Beauty: Bowel Beauty: Curing Constipation for Flawless Skin, by Kristen Ma
Bowel health is imperative for beautiful skin. This was emphasized when I saw a long-time client recently who formerly had majorly congested skin and now had a clear, glowing complexion. She had only been eliminating twice a week, and we had her taking some gentle laxative so she started to go a minimum of once per day. Clarifying the gastrointestinal tract really helps clarify the skin. I know, it may sound unorthodox, but as a holistic esthetician, the frequency of bowel movements is usually one of my first inquiries for anyone I see with acne-prone or dehydrated skin. According to Ayurveda, we should be having them once to twice a day.
It is important that we eliminate waste from our bodies so we don’t start pouring out toxins through our skin (which happens to be our largest organ of detoxification), causing clogged pores and blemishes. But it’s also essential for hydrated skin. When we are constipated, the dry stool sits in the intestines and absorbs the body’s precious water. Conversely, dehydration also leads to constipation as a dry system will make our wastes dry and difficult to move as well… oh, how interconnected we are!
Here are my favorite bowel moving remedies. Remember, there are no universal cures and we should always tailor what we eat and take to our specific constitution – but here are a few I find have worked for many of my clients. See a natural health practitioner for more information on what’s best for you!
Aloe Vera Juice – Aloe Vera juice is a wonderful calming ingredient and also a gentle laxative. You can drink a quarter cup of this diluted in water everyday in short spurts for soothing detoxification. This is excellent for Pittas and those of us prone to inflammation, and I particularly like it because it is not dehydrating (like some fibre-based laxatives are). It’s also good for other cleansing such as that of the liver and blood.
Castor Oil – This is an intense laxative, and it’s really hard to get down (gag!). But it is very effective and good for those of us who need immediate, powerful relief. This is only to be done a maximum of once per month in servings of 1-2 tablespoons. Castor oil cleanses are also effective for reducing excess Vata in our bodies and help lubricate our intestines.
Soaked Prunes – Tried and true, we all have heard about prunes as a bowel cleanser and there’s something about longstanding remedies. What I like about prunes is that it’s a simple fruit that is pretty easy for most of us to find and also safe to take. I soak them in water so they are less dry, making them even better for dehydrated individuals.
Psyllium – Psyllium seed husks are a laxative that really helps to move and scrape waste off the intestinal walls. This laxative is best for someone who is kapha and has slow moving bowels, but is still very hydrated. We can take this by simply mixing a spoonful in water, or by sprinkling it on oatmeal or other foods. Either way, this is an effective cleansing agent that helps through its high fibre content.
Kristen Ma is the co-owner of Pure + Simple Inc., a group of Holistic Spas with its own line of Natural Skincare and Mineral Make-up. She is an Ayurvedic Practitioner who has studied in Canada, the United States and India. She is also a Certified Esthetician with eight years of practical experience, having worked in Canada as well as Australia. Most recently, Kristen has authored “Beauty: Pure + Simple” which was published by Mc Arthur and Company. Kristen has written on the subject of Holistic Beauty for Vitality Magazine, Blink and Jasmine. She is also a regular contributor to B Magazine, Tonic and Sweat Equity Magazine. She blogs regularly at Holistic Vanity.