The air is warming up, summer is just around the corner and it feels like the right time to be preparing for the end of our winter hibernation. And one of the things I love about the summer is being able to bare my skin. In preparation for sun worship, it is important to make sure our skin is in the best condition to be sure that it will be happy in the sun.
I already use very high quality skincare, but I know that glowing skin is healthy skin, and achieving it begins on a deeper cellular level. This involves the right nourishment (lots of omega 3s for example!) but also a healthy lymphatic system.
What? How does the lymphatic system have anything to do with glowing skin?
Well, we don’t often think about the lymphatic system which is made up of a large network of vessels and tissues that run throughout the body (much like blood vessels). This system includes your spleen, thymus and tonsils and the network of vessels extends to just below your skin. It works in the background to ensure the body is able to properly cleanse, detoxify and maintain fluid levels. The primary function of this system is to transport a watery fluid called ‘lymph’’ containing white blood cells throughout the body. These white blood cells are key to fighting infection and aid the body to expel toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.
As the lymphatic assists with the expulsion of toxins, if it is not functioning properly, your skin may suffer from acne, loss of elasticity, premature ageing and puffiness and swelling. And it’s not just about skin health – inflammation, joint pain, headaches, lymphoedema and many other serious health conditions can result from a poorly functioning lymphatic system.
And unlike your cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a ‘pump’ (a.k.a the heart); it relies on you to get it going, but stimulating it is easier than you think!
Exercise is the number one way to do this, as regular muscle contraction stimulates the movement of our lymphatic fluid. The vessels have one way valves and muscular contraction pushes the fluid gently along the network and back up to your heart where it re-enters your bloodstream. Lymphatic massage is also a good option, as it offers techniques that contribute to healthy lymphatic drainage. It’s also vital to keep really well hydrated to keep our lymph flowing and the system able to do its vital jobs, so drinking plenty of water and herbal teas is a big help.
Dry brushing is an easy way to aid the movement of lymph from your exterior back up through the system. Dry brushing is done on bare skin, and it’s something we can do ourselves to move the lymph back towards the heart and help to gently exfoliate the skin, reducing swelling, fine lines and wrinkles, and even cellulite and acne.
To begin, you need a good dry brush; one that is high quality and has natural bristles. The bristles should feel stiff to touch but not hard. You would be wise to look for a brush with a long handle so that you can reach your back and other hard to reach places.
To perform dry brushing, begin at the feet and work your way up the body, using gentle motions and brushing towards the heart. Incorporating skin brushing into your daily routine can be an effective way to support lymphatic drainage and promote overall health and well-being, and even better, it feels great! I take a few minutes in the mornings before my shower and I love how I feel afterwards.
The face can also be brushed using a smaller softer brush and gentle strokes. You need special extra soft smaller brushes for your face, and you need to be extra gentle to avoid skin damage.
Facial cupping is another way of working with our skin to strengthen it and help with lymphatic drainage. The cups used are small silicone cups and you slide them across your face, using a high quality facial oil, and it feels great.
If you want to try facial coupling or use dry brushes on your face, I would suggest coming in and talking to Helen Tobin, our beautician, who can advise on the correct way to start. It’s a very gentle but very invigorating way of waking your skin up in the morning and can be combined with facial massage to achieve glowing and healthy skin.
In conclusion, taking care of our lymphatic system through techniques such as skin brushing, hydration, and exercise is essential for supporting overall health and well-being. Incorporating these practices into our daily routines can help to promote lymphatic drainage and prevent a range of health problems associated with a compromised lymphatic system. By supporting our lymphatic system, we can improve our quality of life and achieve optimal health and vitality.
If you want to try dry skin brushing, come and see our range of soft brushes – we also stock some facial cups and the oils you need to do facial massage and facial cupping at home.
Helen is available for one to one consultations on natural skincare including facial massage techniques, facial brushing and facial cupping. Call to book an appointment.
Organico Shop Deli & Bakery is open from 9-6pm Monday-Saturday, on Glengarriff Road in Bantry. Call us on 027 51391; if you have any questions, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and find us online on www.organico.ie.