With the seasons having changed (and Winter being here for the long haul!), our skin is going through some significant changes. In Winter months, our skin requires more hydration and there are many products to support this. But what is responsible for skin changes form an internal perspective? I want to expand on this as there are 2 organ systems that are accountable for that healthy glow – the liver, and the digestive tract. Fortunately, we can support healthy skin from the inside out.
The liver is responsible for clearing toxicity from the body. When the liver is struggling, often skin imbalances can occur. Here are ways to support the liver and, in turn, healthy skin:
1. Lemon water in the morning – this stimulates the liver, and begins processing toxins first thing in the morning.
2. Address medications and dosages – if the liver is overloaded with medications and/or supplements, it can become sluggish with its processing abilities. Be sure you are taking all medications/supplements at the correct dose, and that you actually need that medication to function optimally.
3. Detoxify your personal care products – as the liver processes all the toxic ingredients that we put on our bodies, it is important to decrease its toxic load for optimal function. Make sure that what you put on your body is natural and doesn’t contain hormone disrupting chemicals.
4. Herbs to support the liver – herbs that I use personally and in practice are Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Globe Artichoke and Rosemary. You can take these in tincture or supplement form.
The GI tract is responsible for eliminating waste from the liver. It is important that bowel movements are regular and that excretion is happening efficiently, in order to keep you skin looking healthy and clear. A healthy gut microbiome is crucial to not only the operation of digestion but also the health of the skin. Here are some tips for keeping your GI tract operating optimally:
1. A good probiotic - I frequently use probiotics in practice with patients. It is the best way to reestablish a healthy microbiome. For skin health, it is good to use a multi strain probiotic that is at leas 25billion CFU.
2. Eat fermented foods – this helps the healthy bacteria colonize and flourish. Foods good for this are kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, tempeh, miso, kombucha etc.
3. Eliminating gluten – this is not for everyone but shows great effects on the skin. Gluten can act as a gastrointestinal disruptor and make it hard to process and eliminate foods properly. This can show on the skin as eczema, psoriasis, acne, rosacea and redness.
Your skin health is important to think about from the inside out. By supporting the liver and the digestive tract, you will see long lasting benefits -- the skin is an expression of what is going on on the inside!
Dr. Kate Hunter, ND