The skin is the largest organ of the body. Made up of several layers and different cell types, it has several important roles. It supplies us with a protective barrier from bacteria and viruses. In addition, it helps to regulate the temperature of our body. It gives us the ability to make vitamin D on exposure to sunlight and provides us with the senses of touch and temperature.
The link between skin and gut health
Though the skin is our outer covering, I find that the health of the skin often reflects the health of the interior, especially the health of the gut. Since many factors affect gut health (see gut health and digestion) so, in turn, these same factors may affect the skin. For instance, I often find that skin health can improve with attention to nutrition, or by managing stress or by identifying food intolerances.
Nutrients and skin health
If improving skin health starts with improving nutrition, it is also important to make sure that the digestion is efficient and that the body is assimilating the nutrients from food. We can also improve the microcirculation to the skin to ensure an adequate supply of nutrients. As well as ensuring good elimination of waste products. On the other hand, having a good diet may not always be enough and herbal medicines can provide additional benefits.
Herbal medicine and skin
Herbal medicine offers a wide selection of ways to help soothe and heal various skin diseases. Skin infections may be helped with anti-infective herbs such as Aloe vera or Marigold flower. Skin irritation in the form of dermatitis or eczema may have an internal cause, but may also be relieved by anti-inflammatory herbs or soothing herbs like Lavender, Chickweed or Chamomile. Whilst the vulnerary herbs such as Plantain or Ribwort can provide remarkable improvements in the cellular repair of wounds.
However, acne is probably the most common skin disease I see. Again, good nutrition can be very beneficial but it is sometimes necessary to check for possible underlying causes. I talk more about this in some of the blog posts that I link to below.
The acne free diet plan – 30 days to clearer skin
Rosacea and the gut-skin connection
Can acupuncture improve acne?
Stop cold sores coming back
Pomegranate fights acne-causing bacteria
How to do a facial steam or steam inhalation
See my articles on skin health.