When I was about fifteen years old, I developed severe dry itchy skin.
I was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis. For more than seven years, I followed the guidelines my doctor and dermatologist gave me: use steroid creams to cover up the inflamed skin and take antihistamine pills to suppress the itch.
Over time, my skin had become so thin and dry that it cracked open every time I stretched my neck or arms, I couldn’t take it anymore. I started doing research and started experimenting with natural remedies.
Today, I have ten years of experience in skin care, from conventional to more natural and holistic ways, and I now want to help other people who are struggling with eczema to find relief through a natural approach.
So here’s my Top Ten Tips-
to help you get relief from dry, itchy skin today
1. Remove toxins
The first step on my journey was to start detoxing my body on a daily basis. I removed toxins from my home and I gave up my job as a waitress as the detergents were hurting my skin. I started to drink half a liter of water mixed with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar first thing in the morning to help my body remove toxic build-up in my digestive tract. I quit processed foods, sugar, gluten, and dairy.
2. Eat Clean
Avoid processed foods like refined flour, sugar, salt and artificial additives at all costs. Only use coconut oil or ghee for baking, use cold-pressed organic oils on salads and cold meals. Prepare your own meals. Eat more greens like spinach, arugula, and swiss chard. Add more hydrating foods to your meals, like celery, cucumber, and seaweed. Eat plenty of fresh herbs like parsley, coriander, basil and spices like turmeric, cayenne, cinnamon. Cleaning up your diet may require some effort and willpower, but I can guarantee it has the potential to upgrade your life in ways you never thought possible.
Hydration is essential for a healthy body, especially healthy skin. If you are dehydrated, your skin becomes scaly, red and dry. Not to speak of the other physical and mental troubles that appear when you are dehydrated. So here’s what I do to keep myself hydrated throughout the day:
Drink 1/2 liter of water before every meal (not after). This aids digestion as well.
Make juicing a daily habit. A simple juice of one cucumber + three celery stalks will hydrate, alkalize and energize your cells.
Try to make sure you drink fresh spring water! True cell hydration doesn’t come from a tap. On the contrary, tap water is filled with toxins that are harmful to your body. You can FindASpring and source your water straight from nature.
Over time, I learned the importance of alkalizing your body. Most of the time, when inflammation occurs in your body (the skin in my case) it’s a sign that you’re too acidic. There can be many factors involved in creating an acidic body. Triggering factors can be stress, fatigue, dehydration, allergy or toxic overload. If you’re wondering what the acidity level of your body is, you can simply test your urine with inexpensive pH test strips which you can buy from a drug store or pharmacy. A simple way to help your body alkalize is to add more green foods to your diet! Barley grass juice powder is quick and effective if you’re pushed for time.
It is so important to get proper rest. Too often we get occupied with our busy schedules, with people demanding our attention and a ‘to-do-list’ that’s never finished. However, it’s important to rest regularly so you can keep up with daily demands. I’m a big fan of resting, especially because I’m still recovering from years and years of chronic illnesses. Here’s what works best for me:
Make sure you get those eight hours of sleep. It’s so essential! If you struggle to go to bed before 10pm, it helps to make an evening ritual for yourself. I make sure to have dinner before 6pm – and start winding down by 8pm – so my body can properly rest at night instead of being busy with digesting food.
Once a week, I occupy the bathroom and make it a ‘Me Zone’. I fill the bath with 5 tablespoons of dead sea salt, 1 tablespoon of sodium bicarbonate, for extra pampering, you can add rose petals, calendula or wild chamomile. The bicarb draws out toxins, the salt hydrates, and nourishes, while the flowers soothe and add extra joy.
If you’re not into saunas yet, go and try it ASAP! I used to avoid any space that was hot and narrow, however, I took the leap and did my first sauna about a year ago. And yes, it made THE difference. My two favorite skin-friendly saunas are infrared and Himalayan salt stone saunas. They are mildly hot and especially effective for skin detoxing.
For years, moisturizing my itchy skin was the only thing I was concerned about. Today, I know that cleaning and healing from the inside out is key. However, topical skin care is still important. My number one rule is to avoid all skin care products that contain anything I wouldn’t put into my mouth. Definitely, avoid ingredients such as parabens and phthalates. Try natural oils and extracts. My favorites are pure organic aloe vera gel (a great moisturizer), avocado oil, sweet almond oil and argan oil. Check out EWG’s guide for a comprehensive overview of brands and ingredients to avoid.
I’ve become a huge fan of dry skin brushing, it’s become part of my daily morning routine. Before I shower or moisturize in the morning, I first brush my skin to remove dead cells and stimulate the lymphatic system. It makes my skin smoother and stronger and it helps with absorbing the aloe vera and natural oils that I apply afterward.
Even if your diet is ideal, a challenged body may not absorb enough nutrients from food. In that case, supplementing with vitamins and minerals can be very effective. Minerals that are supportive for your skin include magnesium, zinc, potassium, iodine and silica. Make sure you get ‘angstrom sized ionic liquid mineral‘ supplements; as these are best absorbed by your body. Mineralife is a great brand. MSM (organic sulphur) helps me with my itchy skin and reducing inflammation. Vitamin C helps with overcoming exhaustion and recovery from stress — both of which may have a negative impact on your skin’s health.
Suffering from any chronic disease can make you feel vulnerable, lonely and misunderstood. Sleepless nights, itchy skin and chronic pain can drive you insane. It often feels like it’s a lonely struggle, but know that you are not alone. There are thousands of people out there who are struggling with the same things. Find them, and connect with them. It was when I joined Elwin Robinson’s Complete Detox Academy that I found a group who totally supported me in taking consistent action to heal. When I’m having a hard time, I know there’s that group of people who are always willing to help me to push through.
While I usually follow all of the guidelines above, I often forget to connect with nature on a daily basis. When I do spend my days outside, I notice a big difference! I sleep better, I feel better and I have a healthier appetite. If you’re like me and you feel resistance to going outside because of anxiety or a chronic illness, challenge yourself to take a 30-minute walk in nature and feel how your heart, your lungs, and your mind will open up.