Petra Kratochvílová on how to detox the skin
In our teens, everyone was telling us that it would calm soon that we shouldn´t touch our face or it would get worse. Yes, we are talking about acne. However, acne is more than just a sign of puberty; it is also a warning signal of our body that something is not quite right. We interviewed a blogger and a health counsellor Petra Kratochvílová, the author of the blog Uzdrav svou pleť (Heal Your Skin) and we asked her how to deal with this illness.
Petra, could you tell us something about yourself first?
I´m fascinated by human body and its capacities, and also by a power of nature. I love simple, healthy and natural things. I like discovering new information about nutrition, self-care and human mind. I employed my passion, knowledge and experience in my project that concerns holistic approach towards the acne treatment and that is called Uzdrav svou pleť (Heal your skin).
How did you cope with unhealthy skin on the mental level?
I suffered from unhealthy and imperfect skin for several years, since I was a teenager. It was almost impossible to be easy about it – I was blaming myself for my imperfection, I forced myself to be a different person. Retrospectively, I realize I didn´t accept and like myself.
Do you think unhealthy skin causes certain social distance or depression?
Unhealthy and acne-prone skin has a great impact on your mental state and overall approach towards yourself. When you suffer from acne you often feel ashamed, avoid social contacts and feel stressed. You may also often yield to self-criticism, hatred, and sometimes even long lasting depression. I also went through a depressive period in my life.
What do you think about excoriation disorder? Did you suffer from it? And is there any remedy?
I think that I suffered from excoriation disorder – neurotic skin picking – during one period of my life. It was an unconscious habit I learned when I was a teenager and I tried to get rid of every single imperfection on my skin. Stress, mental overload, inner disquiet and discontentment are frequent triggers of this disorder. I´d recommend paying attention to what you´re doing, observing the impulses that provoke the self-harm and stopping yourself when you feel the urge to scratch or pick your skin. Search for the cause of this behavior and engage your mind in something different.
What is in your opinion the most typical cause of unhealthy skin?
There are many reasons for unhealthy skin and it is often various reasons combined together. The most frequent ones are unhealthy life style (inconvenient diet, lack of physical activity, too much stress and alcohol), hormonal imbalance (mainly during the adolescence or after discontinuing hormonal contraception) and digestive disorders. The state of our mind and our approach play a significant role in how our skin looks like.
Have you ever dealt with different skin issues such as eczema or psoriasis?
Last year, I had severe eczema on various parts of my body for a couple of months. I did everything to get rid of it (healthy diet, detox, physical activity, natural care) but it wasn´t getting better. I didn´t want to go to doctor because he would prescribe me only some ointment and the problem would reappear after a while. Instead, I realized I needed to focus on the mental cause – I watched which impulses made me scratch my skin and when the eczema itched the most. And the answers were coming to me. It was a process of uncovering emotions I´d been hiding for many years, of cleansing my body and leaving things that lied heavy on me behind. The eczema disappeared after some weeks. Since then I´ve believed in the strength of our minds even more.
What do you consider the first step towards healthy skin?
It is incredibly important to realize that any disease including skin problems reveals inner imbalance. Try to solve the cause, not the consequences of such imbalance. Sometimes, it is necessary to reassess your life style and to ask yourself: What does this illness say to me? What does my body signalize by it? What should I change? The more we listen to our body the more it leads us to changes.
While detoxifying the body, severe acne usually appears on the skin. Is it possible to avoid that?
It is not possible to avoid the symptoms of detox fully, because skin is the main excretory organ and the body cleanses through it. However, we can alleviate the symptoms by letting the skin breathe and work right and not putting heavy make-up on it. There are many natural supplements that can speed the detox up as well as other things such as the right fluid intake, physical activity and the belief that acne will disappear step by step.
When I read your blog I thought to myself: Are these recommendations really for everyone? Every person is original. What is your answer to this?
It´s true that everyone is different and a different approach may work for them, but the base of holistic therapy is the same for everyone – eat healthy, think right, care about yourself and embrace who you are. Still, each person may choose a different way. Someone is able to change the diet easily and change the thinking later. Other people start with their mind and get to the dietary supplements and other things that support the process of healing later.
Could you name 5 products that changed your life?
If I think of my life change as of a complex process, the biggest help were books about psychosomatic medicine, health and nutrition. I also use only natural vegan cosmetics (100% pure or Dr. Hauschka). If I should name specific products for healthy body and skin I would recommend good probiotics that boost healthy gut flora, MSM powder to strengthen the immune system and to heal acne and scars, maca powder to have more energy and to balance the hormones levels. Vitamins C and D in form of food supplements are also great for healthy skin.
Can you remember that turn when you started thinking differently and your skin improved?
There was a twist for me after I discontinued contraception and the state of my skin deteriorated considerably. I felt I didn´t want to deal with acne using classical medicinal treatment – ointments, tonics, antibiotics – anymore. I started curing myself holistically. It was an intensive work, I bought many foreign books, went to many seminars and tried many different products. The fact it really worked filled me with enthusiasm. But I still felt many people don´t live up to these principles, therefore I started a project called Uzdrav svou pleť (Heal your skin) and I share with other people what I´ve revealed.
Do you also provide individual sessions?
Yes, I offer help with acne to other people. This help is based on many years´ experience, my own healing and abundance of information about acne. I know it is difficult to choose from many contradictory pieces of information and prejudices. You may easily get lost and not know which way to go and where to start. Years ago, I wished I found a consultant but there was nobody like that. Before the consultation, the client fills in a detailed questionnaire which determines the consultation and so the client can get recommendations and advice that fit well.
Besides your blog, where else is possible to find reliable tips for these problems?
Holistic treatment of acne hasn´t become a very discussed topic in Czech Republic yet, therefore I´m working on a complex manual for healthy and clear skin without acne right now. Its electronic version will be available in April. There will be many practical recommendations and reliable tips on how to cure acne and let your skin glow. Besides my blog and e-book, I´d recommend to draw inspiration from foreign blogs about healthy diet, mental health and spirituality.
What message would you send to our readers?
I´d like to say that they should be more aware of that every illness has its inner cause and covering its consequences is not a solution, it is important to heal yourself from inside. Our bodies have incredible healing capacities – it´s enough to boost them with eating, thinking and acting the way that suits you well.