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Understanding Your Skin: The Body's Largest Organ

Do you know what the largest organ of the body is?

If you've just finished a big meal, you might be inclined to say the stomach. But if you're reading this article, chances are you're thinking it might be the skin. And you would be right!

Our skin is, in fact, the largest organ of the body! Its sole purpose is to keep everything inside safe from the outside world filled with germs and sharp, pointy objects. How hard can that be? Your skin is the frontline of defense to help keep you resilient to diseases and injuries. So take a moment and look your skin in the metaphorical eye and say, "Thank you, skin." And if you accidentally slice it while cutting limes after having one too many margaritas, it'll just heal up after a few days (hopefully). "Thank you, skin."

The skin is like a window through the body. When you eat something bad, your stomach aches. When you pull a muscle, you feel it tense up. But what explains when you suddenly break out with acne, eczema, or psoriasis? The skin provides information that something is wrong internally. Think of it like a billboard of information or a window through the body.

plant in a window with curtains halfway drawn

For example, acne is just an annoying way your body is saying, "Hey! Did you need to eat all that fried food and beer last night? Or if you don't manage your chronic stress, I am going to give you a few pimples on your face to remind you." Now I'm speaking from personal experience with that one.

From gut imbalances to hormones and autoimmune disorders, the skin is just one way the body provides us with information that something is out of balance.

Chinese medicine utilizes the subtle indicators that your skin is manifesting on the outside to get to the root of the issue. In some ways, we are looking through your window to better understand your body. Under the umbrella of Chinese medicine are acupuncture, herbal medicine, and nutritional therapy. All of which are essential to healing and maintaining healthy skin. Like I mentioned earlier, in order to effectively treat the skin, a Doctor of Chinese medicine (such as myself) will need to meticulously diagnose your particular pattern from the perspective of Chinese medicine.

No two people with the same Western medicine diagnosis are exactly the same. Nor will they receive the exact same form of Chinese medicine diagnosis and treatment.

The theory of Chinese medicine focuses on the importance of excess and deficiency. What does that mean? Well, like Yin & Yang, the body can have too much or too little of one and not the other. The most common meaning is too much heat in the body or not enough Blood and resources.

The disease theory can be a lot more nuanced and complex, just like we are. However, the principle is the same. Address the root of the imbalance to treat the branch. Acupuncture can help control the acute nature of the disease and recalibrate the body. Herbal medicine can help nourish and restore harmony. While eating the right foods will do all of the above.

After all, we are what we eat. When you sliced your finger cooking, did the cut heal instantly? Only if you're Wolverine from the movie X-men.

It would be amazing if there was one pill, one herbal formula, one button to press to make the skin healthy again. Unfortunately, not without spending thousands of dollars on intense pharmaceuticals that can come with severe side effects that only might work.

The truth is, when it comes to healthy skin, it is not a one-size-fits-all. Nor does every healing modality work for everyone. Both Western medicine and holistic medicine struggle to find fast and easier ways to treat the skin. But with time and patience, there are things you can do.

Manage Your Stress: We live in a fast-paced life filled with stressors from every aspect of life. Meditation, journaling, and therapy can be wonderful ways to monitor your stress. It is, after all, one of the biggest killers and catalysts for skin issues.

Eat The Right Foods For You: By reducing high fatty foods, inflammatory foods, alcohol, and sugar, you are already halfway there. Similarly, it is important to eat a diet rich in fiber, essential minerals, and, depending on the season, foods that can be cooling and nourishing.

Regular Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine: Regular check-ins with your acupuncture physician will not only get you feeling great but provide you with a sense of direction and motivation throughout your healing journey. By taking herbal medicine that is specialized for you and your skin, you can further accelerate the healing journey even more!

At IVY Integrative, you can work with one practitioner or build your own team of holistic practitioners! Reach your optimum health in-person or online. Check out our Get Started page to learn how to work with us!

Disclaimer: This information is generalized and intended for educational purposes only. Due to potential individual contraindications, please see your primary care provider before implementing any strategies in these posts.



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