If you find yourself suffering from acne breakouts as an adult, there are many reasons for the outbreaks. Changes in your hormonal levels, that might occur during menopause or when you begin or end taking birth control, can cause the acne, as can stress. Taking medications like corticosteroids, antiseizure medications and lithium can also lead to acne. In many cases, the toxins that build up as a result of one or more of these conditions cause your skin to break out.
This is where milk thistle can make the difference between another frustrating breakout and healthy skin. This herb has been one of the most commonly used remedies for detoxing the liver for centuries, dating back as far as 2000 years ago, when its first recorded uses included treating snake bites and mushroom poisoning. In the present day, milk thistle is one of the most popular herbs in health shops. Modern utilization of milk thistle dates back to 1949, when researchers completed animal studies that showed that milk thistle could shield the liver from the harmful effects of a variety of chemicals. In 1968, researchers were able to isolate and extract a compound called Silymarin. Since that time, milk thistle has served as the basis for more than 100 different clinical trials, primarily for liver conditions. Silymarin blocks some factors that cause liver damage, stimulating the growth of new cells in the liver to replace the ones that have been damaged. Silymarin has been proven to bring positive effects for treatment of various forms of liver disease, including fatty liver, chronic hepatitis and cirrhosis. When skin conditions such as acne come from liver malfunction, milk thistle can also pay dividends in the form of clean, healthy skin.
The connection between the skin and the liver includes keeping the bloodstream clean and maintaining positive bowel function. Keeping these two functions running smoothly keeps psoriasis and eczema (in addition to acne) from occurring in the skin. Silymarin goes further by cutting down on excess propagation of skin cells, reducing inflammation and boosting liver function significantly.
Taking milk thistle for your acne also brings benefits in other areas of your health as well. This supplement boosts fat metabolism in your liver, cutting down on the “bad” cholesterol and overall triglycerides. Milk thistle also boosts liver function by its propensity for preventing the sort of damage that toxins induce and stimulating the development of new liver cells to take the place of ones that have been damaged without stimulating the growth of malignancies. Silymarin has been proven to increase production of glutathione by more than 35 percent; levels of this chemical help the liver deal with a variety of drugs, hormones and chemicals. While milk thistle does not actually clean the liver, it does boost the creation of bile, which helps the liver eliminate fatty deposits, leading to greater weight control and detoxification. Taking milk thistle for several months leads to improvements in fat metabolism and weight loss, as well as in digesting fats. It also eases the digestive conditions that come from overeating, such as indigestion or nausea. In the holidays, when many people tend to overindulge with food and alcohol, milk thistle is among the more popular herbal remedies that people buy in health shops.
Milk thistle is sold as a liquid tincture, tablets and capsules. It comes as a whole herb, a Silymarin extract on its own or both. Quality supplements blend Silymarin extract with the whole herb seed. For those who prefer capsule form, check the label of an extract with a minimum of 80 percent Silymarin, but combining with the whole seed provides the benefits of Silydianin, Silybin and Silychristin. The general dosage for this extract, whether taken in tablet or capsule form, is between 200 and 500 mg.
If you plan to take milk thistle for acne, plan on following a regimen that lasts between two weeks and a month. If you also want to see weight loss gains, plan on taking it for as long as three months. Milk thistle can even help with hangovers, as it helps the liver process the toxins from alcohol, so take a dose before you go out, another dose before you go to bed and another dose when you wake up. Given that researchers have failed to notice any health risks associated with milk thistle, using it for an extended period of time presents no risks; rather, it presents many possible rewards in addition to smooth, clear skin.