Why The Liver Is Your Ticket to Healthy Skin

In the last decade, there’s been an incredibly trendy movement towards external skin care. Products such as cleanser, toner, moisturizer, chemical peels, face masks, and vampire facials have never been so hip… blossoming an entirely new culture around what it means to care for your skin. Brands like Proactive, Clearasil, Glossier, Curology, Lush, etc. are dominating the market with hundreds of products for any and all.

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There is a strong common misconception that the health of the skin is directly related to what fancy af products you are putting on your face.

 


Natural medicine is a holistic-based practice, and that doesn’t magically exclude our integumentary system… aka our SKIN. Now, let’s shed some light on this common misconception and guide you towards optimal skin health from the inside-out.

Our first reaction to skin disturbances it to ‘treat’ what is visibly on the skin. However, I can promise you, it is worth it to consider the holistic relationship between the bodies five elimination organs and the skin. The skin is an incredibly massive organ, it doesn't work independently from the rest of the body. The eleven systems of the body are intricately interconnected; therefore, the health of one organ system will sure as hell transcend to just about every other organ system.

In my experience, skin health is an external issue about 10-20% of the time. In these cases, the solution is rather simple. Since the skin is irritated by bacteria or contact of some kind, reduce that contact with your face. Try this:

  • Be extra careful with the quality of skin care products used, and consider cleanliness factors, like washing your pillows, cleaning your phone, washing your face, etc. When choosing your skin care products, avoid chemicals that act as estrogen mimickers in the body. This stresses the liver, and as you will read - the liver and the skin are intimately connected.

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The other 80-90% of the time, skin health requires a holistic approach…

and it exclusively involves the liver.

 

Liver and Skin Connection

I like to look at the liver as the ‘engine’ of the body. Optimal liver functioning is essential for clear skin. In fact, overall wellness is mutually exclusive with liver health. The Liver is essential to many physiological functions, such as breaking down of toxins, synthesis of hormones, filtration of excess hormones and waste products, storing key nutrients (vitamin A, D and B12), and much much more.

The body is made up of five elimination organs. The liver, kidneys, lungs, intestines, and skin work together to offer an elimination channel for toxins to leave the body. Our body is constantly detoxifying to ensure a balanced ecosystem. When one or more of these primary elimination organ mechanisms is compromised, we see disturbances.

First and foremost, most disturbances will first manifest in the digestive system; commonly through indigestion (gas, bloating, cramping, heartburn, food intolerances) and elimination (sluggish stools, strained stools, loose stools).

Because the skin is also an elimination organ of the body, it will work to pick up the “slack” of the liver if the bodies ecosystem becomes overloaded. This, my friends, is the connection between compromised liver functioning and poor skin health.

Common liver imbalances:

  • Liver enzymes: excess inflammation

  • Hormone filtration: elevated hormone levels, such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone


It is worth noting again:

Our first reaction to skin disturbances it to ‘treat’ what is visibly on the skin. However, I can promise you, it is worth it to consider the holistic relationship between the bodies five elimination organs and the skin. The skin is an incredibly massive organ, it doesn't work independently from the rest of the body. The eleven systems of the body are intricately interconnected; therefore, the health of one organ system will sure as hell transcend to just about every other organ system.


LOVE YOUR LIVER PROTOCOL:

Liver / skin rehabilitation programs are individual to my clients; however, this following protocol are foundational principles necessary to cultivate healthy liver functioning. If you would like to consider a personal program specific to your body, I would be delighted to work with you one-on-one.

#1. CHEW YOUR FOOD

Digestion begins with the mouth during the pre-digestion phase. Your saliva contains digestive enzymes which begin the breakdown of the food in your mouth. Additionally, when we chew, it signals our GI tract to simulate HCL production. This is essential for proper digestion. When we don’t chew our food properly, it makes it significantly more difficult for digestive fluids to break down the compounds.

How much to chew? Ideally, we want to homogenize the contents in our mouth (i.e. chew until everything is about the same consistency).

#2. DRINK YOUR WATER

Without a doubt, one of my most tried-and-true practices.

