How does milk thistle help skin?

Written by linda st.cyr
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How does milk thistle help skin?
(Roland zh/ Wikimedia Commons)

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Benefits of Milk Thistle

Milk thistle has been used as an herbal remedy for centuries to detox the liver, combat constipation and as a preventive medicine. Milk thistle benefits the skin because of what it does internally to the body. The main ingredient in milk thistle is silymarin, a flavonoid containing 4 isomers; ilybinin, silychristin, silydianin and isosilybinin. These ingredients help to regulate the liver, detoxifying it and strengthening it against new toxins.

Healthy Liver Means Healthy Skin

When the liver functions properly due to milk thistle, it cleanses the blood, and as a result, the skin gains a healthy glow. With a stagnant or blocked liver, skin problems such as acne, eczema, dry skin and psoriasis can result. Milk thistle is also a demulcent. A demulcent is an agent that works as an oil or lubricant on the mucous membranes. Milk thistle soothes and moistens the mucous membranes of the liver, kidney and bladder, which relieves irritation and inflammation. Milk thistle's demulcent qualities also work to moisten and soften the skin, while combating various skin complications. Patients who use milk thistle also notice reduced redness and inflammation of the skin.

Dangers of Milk Thistle

Side effects of using milk thistle can include headache, skin reactions, impotence, nausea, bowel changes, insomnia, diarrhoea and anaphlaxis. A doctor should be consulted before using milk thistle for skin treatment or the treatment of liver function. Diabetics may not be able to use milk thistle because of its demulcent properties, because a demulcent is sugar based. The use of milk thistle is not FDA approved and should be used with caution.

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