Healing Your Skin From the Inside Out
Discover how to detox your skin from the inside out and what to avoid when trying to make your skin glow in this extensive, scientifically researched, evidence-based guide.
What if we told you that everything you learnt about skincare might not be as effective as you first thought?
Cue the gasps.
Despite the popularity of conventional skincare products, moisturisers and creams, scientific research shows we can contribute much more to glowing and healthy skin by the way we condition ourselves within.
To give you a better idea of what we’re talking about, we’ve put together a conclusive guide containing vital research and skin-glowing tips. Let’s explore.
Forget everything you thought you knew about skincare
While our skin exists outside of our bodies, its overall condition is dictated by what happens inside and no other organ has more influence than the liver.
Yes, you’d be forgiven for thinking our liver and skin has little to do with each other but as the two largest organs in the body, they are much more closely related and similar in function than you might first think.
The liver and skin are two of five eliminatory organs. Also included are the kidneys, lungs, and intestines. All these organs work together to help our bodies survive and thrive in our environments.
What links our skin and liver health?
Because the air we breathe is somewhat polluted, the water we drink can be slightly unclean and what we eat is often processed, our bodies must detoxify what we ingest to remain healthy and strong.
Our livers carry out at least five hundred functions but perhaps none of these functions is as important as breaking down toxins and deactivating hormones.
When our liver struggles to detoxify, our kidneys and skin are called upon to help with the process. As our skin attempts to manage the impurities, the skin may show various visible signs of detoxification, such as irritation, rash, acne, itchiness and flare-ups.
So, if our livers are not functioning properly, it directly impacts our skin and hormones. In essence, the performance of the liver has a visible influence on the health and appearance of your skin.
9 liver health factors linked to skin condition
Certain digestive issues can create liver issues that then become prevalent on the skin. Here are some examples, with scientific sources:
1. Gut Dysbiosis
Due to an imbalance in bacteria, gut dysbiosis can contain yeast overgrowth and parasitic infections. Some chronic low-grade conditions can lead to continual inflammation that can become prevalent on the skin.
Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) is a small intestinal overgrowth that can result from a lack of liver bile production. Like gut dysbiosis, SIBO causes inflammation to appear on the skin.
One study published in the Gut Pathogens Journal displayed people who suffered from acne were ten times more likely to have SIBO.
Further studies show a similar effect on people struggling with rosacea were once again ten times more likely to have SIBO. However, results from this study revealed that the eradication of SIBO directly improved skin conditions.
Hypochlorhydria is defined as having a lack of stomach acid and affects 90% of acne sufferers according to The Lab, alongside those with rosacea and dermatitis.
This lack of stomach acid can cause numerous health issues, from gastric microbial overgrowth and cancer development to gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) in patients with liver cirrhosis.
Hypochlorhydria skin conditions include acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, perioral dermatitis and more.
4. Leaky Gut
Inflammation on the skin can also be caused by a leaky gut, where undigested food and toxins, such as yeast and bacteria, enter the bloodstream. Dysbiosis, SIBO and hypochlorhydria can all lead to a leaky gut where increased intestinal permeability of bacteria can cause major complications such as cirrhosis.
If we don't effectively excrete toxins from the body, inflammation, breakouts, and accelerated ageing can appear on our skin. This problem can be exacerbated by congestion within the liver, turning your body to try and flush out toxins through another form like your sweat. By having harmful substances expelled through your pores, your skin can become inflamed.
6. Sex hormones
The metabolism of enzymes and hormones by the liver and skin can also cause skin defects.
For example, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) when sex hormones are not deactivated, it can lead to excessive testosterone circulating in the body to increase the rate of sebum production which is a trigger for acne breakouts.
7. Blood sugar imbalances
NLM also published a comparative study that assessed how high serum glucose levels were associated with higher perceived age due to skin ageing. This insight reveals elevations in blood sugar can cause visible changes in the skin.
Acne is associated with a high glycemic index and increased daily glycemic load intake. Another NLM study has shown that higher insulin levels can influence androgen hormones to cause acne breakouts.
8. Oxidative damage
Oxidative stress (OS) is known to cause skin wrinkling and inflammatory skin diseases. We can increase our chances of reducing OS by improving our antioxidant intake to protect our cells from free radical damage.
9. Inadequate fat breakdown
If the liver fails to break down and digest fat effectively, naturally, it will lead to undigested fat entering our digestive system. This process can then cause inflammation to become widespread across the body and skin.
7 skin issues linked to liver function
Now. Let’s invert the issue to see what skin conditions are linked to liver function:
The NLM has published a journal that attempts to prove how atopic dermatitis causes lipid accumulation in the liver. Studies undertaken on mice suggest the influence of lipid metabolism and metabolic syndrome resulting from dermatitis were positive.
