There’s been a lot written about the link between digestion and clear skin in the blogosphere as of late, including the claims that women are increasingly turning to colonics to help sort out beauty woes. We thought we’d weigh in on this trend, especially as a few of our friends have been quietly asking if colonics might be the solution to their pimples and spots.
The science is fairly straightforward: if your organs of elimination (like your liver and colon) aren’t functioning optimally, eventually the problem will rise to the surface and show up on your face. When the body can’t get rid of waste properly, the skin becomes burdened and is forced to push out the toxins. In many cases, this comes in the form of breakouts and cystic acne. Colonics, which are alternative treatments that flush out these accumulated feces and toxins from the colon and intestinal tract, therefore seem like an obvious solution. But don’t book your appointment just yet.
It makes sense that colonics could temporarily help skin issues like acne, eczema and psoriasis. By clearing your body of toxic blockages and chronic constipation, the skin is freed from having to eliminate built-up waste. But getting colonics is expensive and does carry some risk, including infection, electrolyte imbalance and bowel perforation (ouch!). Personally, I believe in using less invasive ways to get your bowel working optimally and skin glowing.
Drinking lemon water first thing in the morning, eating more fiber, and incorporating specific herbs and vitamins into your diet can provide similar benefits without the possible risk or cost of colonics. For example, nutritionist Kimberly Snyder recommends Magnesium-Oxygen supplements, which are non-habit forming and bolster the function of digestive organs. Magnesium exerts a gentle laxative effect on the body and, when combined with oxygen, has been shown to balance PH levels in the body and aid in breaking down and eliminating waste. Studies show that skin conditions like acne particularly benefit from the use of Magnesium-Oxygen. I personally take this vitamin at bedtime twice a week for general health and deep sleep.
However, if your skin and body feel particularly congested, there are short-term-use herbs that can help. Two traditional herbs* I recommend are yellow dock (Rumex crispus) and slippery elm (Ulmus rubra). Yellow dock is used primarily as a bowel alterative and blood cleanser. It encourages the liver to secrete bile, helping it clear metabolic waste and stimulate bowel action. It is best taken as a low-dose tea for short periods (no more than two weeks at a time). If you suffer from skin issues, especially psoriasis and acne that are accompanied by frequent constipation, yellow dock can be immensely helpful.
Another natural option is incorporating slippery elm into your morning smoothie or juice. Slippery elm is a bulk laxative. Once it hits your intestines, the herb expands and encourages your gastrointestinal muscles to stretch and contract. This action moves any accumulated waste out of the body. Note that it is critical you drink a lot of water when talking slippery elm. Start with 1 tablespoon in one cup of water and make sure to increase your liquid intake throughout the day.
Go and incorporate these natural tips to get your digestion moving smoothly and keep skin clear and vibrant sans colonics!
*Do not take during pregnancy, while breast-feeding, or if you suspect there is internal obstruction in your intestines.