results for your skin.
The herbs I recommend during the 2 week healthy skin cleanse include:
This well-known “weed” has some amazing benefits for the body. Dandelion stimulates bile flow, promoting liver detoxification. The release of bile is laxative, and accelerates the breakdown of various steroid hormones, causing an indirect, favorable effect on eczema and other skin conditions. It also acts as a mild diuretic and encourages flushing toxins and removal of excess hormones from the kidneys, including those that trigger acne breakouts. Dandelion root also helps the body dispose of unwanted skin bacteria.
For those of you who love to have morning coffee, there is an amazing alternative called Dandy Blend. It is a roasted dandelion coffee alternative that tastes like real coffee!
Milk thistle is named for the milky sap that oozes from its leaves. This powerful liver detoxifier contains active components that not only encourage liver detoxification, but also promote liver cell regeneration!
Researchers from the University of Colorado Cancer Center explain that when a cell is damaged by UV radiation, it must be repaired or killed so that it cannot go on to cause cancer. Their research shows that the milk thistle extract does both.
This means that milk thistle not only protects the liver, it helps heal damage done to the liver from its years of hard work.
This herb is well-known for it’s blood detoxifying properties and it’s ability to heal inflammation of the skin, producing radiant, healthy skin. Red clover also helps balance hormones in the body, which reduces breakouts and premature aging. Red Clover retards the process of skin aging due to its estrogen-like effects and helps maintain youthful and vibrant skin. It also ensures appropriate skin thickness and healthy keratinization and vascularity of the skin.
A powerful astringent root, burdock expels toxic products from the blood through the urine. It also contains natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties giving it the ability to calm skin irritations and acne. Burdock is an excellent preventative for common skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma. It is used in Russia and India for cases of cancer as many herbalist claim it has the ability to stop cancer from metastasizing.
Exercise and Skin Brushing for Clear, Healthy Skin
A well-functioning lymphatic system is foundational for clear, healthy skin. The lymph system acts like a trash service by transporting toxic waste out of the body. Lymph fluid lies right below the skin’s surface. It is constantly cleaning cells and dumping toxins into the blood in order to keep the body clean. When overloaded with toxins, the lymph system becomes sluggish and the skin suffers. If the lymph system isn’t moving properly, toxic wastes sit below the skin causing irritation to the skin cells. Acne, skin inflammation, and even cellulite can result from a sluggish lymph system. By stimulating the lymph to move and circulate cellular wastes out of the body, you naturally improve skin health!
One of the best ways to stimulate the lymph system is through exercise. Brisk walking, rebounding and swimming are great exercises to keep the lymph moving. The lymph system needs stimulation in order to move. Sitting all day creates a stagnant lymph system, which leads to a build-up of wastes. Take 20 minutes each day during the 2 week healthy skin cleanse to exercise and promote lymph circulation.
Skin brushing is another great method to stimulate the lymph system. It stimulates circulation and also exfoliates dry skin. Skin brushing also clears clogged pores and leaves skin soft and smooth. Skin brushing is performed on dry skin and requires a special stiff bristle brush designed for this purpose.
I recommend brushing once a day body prior to showering. This will help wash away the dead skin cells and wastes off the surface after brushing.
The key to skin brushing is to always brush toward your heart. This is best for circulation and your lymphatic system. Brush your entire body starting at your feet and working up your legs to your arms, chest, back and stomach. Avoid brushing your face because the bristles are too harsh for delicate facial skin.
Benefits of Clay Baths for Soft, Clean, Youthful Skin
Bentonite clay, in particular, contains the innate ability to absorb toxins not only inside the body, but also topically through the skin. This unique clay carries a strong negative electrical charge that attracts the positive charge of many toxins. When used on the skin or in a bath, it will pull toxins and heavy metals out of the skin’s pores. Using clay baths during your two-week cleanse will increase detoxification, soften your skin and decrease skin inflammation.
During the healthy skin cleanse, take two clay baths a week, using 2 cups of clay in a tub full of hot water. Soak in the tub covering as much of your body as possible for 15-30 minutes.
Clay footbaths are also an alternative to a full body clay bath. Just add 1 cup of bentonite clay to a basin filled with six inches of hot water. Relax and soak your feet for 15-30 minutes.
Bentonite clay is such an amazing “magnet” for toxins, that you can actually feel it pulling them out through your skin! I have taken many clay baths and I am always surprised to feel such a strong pulling sensation. It’s very reassuring to actually feel it working!
