Not many people make the connection between their skin quality and the health of their liver. In Chinese Medicine and other holistic bodies of medicine, it is common knowledge that each organ system connects to each other. The skin and liver are two organs that are very intimately connected. Our skin’s glow is a direct reflection of our liver function.
The Skin – Liver Connection
The liver is the governing organ of the entire body. It is the center for all physiological functions including the functioning of the digestive, metabolic, immune and detoxification systems. There isn’t a single biological process that liver doesn’t play some role in. One of the most important functions of the liver in regards to health and beauty is its responsibility for producing biological or cellular energy. The hair follicles are very energy dependent mini-organs that need a lot of biological energy to grow. The skin cells also require tons of energy to regenerate, detoxify and grow. The liver is strongly connected to the heart. The heart receives energy from the liver in order to circulate blood to your skin to nourish it, to produce collagen and supply it with oxygen to glow. If the liver becomes overburdened or impaired, it will not be able to provide energy to the heart or directly to the skin and scalp, resulting in aging. Furthermore, because the liver is a detoxification organ, if it’s impaired, it can't efficiently eliminate toxins. When this occurs, the skin can become inflamed by the toxin burden. This causes various skin issues including, eczema, acne, psoriasis, rashes, wrinkles.
What Does the Skin Do?
The skin is an organ, and therefore, has many different functions. Aside from the obvious – acting as a covering or barrier system, protecting the organs from external pathogens – the skin also synthesizes vitamin D, regulates body temperature, gives you sensation, and more. The skin also directly connects to the bloodstream. Therefore, the quality of someone’s blood (which is cleaned by the liver) can determine the quality of someone’s skin. For example, people with too few red blood cells are usually pale skinned, and if the liver becomes fibrotic, it can no longer process bilirubin and can cause the skin to yellow. 1
Careful What You Put on Your Skin
Not only does the health of the liver effect the skin, the health of the skin can also affect the liver. Given that your skin directly connects to the bloodstream, anything your skin comes into contact with ultimately is processed by the liver. This is because your liver filters all of your blood 24-hours a day. Therefore, you want to be careful about what you put directly on your skin. Most of us have some reality on this; we know to avoid direct skin contact with various chemicals like bleach, gasoline and acid.
However, these are not the only dangerous or harmful substances we should be aware of. Many toxic substances hide in plain sight, in everyday products. They are common in shampoos, conditioners, soaps, perfumes, colognes, cosmetics, lotions, and various other personal care and household products. Things like phylates, parabens, xenoestrogens, dyes, preservatives, synthetic nutrients, and others are ingredients in common beauty products and cleaners, which are known carcinogens, irritants and toxins. All which when applied to the skin or even inhaled can cause inflammation to the skin, liver and other organs. For a full list of the toxic chemicals and additives in common household products, be sure to download our free eBook on holistic skin care
A New Perspective
Before you try to cover up those blemishes, keep in mind that most skin issues have roots in inflammation, toxicity and more specifically liver dysfunction. Masking those skin blemishes is not a viable solution. Not only does the health of your skin not improve, but masking the symptom covers up the root problem; an impaired liver. This can result in the worsening of liver problems, which can lead to more severe issues like digestive problems, hormonal imbalance and even diabetes. Avoid seeking the instant gratification that most conventional skin treatments promote. Instead, take the holistic approach to health and beauty.
• Seek to address the underlying problems causing your skin issues. These are usually rooted within the immune system and liver function. • Eliminate the toxic burden by using natural, organic products on your skin and ridding your home environment of known carcinogenic products. • Reduce overall stress; get good sleep, manage your thoughts and emotions, exercise moderately, eat a clean and nutritious diet, magnesium oil, optimize thyroid function, progesterone. • Care for your liver; reduce toxins, eat bitter foods (greens, radishes, beets, ginger, turmeric), supplement bone broth for glycine, drink quality coffee, raw vegetable juices, adequate proteins and fats, selenium rich foods (brazil nuts, oysters). This is a more logical and scientific approach to caring for your skin. Given the interconnectedness of the body, rather than focus on masking symptoms, focus on your overall health to improve skin health. And Remember that your skin directly connects to your bloodstream. So treat it as carefully as you would any of your other precious organs. Be aware of all ingredients for your skincare and personal care products. Avoid all brands with harmful chemicals. Your skin and your liver will thank you.