We talk a lot about our internal organs, their functions, their interactions, and their reliance on us to feed our body what it needs to work optimally. But what if we are missing a BIG clue from our body to tell us what’s happening internally? What if it’s as easy as looking in the mirror and noticing the change in color and texture of our skin? Can you heal your skin from within?
Yes! Our skin is the largest and most complicated organ in the body. You might say it’s a big dea—literally, on average it covers 16-21 square feet. It is an air/watertight flexible barrier holding everything in and protecting us from the outside world. Thus, our skin has many roles in the health, safety, and maintenance of life and health. With over 3,000 possible skin disorders, these clues to our health can be subtle or extreme.
Our skin is unique in many ways. It demands so much attention, from the need to moisturize in times of dryness to seeking medical advice for rashes, excessive acne, and curious moles. Today there are huge social pressures to have bright, glowing, clear, and younger-looking skin. This usually requires the use of many topical cream and oils. But these may lead to problems of their own, not to mention the emotional effects related to self-esteem and depression.
Our skin has several main functions:
- The skin is our first line of defense in the immune system. It protects us from invaders by providing a physical barrier and helping us to fight infection, toxins, insect bites, allergens, and many environmental invaders.
- The skin helps regulate our body temperature by allowing us to perspire and cool down.
- It produces melanin that protects us from UV radiation.
- It serves as a pathway for our body to detox and has been referenced as the third kidney, releasing waste through sweat that is produced when our internal temperature rises.
- In deeper layers of our skin, the tissue is thicker, giving our skin strength. It houses blood vessels, nerves, and receptors, which gives us our sense of touch.
- The deepest layer is comprised of adipose fat and fibrous tissue. This layer gives us insulation from the cold, protects us from trauma, and acts as an energy source.
When the appearance of our skin becomes affected, many will rush to treat the area with topical remedies like lotions or salves. However, unless the issue is a cut or an insect bite this will almost never resolve the issue completely. Most of the time symptoms expressed on the surface of the skin come from a larger issue brewing internally. Often rashes and odd itchy spots are caused when the liver, kidney, and colon become overwhelmed unable to their job thus affecting the skin.
Take Note of Where the Problem is Surfacing
The placement on the body of these symptoms can also be a sign that your body is burdened. Many times, a rash or spots on the lower legs can be a sign of congestion in the liver. Often a gentle liver cleanse of herbal teas, dry brushing, and fresh organic juice can aide in the moving of toxins out of the body.
Acne is another skin issue that can be addressed by looking internally. I have noticed most often acne can be minimized by taking a good probiotic, eliminating most dairy, and cleaning up the diet. If you suffer from acne, you should also limit processed foods—even the ones marked healthy. Finally, eliminate fried foods and increase the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables with a limited amount of cooking time. Eating food in its most raw form will give the biggest benefit.
Chicken skin, the small bumps usually located on the back of the arm could be two things. First, it could be related to the liver’s ability to conjugate fats. Look at your diet to see if you’re eating the right kinds of fats such as omega 3 oils from fish, flax, and some nuts. Second, it may be a gluten allergy. It’s worth trying an elimination diet for a few weeks to see if symptoms improve.
Thick or sandpaper textured skin on the backs of elbows and heals could be a sign of poor carbohydrate metabolism, low thyroid function, or iodine deficiency. These symptoms are very complex to tackle alone. Therefore, I highly recommend seeking the advice of a Functional NTP like myself or a trusted practitioner.
Skin Around the Eyes
The fragile and thin skin around the eyes is also linked to the function of various organs. Green colors may reflect a congested liver/gallbladder, yellowing may reflect stomach and spleen issues, and blue with “bags” may indicate a need to address kidney function.
Herbal Cleanses & Hydration
Since our body is a large detox organ most of these issues can be approached through herbal cleanses. However, if you are experiencing signs of poor digestion these issues need to be addressed first. It is crucial to support a healthy digestive system before beginning a detox routine and should be taken under the supervision of a trusted practitioner.
Staying properly hydrated will also be a key factor in the health of your skin. Consuming clean drinking water with electrolytes daily is going to provide you the highest level of benefit not only for your skin but for many of the body’s functions.
Heal Your Body From Within
There are many supplements and creams on the market to promote healthy skin, but the real path to healthy skin comes from within. Getting a nutritionally balanced diet to fit your individual needs is very important. Take time to breathe and reduce oxidative stress on the body’s organ systems and move your body to produce a good sweat to release waste and toxins. Our bodies are capable of detoxing on their own! Our ancestors knew how to support this process. Now it’s time to get back to what we have forgotten and take care of the body again.