Let’s face it, almost all of us have dealt with problem skin at some point or another. From acne, to eczema, to uneven texture, as our largest organ, our skin bears the brunt of a lot. We’re lucky that nowadays there seems to be a product claiming to treat most of these concerns. However, there is not nearly as much discussion surrounding what the root causes of such skin issues could be. Our skin can be a powerful tool for us, as oftentimes it can give us a glimpse of what is happening inside our bodies, so when it flares up it’s a good time to think about what could be causing our skin’s momentary freak out. A common cause of skin issues that is often overlooked or simply unheard of for many, is poor liver health.
THE LIVER-SKIN CONNECTION
What is the function of the liver?
The liver is a crucial organ that performs a range of vital functions in the human body. It helps with metabolism by processing and storing nutrients from food and producing energy for the body to use. It also produces bile for digesting fats and absorbs fat- soluble vitamins, stores important vitamins and minerals, regulates blood clotting, and regulates cholesterol levels in the body. Additionally, the liver aids in detoxification, removing harmful substances from the body.
How can our liver health affect our skin?
Because the liver is responsible for filtering toxins out of our body, sometimes it can become congested by a buildup of toxins which can lead to poor skin health. This is because due to the liver being one of our body’s central elimination organs, any toxins that enter our bodies must be filtered by our liver. Many assume that filtering alcohol is the livers main job, however we encounter many toxins every day that the liver is responsible for handling. These toxins can be anything we eat, drink, absorb through our skin, or breathe in through our lungs. If our liver becomes congested, it is less able to break down these toxins which causes them to build up. As a result, your body will attempt to expel these toxins by other means, one of which being through the sweat. This can cause a buildup of sweat and dirt in your pores, leading to inflammation, acne and breakouts. Moreover, bile and lipid deposits can collect in your gallbladder, which sits just under the liver. When these deposits solidify, they are known as gallstones, which can clog both your liver and gallbladder.
So, what can I do?
If you think that your skin’s distress could be a result of your liver being in poor health, a potential avenue to explore is a liver cleanse. A particularly notable liver cleanse is that of Dr. Andreas Moritz, a German Ayurvedic medical practitioner who was fascinated by the link between the liver and skin. He theorized that many skin issues that people experience are linked to a congested liver and gallbladder, “All skin disorders have their root in an imbalanced liver condition. Gallstones lead to circulatory disorders, which reduce the nutrient supply to, and waste removal from, the skin and prevent healthy development and normal turnover cycles of skin cells.”. In order to cleanse the liver and flush out gallstones, Moritz proposed an all-natural, at home method of cleansing the liver, which he called the “Moritz Liver Cleanse”. The cleanse involves preparing your body in the days prior to the cleanse by stopping consuming animal protein and minimizing your intake of fat and oils. Instead, drink plenty of water and fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Once your body is prepared a liver cleanse is performed over two days involving the consumption of olive oil, organic apple juice and Epsom salts (find out more about the cleanse here). Moritz was also a great believer in the power of malic acid, which is found in apples, and is beneficial in breaking up gallstones and cleansing the liver. Interestingly enough, it can also be a useful topically for our skin health as it is a natural alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), which can help to exfoliate the skin. Moritz claimed that this cleanse would flush gallstones out of the gallbladder and liver, detoxifying it and allowing it to decongest and do its job properly, thereby clearing the skin.
Another option that involves less commitment is drinking a liver detox tea containing ingredients such as dandelion, fennel and thistle. This can help to detox and decongest your liver, thereby helping to clear and brighten your skin. If you’re really wanting to up your skincare game, this step cannot be overlooked!
Make sure you consult a healthcare professional when determining if a congested liver is responsible for your skin issues, and if a liver cleanse could be right for you. Sometimes a more natural and holistic approach can be the best at helping to heal our skin, because whilst what we’re putting on our skin can help with hydration and brightening our complexion, how we care for our bodies on the inside is what will really magnify positive results.