Commonly known for itchy rashes called “pruritus”, eczema has been linked to poor liver health and function, such as cholestasis. Defined by impaired bile secretion, cholestasis is associated with hepatobiliary disorders producing extrahepatic biliary obstruction. Eczema is also a symptom of this disorder.
While hives are more commonly associated with stress, infections, animal dander, insect stings and even some materials such as latex, some will suggest that hives could be the symptoms of more serious health issues like liver disease.
What also goes by the name of “chloasma” and “pregnancy mask” is a skin condition that causes black spots to appear on the skin, known formally as melasma. These spots tend to appear on the face resulting from increased LDL cholesterol levels produced by the liver.
According to the NLM, melasma and metabolic syndrome are related to non-alcoholic fatty liver and heightened lipid profile statuses.
One of the many liver functions is to manage several endocrine functions, such as thyroid and androgenic hormones but if the liver is not delivering these functions effectively, a tell-tale sign can be acne breakouts.
Not all acne breakouts are a direct result of acne vulgaris. Sometimes, we can blame it on acne rosacea which can be a direct result of fatty liver issues.
6. Premature ageing
Premature ageing and wrinkling can result from poor liver health, causing undesired muscle tone, skin laxity and wrinkles to appear. Loss of muscle mass resulting from advanced liver disease can cause more serious cases of sarcopenia.
Cellulite is a skin condition caused by fat cells increasing and pushing up against the skin. As long combined cords pull down it creates an uneven surface or “dimpling” texture. While this is a harmless skin condition, it can point to your lymphatic system struggling to remove toxins.
If your liver fails to eliminate these toxins, they will move to fat cells that can cause cellulite. Cellulite is a result of hormonal issues associated with higher amounts of estrogen unremoved by the liver too. A dominance of estrogen can contribute to more fat being produced that then results in a hormonal imbalance and more cellulite being produced.
7 foods to heal your skin
Inflammation on your skin can have a direct correlation with your diet. While only proven in a lab on mice, the NLM suggests that an imbalanced diet can produce skin inflammation through the gut.
Therefore, one obvious point is to use anti-inflammatory ingredients and food products to counteract skin conditions caused by inflammation.
The various foods to support your liver health include:
1. High-quality protein
Grass-fed meat, free-range chickens and organic fish can help restore and maintain skin health and a general appearance of radiance.
2. Natural and healthy fats
Healthy fats from foods such as avocado, nuts and fish can all benefit your skin, as they keep your skin thicker to lock in moisture.
Omega 3 fatty acids found in specific fish are crucial in maintaining your skin's healthy glow. Other oils from fish are an excellent source of vitamin E, providing an effective antioxidant ideal for protecting the skin from OS and free radical damage.
3. High fibre
Fibre helps our bodies cleanse and release toxins by keeping our digestive system moving. While cleansing toxins help with inflammation, we can also heal our skin from the inside out with fibre as it feeds the microbiome in our gut to produce positive levels of healthy bacteria.
4. Vitamin E foods
A study from the NLM shows how vitamin E and other phytonutrients play a positive role in detoxing the skin and helping us glow. Multiple skin conditions have low levels of vitamin E, which can prove a vital antioxidant for our skin.
Foods containing vitamin E include fish oil, wheat germ oil, sunflower, safflower and soybean oil. Plus, sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts and lots of vegetables.
5. Antioxidant-rich polyphenols
Foods high in polyphenols, such as olives, berries, beans and spices, can help slow down skin ageing and the appearance of wrinkles. The antioxidant ingredients destroy free radicals to prevent OS. The MDPI published an article reporting the positive effects of polyphenols on our health when included in our diets.
Seen as a vital secondary metabolite produced by plants, polyphenols contain multiple health-promoting ingredients to help our skin glow and stay youthful, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-adipogenic and neuroprotective properties.
6. Other antioxidant foods
Shown by researchers to help our skin glow in multiple ways, antioxidants can reduce DNA damage from UV light and improve hydration while stimulating collagen and elastin production.
Other high-antioxidant foods include broccoli, spinach, carrots, spinach, potatoes, artichokes, cabbage, asparagus, avocados and more.
7. Vitamin C foods
Another vital vitamin to support to help heal our skin from the inside is vitamin C. This vital vitamin contains multiple benefits, including reducing the appearance of wrinkles and pigmentation, supporting our collagen synthesis and healing processes and antioxidants while reducing inflammation.
Combining antioxidants such as carotenoids, tocopherols and flavonoids with vitamins (A, C, D and E), proteins, healthy fats and fibres can all promote healthy skin from the inside out. But to absorb these nutrients, you should focus on maintaining your gut health.