Try this on for size: drink 16 oz of warm lemon water upon waking. I speak endlessly about the bulleit proof benefits of this practice, however, I will keep this particular content relevant to the liver. Adding lemon to your water aids in the detoxification process of your liver, stimulating bile to remove toxins.  Additionally, a single lemon has ~ 40mg of Vitamin C  (suggested intake is ~100mg per/day). Vitamin C is critical in collagen synthesis; therefore, has quite the impact on skin health.  Vitamin C can be taken internally or applied topically.

In general, water flushes out the tissues of the liver, clearing this primary organ of any toxic stress. Additionally, drinking water supports the kidneys waste filtration process. The kidneys and liver are intimately connected, therefore the any support for the kidneys will only contribute to liver health.

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Pro Tip:

Do not exceed 4oz of water with meals.

Drinking water with meals dilutes enzymes and will compromise digestion.

Drink majority of water in morning and afternoon.

For more fabulous information, take a gander at: 7 reasons to drink lemon water in the AM

 

LIVER SUPPORT TONIC

  • 1/4 cup Aloe Water

  • 1/2 -1 tsp Turmeric

Mix turmeric into aloe water. Stir until mixed entirely. Drink up!

Drink at least 30min before the first meal of the day.

LIVER SUPPORT Tea

  • Dandy Blend: pre-made coffee-like tasting beverage complete with dandelion root, beet root, chicory, and more. Mix with hot water in morning at least 30 minutes prior to first meal.

  • CCF Tea: This is a very traditional ayurveda formula that has been used for many moon. Mix equal parts Cumin, Coriander, and Fennel seeds (whole). Place 2 tsp of herb blend in re-usable tea bag with hot water. You can also buy the spices pre-mixed through Banyan Botanicals.

#3. FOCUS ON BITTER FOODS

Say it with me, “Bitter is Better for the Liver”.

Bitter foods stimulate bile production from the liver. Biles emulsifies fats and renders key fat soluble nutrients, such as Vitamin A, D, E, and K

Bitter foods are not favored in the American diet; however, it is one of the six tastes and needs equal attention.

EAT THIS:

Cruciferous Vegetables: Kale, Arugula, Brussel Sprouts, Radishes, Broccoli.

  • I don’t always suggest eating raw vegetables; however, if it agrees with you, favor raw cruciferous bitter vegetables.

  • add a handful to your salads, sandwiches, tacos, soups, etc!

  • VPK Considerations:

    • If your Pitta is vitiated (aggravated/inflamed), reduce intake of raw vegetables.

    • If your Vata is vitiated, eat these vegetables lightly cooked in oil

    • If your Kapha is vitiated, the more raw veggies, the better!

Coffee: oh yes, here is your bone! Take it! Drink and enjoy y’all.

  • VPK Considerations:

    • If your Pitta is vitiated (aggravated/inflamed), cut your coffee with a splash cream (dairy or non dairy per your preference). Avoid bulletproof coffee

    • If your Vata is vitiated, add a moderate amount of cream (dairy or non dairy per your preference)

    • If your Kapha is vitiated, you are in the best position to drink your coffee black.

Dark Chocolate: Enjoy a square, or two, with your coffee!

  • VPK Considerations:

    • Vata and/or Pitta Primary Dosha: you can enjoy a moderate amount of chocolate. Try to eat in afternoon when digestion is strongest. Do not eat to replace meals or when ‘hangry’.

    • Kapha Primary Dosha: small amounts of chocolate are okay. Try to eat in afternoon when digestion is strongest.

Citrus: lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit

  • I like to best consume my citrus as infusions in my water! The beneficial chemical compounds of citrus are found in the rind, not in the meaty fruit part!

  • VPK Considerations:

    • Pitta Primary Dosha: favor limes

    • Vata Primary Dosha: favor lemons and oranges

    • Kapha Primary Dosha: favor grapefruit

I could go on and on… but I will stop here. Although these three principles might seem nuanced, they are paramount. Ayurveda will always maneuver from a bottom-up approach. ALWAYS. Try these three practices for a week… see what happens.

I haven’t touched on herbs, probiotics, supplements, or additional practices to further elevate liver health. However, stay tuned!


INTERESTED IN MORE?

I facilitate individual liver cleanses specific to my clients quite frequently. Have any questions? Interested in working together? Visit my consultations page. I would love to talk more.


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Marina ZahranComment