Skin is the body’s largest organ. The skin has multiple functions – one being that it is an important organ of elimination. The Chinese medical system refers to the skin as the third kidney – meaning that it functions to rid the body of excess moisture and toxins.The health of our skin is reflected by its appearance and texture. Most of the time, issues with our skin are symptoms of internal issues. Many will try to remedy a skin condition with external treatments such as salves or lotions; however, unless the cause of the skin problem is external such as a cut or insect bite, an external remedy will almost never correct an internal problem.Many odd rashes are caused by problems with other organs of elimination such as problems with the liver, kidneys or colon. When any of these organs get overwhelmed, they all become overwhelmed and can affect the skin. Many times rashes and odd itching spots, particularly lower legs are a sign of congested liver. The best remedies for these are gentle liver cleansers – with emphasis on the gentle. Sometimes what is cleaned out of the liver causes the kidneys to become compromised, making the skin reactions worse. Odd skin rashes can also be parasitic – most commonly yeast/fungus, but sometimes other parasites. Herbal cleanses specifically for yeast/fungus or for parasites can be very helpful.Acne is another skin issue that reflects internal health. My favorite remedies for acne are dandelion and a good probiotic. It helps if you can clean up the diet – eat more vegetables and eat less fried and processed food.Another internal problem causes that bumpy chicken skin on the back of the arms. This is generally 2 problems in one. The first being a liver that is not metabolizing fat properly and the second being lack of the right kind of fat such as omega 3 oils from fish or flax.Thick sandpaper textured skin on the back of the heels and the elbows is a reflection of poor carbohydrate metabolism low thyroid function and/or iodine deficiency.The color of the skin around the eyes relates to various organs. Greenish colors reflect liver and gallbladder problems, blues along with “bags” reflect kidney problems and yellows reflect spleen and stomach problems.Since our skin is an organ of elimination, one of the best things to do to make it healthier is to do an herbal cleanse. Cleansing the liver, kidneys, colon, lymph and skin periodically tends to help everything work better including lower blood pressure and cholesterol, better digestion, more energy and clearer, more vibrant skin.There are supplements and creams that are formulated for good skin, but I think a good diet is the best remedy for good skin. Fruits and vegetables are so important for keeping the skin clear and bright, and it is also important to not eat food that is too refined. Typical American fast food is one of the worst things you can eat for your skin (and the rest of you.)Good skin also needs water. Remember to drink at least 2 quarts per day.
Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas. www.naturalcowgirl.wordpress.com