I have children that are in different stages of puberty, plus lately I’ve been noticing subtle – very Foods-for-Skin-Healthsubtle – signs of aging.  Many of these signs are showing themselves through the skin – acne, fine lines, dryness.  So we have set out to learn more about what we need to do help with this.  I am sharing some of this information with you in hopes that you may benefit as well.

We all want a clear complexion and beautiful skin.   Look at the magazines while waiting in line at the grocery store, and there is usually at least one article with ways to clear up your skin.  And, of course, all the models have flawless skin.  You can keep reminding yourself that it is probably airbrushed, but deep inside that’s what you want to look like.

There are also many products out there with claims to turn back the clock on aging and clear up any unsightly blemish you might have.  Lots of money to be made and spent on these things.  But is there really one magic potion that will take care of you?

I’ve recently read two books that have helped us.  One is The Ciminelli Solution: A 7 Day Plan for Radiant Skin by Susan Ciminelli, and the other book is The Mind-Beauty Connection by Dr. Amy Wechsler.   Most of the information is plain, old, common sense – avoid artificial processed foods and eat more whole foods, such as grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds.  Also, lifestyle changes like exercise and activities to relieve stress like meditation or massage.

But you know that saying, “Beauty is only skin deep”?  That’s not quite true.   I was surprised to learn that the health of the skin reflects lung health.  The individual with healthy lungs maintains well-nourished and energized skin.  The person with strong lungs has soft, lustrous skin and glossy hair.  Skin that is dry, dull, or rough is a sign of lung imbalance.  In Chinese medicine, the organ that is paired with the lungs is the colon; the toxins that are released from the lungs go through the colon.

While the vitality of the skin is related to the lungs, eruptions surface because of faulty blood cleansing by the kidneys and liver.  These two organs purify the blood, and when they are overburdened toxins in the blood are excreted through the skin.   Most skin diseases also result to a large degree from faulty fat metabolism.

So, what do you do – what can you eat?  Relax, there is plenty.  Here are some ideas —

  • Foods rich in omega-3 and GLA fatty acids help remedy this situation.  Sesame seeds, rich in oleic fatty acids, are also of benefit in the diet; unrefined sesame oil is the oil of choice and can be used moderately as a salad or cooking oil.
  • The beta-carotene/provitamin A foods are beneficial in the treatment of skin diseases, particularly if the condition is of an inflammatory nature.  Yellow and green beta-carotene foods to emphasize include carrots, winter squash, pumpkin, leafy greens such as dandelion greens, beet greens, spinach, kale, chard, and watercress.  The deep blue-green micro-algae such as spirulina and wild blue-green are also beneficial.  All greens are rich in chlorophyll, which purifies the blood of the toxins that cause skin eruptions.  Seaweeds, because of their cooling, detoxifying nature, are recommended for regular use.
  • Other foods to be added freely to the diet are mung beans, aduki beans, and unpeeled cucumber slices.  Alfalfa and soy sprouts are also emphasized in cases of acne.  Eliminate foods which are spicy, fatty, or greasy; also avoid all sweets, citrus fruits, and certain fish – oysters, herring, and shrimp.
  • There are many blood-purifying herbs.  Some that are useful are:
  1. Sarsaparilla root
  2. Sassafras root bark
  3. Burdock seed
  4. Yarrow leaves and flowers
  5. Dandelion root
  6. Golden seal root
  7. Chaparral leaves

There are other lifestyle changes that you can include.  Since skin conditions reside on the outside of the body, sweating is useful to encourage elimination of toxins through the pores.   You can pour boiling hot water in a bowl with some of the herbs listed above steeping in it.  Put your head over the bowl with a towel over your head and the bowl, and work up a good sweat.

Other tips include:

  • Elimination of solid toxins through the colon with an abdominal massage with castor oil.
  • Tongue scraping, brushing your teeth, and a mouthwash rinse with hydrogen peroxide.
  • Dry skin brushing
  • Cleansing and moisturizing your face for your specific skin type.
  • Aerobic activity, like speed walking
  • Yoga and deep breathing


The one thing that we really need to remember, though, is how we feel.  In health, the energy is characterized by its ability to consolidate, gather together, maintain strength, and unify against disease at every level, including cellular immunity.  How well we “hold on” and “let go” can be expressed in terms of emotional attachment.  We need to release what is no longer needed.  In Chinese healing traditions, this release is on emotional and psychic levels as well as physical.

Try incorporating some of these changes to your routine and let me know what differences you notice.