The Liver-Skin Axis and Your Skin Climate
October 8, 2019 | Nancy Morse and Sarah Warren |
There’s a connection between your liver and your skin’s health.
The final chapter in our Skin Climate series is all about the liver-skin axis. The liver’s main job is to filter blood coming from the digestive tract to obtain nutrients including carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It removes toxins and waste products from the blood, detoxifies chemicals, and metabolizes drugs that are secreted into bile for elimination. The role that the liver plays in digestion can have a visible impact on skin health.
Liver function is influenced by both nutrients within our diet and environmental toxins that make their way into our bodies through our food, water and the air we breathe. Toxins like chemicals, pesticides, solvents, and plastic-related compounds are present in the air we breathe, the water we drink and bathe in, foods we eat and personal products we use every day. Many skincare ingredients may have estrogen-mimicking chemicals that must be metabolized and eliminated by the liver. Over-exposure to these substances can lead to the liver being congested and overtaxed resulting in build-up of toxins within the system.
Since skin is our most important barrier and is directly exposed to the harsh environment, most of the adverse effects of dietary and environmental toxins become visible within our skin; particularly those associated with skin aging. When excessive toxins build up in the deeper layers of the skin, inflammation can develop and may appear as:
- Premature aging and wrinkling in skin
- Brown liver spots which project an older appearance
- Red itchy rashes anywhere on the body
- Deep painful rashes which may lead to ulcers
Some of these symptoms including skin rashes, skin itching, acne (especially hormonal acne), and inflammatory skin diseases such as eczema may indicate the need for a liver detoxification or cleanse. Other signs may include:
- Fatigue, feeling run down
- Digestive problems including bloating, constipation, diarrhea
- Bad breath
- Chronic muscle or joint pain
How can we improve liver function?
Liver detoxification procedures or cleanses are often used to remove excess toxins from the system and can help clear skin problems. This practice includes consuming foods, drinks and herbal/natural health products that support detoxification. Two of these important herbal/natural health products are milk thistle that contains silymarin and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli that contains a substance called glucoraphanin. Glucoraphanin can be converted within the body to its bioactive form known as sulforaphane. Silymarin helps to modify liver insult that can result partly from dietary intake, while sulforaphane reduces liver stress related to environmental toxins. Both of these substances have been shown to support liver function in humans as per current research; thus leading to healthier, more beautiful skin.
Have you experienced great results from a liver detox for your skin? We’d love to hear about it.