The skin & liver connection – How your liver health can affect your skin!
We all know a radiant complexion is more than skin deep!
In the naturopath world, keeping your liver healthy is just as important as cleansing your face every day when it comes to a clear and glowing complexion.
The liver’s main job is to filter incoming blood from the digestive tract and to obtain nutrients. It works to remove toxins and waste products from the blood, to detoxify chemicals, and metabolises drugs that are secreted into bile for elimination.
How your liver health affects your skin
A congested and sluggish liver means that:
- Toxins are not being efficiently excreted from the body, leading to an excessive build-up of toxins, inflammation and eventually skin eruptions, spots, breakouts or accelerated ageing.
- Sex hormones are not being adequately deactivated and cleared from the body, often leading to excessive circulating testosterone which means a higher rate of sebum production, a trigger for oily and acne-prone skin and breakouts.
- Fat is not being adequately broken down, leading to undigested fat entering the digestive system, causing a build-up of waste widespread inflammation in the body and the skin.
- Blood sugar levels are not being kept in check, increasing insulin levels, androgen hormones which is often linked to hormonal acne.
The adverse effects of dietary and lifestyle factors can end up showing up on our skin and face. When excessive toxins build up in the deeper layers of the skin, inflammation can appear as
- Acne and hormonal breakouts
- Accelerated ageing and loss of skin firmness
- Brown liver spots
- Eczema and dermatitis
- Red itchy rashes that can show anywhere on the body
Non-skin related signs may include tiredness, hormonal imbalances, digestive disturbances such as constipation and IBS, headaches and aches and pains.
So, what can we do to help our liver? Read on for my top naturopath tips for supporting your liver health for clear and glowing skin.
How to support your liver for healthy, radiant skin
The liver has a natural inbuilt ability to detoxify so there is no need to go on crash “detox” diets to cleanse and reboot your liver.
These fad diets can often be dangerous and are not backed by science, often lacking any protein, fibre or nutrients to ensure toxins being released are removed entirely from the body.
Rather, a simple approach of focusing on removing exposure to toxins and enhancing the liver’s natural detoxification processes is key.
As a naturopath I have seen the incredible power of herbal medicine to transform my clients’ health and vitality along with their skin. A few of my favourite herbs for helping the skin via the liver include:
- Burdock root – this herb is known as a “blood cleanser” or purifier in the traditional naturopathic world. It has a wonderful ability to support the liver’s natural detoxification processes and waste excretion via the skin.
- Turmeric root - this bright yellow herb has been used for centuries and is powerful when it comes to supporting detoxification and support liver bile flow.
- Echinacea – whilst traditionally known for its immune benefits, echinacea is also a blood purifier, can assist the body’s natural detoxification processes and excretion of metabolic waste products whilst working well to support skin health.
These herbs along with skin and liver loving nutrients such as Astaxanthin, Vitamin C and Zinc can be found in our Inner Essentials – Skin + Liver Cleanse tablets, the ultimate ticket to healthy skin via the liver.
Liver loving foods
The first and most important method of detoxification is ensuring you are providing your body with nutritious and liver loving foods.
Stacking your plate with cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cauliflower, bok choy and cabbage will give you copious servings of sulforaphane, vitamins minerals, fibre and phytonutrients (plant-based compounds with anti-inflammatory properties) which improve the liver’s ability to clear toxins.
Bitter greens such as rocket, spinach and raddichio aid in digestion and the removal of waste from the organs and blood. Bitter foods also activate the liver to support its natural detoxifying functions.
Pack in fibre
Ensure you are getting enough fibre in your diet. There are 3 types of fibre, including soluble (found in fruits veggies, oats), insoluble (found in cereal, nuts and seeds) and resistance starch which all have different functions and are important for digestive health and regular bowel movements. They ensure the gut and liver are working hand in hand to remove toxins and sweep them from the body ensuring no re-circulation.
Avoid sugar and processed foods
High sugar intake has been associated with diseases such as heart disease and fatty liver diseaseii. Such diseases hinder your organs ability to naturally detoxify itself and can harm organs that play key roles in waste and toxin removal such as the kidney and liveriii. Opt for whole foods rather than packaged and processed foods which may contain artificial colours and additives and high levels of trans and saturated fats, gluten, and sugar.
Increase your antioxidant intake
Antioxidants protect your cells against oxidative stress and damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals have been implicated in many health conditions such as dementia, heart disease, liver disease and asthmavii. Increasing your antioxidant intake will boost your body’s ability to combat free radical damage. Foods such as berries, nuts, vegetables, spices and green tea contain potent amounts of antioxidants, including Vitamins A, C and E.
The Edible Beauty Native Collagen Powder contains antioxidant rich fruit powders including Hibiscus, Baobab, Kakadu Plum, Macqui Berry and Sea buckthorn berry. This synergy of these potent botanicals provides an abundance of antioxidants including flavonoids and polyphenols in addition to anthocyanins that act as free radical scavengers to prevent the breakdown of collagen from intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Brush your skin!
Your skin is a major organ of elimination and dead cells accumulate preventing the skin from removing toxins effectively. Before your shower, spend 5 to 10 minutes with a firm-bristled brush or loofah and scrub the skin of the arms, legs and back briskly. Your skin may feel slightly red and tingly when you are finished.
Detoxify your environment:
Your home and work can be major sources of toxins as can your beauty products. Try to eliminate or minimise your use of cleaning products (vinegar, bicarb soda, and other natural products are suitable alternatives), conventional skincare, antiperspirants with aluminium, pesticides, herbicides, petrochemicals, paints, solvents