Did you know, that the skin is our largest organ of elimination? Similar to the kidneys and liver, the skin is a major detox organ. While it may not seem so obvious, we do seem to know this intrinsically - many people make a habit of inducing sweat to eliminate toxins, perhaps by going for a run after a night out drinking, or using a sauna regularly for overall wellness.
It’s not just empirical!
Evidence shows that sweat eliminates waste from the body. Take Bisphenol A for example, commonly known as BPA. BPA is found in all plastics, like water bottles, Tupperware containers, and many household products. While we don’t yet know the full implications of BPA toxicity, there is significant evidence that it is carcinogenic (cancer causing), and it is found in much higher concentrations in sweat than in blood or urine. This shows that it is likely stored in our adipose tissues, meaning the only way to effectively get rid of it is to sweat it out!
What does that mean for our skin health?
First and foremost, washing our skin daily to remove potentially irritating substances is very important. But it’s not just rogue toxins being secreted through our skin that we have to worry about - we also have to be aware of certain food sensitivities and inflammatory substances that we ingest and put inside our body. If something is affecting your digestion or causing you pain, it’s probably affecting your skin, too. Basically, what we put in our mouth is equally ,if not more important, than what we’re putting on our faces when it comes to skincare.
What to do?
The toughest part may be finding what you’re sensitive to - it’s not always as easy as eliminating gluten or dairy, although elimination diets can certainly be eye-opening. Through functional medicine testing, your health care provider can order a food sensitivity panel to identify specific foods triggering inflammation in your body, or a stool test to identify existing gut imbalances that may not be related to food at all (parasites, dysbiosis, fungal overgrowth, etc). Your acupuncturist can also use principles of Chinese medicine to spot trends in your food intake, lifestyle, and bodily responses and use acupuncture and herbal medicine to support your unique combination of symptoms. While you’re figuring all that out, the best thing you can do for your skin is take a good probiotic, make sure you get plenty of vitamins A,B,C and E, avoid inflammatory substances like alcohol and fatty/greasy foods, wear SPF, and see your esthetician for the facial cleansers and topical products that are best for you.
Guest written by our friends at Onyx!
Katie Heinrich, L.Ac and Layne Bronson, L.Ac of Onyx Acupuncture and Integrative Heath