Your Liver And Acne: How Poor Liver Health Can Damage Your Skin

by Katie Stone, ND November 13, 2019 5 min read

Your Liver And Acne: How Poor Liver Health Can Damage Your Skin

There’s a common misconception that that the liver is responsible only for processing alcohol, but nothing could be further from the truth! That’s only one of the liver’s many, many jobs.

Along with filtering out toxins – whether from alcohol, food or everything else – your liver is one of the key organs involved in keeping your skin healthy.

In fact, if you want fewer breakouts and a healthy glow, you should start by improving your liver health.

How Your Liver Health Affects Your Skin Health

Many skin conditions – from acne to eczema to psoriasis – can be linked to poor liver function.  A tired, overworked liver can lead to dry, itchy skin, acne, and a dull complexion.

Everything you eat, drink, and consume is processed by your liver, so it’s important to keep it as healthy as possible.

You’ve probably heard that poor gut health can affect your skin. Well, a build-up of toxins in the liver can also result in nasty skin eruptions.

The liver is one of your body’s main elimination organs. Any toxins that you eat, drink, absorb through your skin, or breathe in through your lungs have to be filtered out by your liver. In many ways, your skin is a direct reflection of how efficiently that filtration process is working.

If your bloodstream is overloaded with toxins – such as food chemicals, environmental pollutants, drugs, or alcohol— the results may show on your skin.

A congested liver is less able to break down these toxins efficiently, causing them to build up. As a result, your body will try to flush these toxins out in other ways, such as through your sweat. When those harmful substances are expelled through your pores, they can irritate and inflame the skin. That’s where breakouts can occur!

If you’ve ever done a cleanse, you may have experienced rashes or breakouts of acne. This is often due to those harmful substances causing an inflammatory reaction. (1)

Another factor involved in the liver-acne connection is fat. Another role that your liver plays is to break down the fat in your diet.

When your liver function is slow or inefficient, those fats will just float around in your bloodstream. Often, the oil-producing glands in your skin (called the sebaceous glands) will try to compensate for this extra fat and use them instead. Unfortunately, using this fat-soluble material to produce sebum can cause all sorts of problems. These fats can upset the natural oils on your skin because they tend to contain inflammatory toxins.

The quality of fats in your bloodstream will affect the quality of sebum on your skin. The thicker and more toxic the sebum, the more likely it will clog your pores.

If your diet contains a high amount of “bad fats” – such as those from fried foods, chocolate, margarines or other such foods – the impact on your skin will be even more severe. That means more breakouts!

4 Supplements To Improve Your Liver Health

1. Milk Thistle

Milk thistle’s seeds contain a powerful flavonoid called silymarin. Silymarin is an important antioxidant and one of the most potent liver purifiers in nature. It supports and protects the liver by optimizing liver function and detoxification. It works by binding to the outside of the liver cell fending off toxins by blocking their entry to the liver cell.

Clinical research has shown that this activity helps to support liver health and significantly reduce the risk of long-term damage to the liver. (2)

Milk thistle’s ability to speed up the detoxification process in the body can be hugely beneficial for chronic acne sufferers. The liver is involved in the regulation of hormones which can lead to the development of acne.

When certain hormones accumulate in the body, there may be an overproduction of sebum. This can lead to oil clogging the pores in the skin, which in can contribute to breakouts.

Milk thistle helps your liver to clear these excess hormones from the body. This is also one of the reasons it has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine as a blood purifier. It also has some amazing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which may help with acne-related skin conditions.

2. NAC

NAC stands for N-acetyl cysteine. Cysteine is a semi-essential amino acid, and N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) is a supplement form of cysteine. NAC is a precursor to glutathione and is needed to replenish your body’s stores of glutathione.

Glutathione is perhaps the most important antioxidant for your general health. That’s because it’s found in every cell and in a prime position to neutralize and eliminate free radicals.

Glutathione is also found in the cells of your immune system, whose job is to fight infection, as well as your liver. (3)

If taken regularly, NAC can even help to restore a liver that has been damaged by drugs or poisoning. (4)

This makes NAC a very beneficial addition to a liver cleanse program, when your liver may be suffering extra wear and tear due to the amount of toxins being moved out of your cells. A healthier, more efficient liver means better skin.

3. Dandelion Root Extract

Traditional medicine has long used dandelion root to improve liver health and function.

Research suggests that dandelion root extract has the ability to boost the flow of bile, which is necessary for the liver to carry out its many detoxification functions. (5)

Dandelion root tea is often recommended as part of a liver cleansing program and is even believed to help reduce symptoms of liver disease.

A 2017 study showed that dandelion root may have hepatoprotective effects, while other studies have found it reduced alcohol-induced oxidative stress, and also alleviated high-fat diet-induced non-alcoholic fatty liver. (6)

4. Artichoke Leaf Extract

Artichoke leaf extract contains a host of antioxidants including cynarin and silymarin. Like milk thistle, these help to protect the liver from free radical damage and promote the growth of new tissue.

Artichoke extract has also been found to boost the production of bile, which helps remove harmful toxins from the liver.

One study involving rats showed that artichoke extract reduced liver damage and improved antioxidant levels, resulting in an overall improvement in liver function following an induced drug overdose. (7)

Studies in humans also show artichoke extract improved liver function in people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, while a similar study showed taking artichoke extract daily for two months resulted in reduced liver inflammation and fewer fat deposits in the liver. (8)

Supporting Your Liver

These are just a few of the many natural and herbal supplements that can help to optimize your liver health. And a healthier liver will usually mean better, clearer skin!

Our Liver Support formula contains all of these ingredients, and a total of 11 liver-supportive ingredients to boost your liver health. Each one of those ingredients will support your liver, but they are even more powerful when combined into one supplement.

Katie Stone, ND
Katie Stone, ND


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