Cleanse your way to beautiful skin

Skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis can be the result of a sluggish liver. Caroline Harmer explains how to get yours functioning optimally

We often hear the saying that ‘beauty begins from the inside out’ – this is so true when it comes to having beautiful, clear skin. A glowing complexion depends on a healthy liver and digestive system to process toxins and eliminate them from the body.

The liver is our largest internal organ, which performs over 500 functions in the body. It holds about 13 per cent of the body’s blood supply at any moment and filters over 1 litre of blood each minute. With so many functions to juggle in a day, it is easy to see how a sluggish, under-performing liver can lead to health symptoms, including skin issues.

If a liver is overworked, and not functioning at optimal capacity, then the detoxification of toxins from the blood may become inadequate, causing the body to release toxins through the skin. Our skin is our body’s largest detoxification organ with a surface area of around 2 metres, so poor skin health may indicate a sluggish liver and poor elimination of toxins from the body.

Common skin conditions that may be associated with a poorly-functioning liver include:

  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Rosacea
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Rashes
  • Sore skin
  • Dark circles
  • Premature wrinkles

Many holistic experts believe that chronic low grade inflammation in the body is the underlying cause of many chronic health conditions including skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. The inflammation will commonly manifest in the gut first, and you may experience digestive issues and sensitivities. However, some people suffering from low-grade inflammation may appear symptom-free for many years. The following lifestyle factors can lead to inflammation, an excess of toxins and additional stress on the liver:

  • Eating processed foods
  • Eating too much sugar
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Stress
  • Lack of sleep
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals and air pollutants
  • Digestive issues and poor daily bowel eliminations

Everyone is an individual, and so the underlying causative issues for chronic skin conditions can be varied and complex. However, the following suggestions can significantly improve most people’s skin health:

Eat an anti-inflammatory diet
A lower carbohydrate diet that is free from processed food and rich in oily fish and antioxidant-rich, colourful vegetables and fruits will help to reduce inflammation. Try avoiding gluten in grains (particularly wheat) as well as cow’s milk for one month to see if your skin health improves – both of these foods can cause inflammation in some people.

Cleanse
The effective elimination of toxins from the body is essential to skin health, so it is vital that you have good daily bowel eliminations. Sadly many people do not have good daily bowel movements. Even mild constipation will increase the body’s toxic load, putting additional stress on the liver and other elimination channels, including the skin.

The body has seven channels of elimination (these are detoxification pathways that our body uses to get rid of toxins). These seven channels are:

  • The liver
  • The bowel
  • The kidneys
  • The blood
  • The lymphatic system
  • The lungs
  • The skin

All of the elimination channels have a unique role to play in getting rid of toxins, and all must be functioning optimally in order for effective detoxification to take place. An ideal herbal cleanse will support all seven of the body’s channels of elimination, last 30 days and will have a good emphasis on liver and bowel cleansing to take pressure off the skin as an elimination channel. This typically results in clearer, more even skin tone and can really benefit all skin issues including acne.

Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have potent anti-inflammatory properties and are extremely beneficial for skin health. Eating oily fish such as sardines and mackerel are also of great benefit to skin health.

Probiotics
It is very common that people suffering from skin health issues are suffering from a poor balance of gut bacteria. Taking a good quality probiotic supplement containing ‘good’ bacteria is crucial because an excess of ‘bad’ bacteria is linked to inflammatory conditions, digestive problems and unhealthy skin. Health experts recommend taking probiotics containing 50 billion bacteria each day for therapeutic results. I like to think of them as 50 billion probiotic warriors helping to rebuild gut health and eliminate toxins every day.

Zinc
Due to poor diet, lifestyle or even digestive issues (resulting in poor assimilation), many people are low in this immune-boosting mineral. Zinc is also an important anti-inflammatory and it is a common occurrence that people suffering from skin conditions have low levels of this mineral. Good food sources of zinc include animal protein, almonds, grains and seeds. If supplementing, look for zinc picolinate for the best absorption.

Skin conditions can be an external indicator for internal imbalances and a build-up of toxins. If you are suffering from skin issues, try implementing the suggestions above and you may just see that beautiful skin really does come from within.

New hope for dermatitis sufferers?

A treatment based on a volcanic mineral could prove helpful in soothing the red rashes commonly seen in eczema and psoriasis. Holistic osteopath Marcus Webb has been trialling this new treatment in his clinic (www.hadleywoodhealthcare.co.uk) and has experienced positive results.

He explains: “A key feature commonly accompanying inflamed skin is an intense itch that just needs to be scratched, often to the point where the skin is further damaged and often bleeding. This itch-scratch-damage cycle will delay healing and encourage opportunistic infections that, in turn, further delay the healing process. Finding natural agents to help ease these symptoms is not that easy so I was excited to trial a new histamine binding topical skin product from Germany based on MANC (Modified and Activated Natural Clinoptilolite). Derived from the volcanic mineral known as Clinoptilolite, the suspension can be applied to intact regions of dermatitis-affected skin and covered by the medical foil provided for up to two hours. When used twice a day the suspension actively draws the inflammation-generating histamine out of the skin, which helps to reduce the itch-scratch-damage cycle, accelerating recovery and healing. Early observational results in my clinic are positive and I am looking forward to offering it to more of my chronic dermatitis sufferers.”

Caroline Harmer is Director of Education for Renew Life UK – the digestive care and cleansing company. For more information, call 0800 707 6671 or visit www.renewlife.co.uk

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