Bentonite clay has anti-aging properties, as well. It helps increase oxygenation in cells by pulling out excess hydrogen. This allows the cells to replace the hydrogen with more youth enhancing oxygen instead. Get your detoxing bentonite clay HERE.
A study from Arizona State University found bentonite clay to be highly effective at killing MRSA, as well as salmonella, E. coli and others infectious bacteria! This is a tremendous discovery because strains of bacteria, like MRSA, can be highly resistant to antibiotics.
Eating for Healthy Skin
This two-week skin renewing cleanse can be life changing not only for your skin, but the overall health of your body. It may feel challenging at first to make the necessary dietary changes, but your body will begin to crave the nutrients contained in these skin enhancing foods. Once you have things running smoothly on the inside, revitalized skin will show on the outside.
I encourage you not to stop after the two weeks are over. Once you’ve got a clean slate, so to speak, maintain it. You may add other foods back into your diet, but I urge you not to stray from the nutritional foundations of this plan. This nutrient dense diet is designed for optimal health and well-being. It will increase your energy levels, facilitate healthy weight, and promote daily detoxification.
Below are two recipes for delicious meals you can include in your skin cleansing plan, as well as the recipe for skin supporting bone broth. If you are in need of other recipes, I encourage you to surf the internet and websites like Pinterest to find new and exciting ideas that utilize the foods allowed on this plan.
The popular Whole 30 diet and Paleo diet both include many of the same principles and foods as the healthy skin cleanse. Don’t be afraid to experiment, be sure to keep the list of foods-to-avoid as a reference.
Skin Supporting Bone Broth
- 1-2 lbs. beef bones, chicken carcasses, lamb bones (usually free from the butchers or use the saved bones from roast chicken or beef)
- A splash of apple cider vinegar (optional – this can help to extract the minerals from the meat bones)
- 2 handfuls of any onions, leeks, carrots or celery ends
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- A few dried bay leaves
- 1 tbsp sea salt
- 4 cloves garlic
- Place the bones and other ingredients into a large stainless steel or ceramic cooking pot and cover with cold water. The water level should cover the bones by ½ inch while still leaving room at the top of the pan.
- Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, lid on, skimming off any foam that rises to the top. The longer the bones simmer, the more nutrients are released. Cook chicken bones for 12 hours until the bones begin to crumble and beef bones for 24 hours.
- Strain the liquid, using a fine mesh strainer for poultry. Use immediately or leave to cool before storing (preferably in glass/ceramic rather than plastic).
- You can also use a slow cooker. Just cook on high for 12 hours or more.
- Beef bones produce a lot of nutritious fat – skim some of it and save it for roasting vegetables.
- Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to three days, or freeze the stock in a glass container.
Mediterranean Chicken Stir fry
- 2-3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
- 1 onion, minced
- 2 zucchini, chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers, cut into small pieces
- 14 oz. can artichoke, cut into small pieces
- ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In large oven safe skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Sear the chicken breast on both sides until golden brown.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
- In another skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add zucchini and cook until zucchini is just cooked through. Add peppers, artichokes and olives. Season with salt and pepper.
- Slice the chicken and toss with the veggie mix.
Crock-Pot Carne Asada Lettuce Wraps
- 2 lbs. steak
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 2 tbs minced garlic (about 4 cloves, chopped)
- 2-3 tomatoes, chopped
- 1/3 cup bone broth
- Juice of 2 limes
- 2 tbs chili powder
- 1 tbs cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Lettuce leaves (butter lettuce, romaine, or iceberg)
- Avocado, sliced
- Lime wedges
- Rinse off your steak and pat it dry.
- Liberally cover it with salt, pepper on either side. Set aside.
- Chop up your onions and tomatoes.
- In the bottom of your crock-pot, add your bone broth.
- Place your steak on top of the broth and cover your steak with the onion, tomatoes, and garlic.
- Add the lime juice, pouring it evenly over the whole mixture, then the chili powder, cumin and cayenne.
- Set your crock-pot on a low setting and cook for 6-8 hours.
- Once it is done, shred your beef and serve it on a lettuce cup with your favorite toppings!
Don’t put your hope in the latest skin creams and concoctions any longer. Take the time to cleanse your body from the inside out and watch your skin transform before your eyes.
Clear, vibrant, and younger looking skin is just two weeks away!
If you liked this article, then you’ll love these:
- Weird Remedies That Work
- 10 Ways to Keep Your Liver Healthy
- Make Your Water More Nutritious and Delicious!
Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at http://amandabox.blogspot.com/ for contact info.