Skin is our biggest organ, our first line of protection from the potential harm.  Sometimes skin gives us trouble in the form of dryness, blemishes, irritation, or discoloration.  Sometimes skin trouble is caused by a contact reaction with something external, an extreme example would be a reaction to poison ivy.  But often these symptoms are what my pathology teacher used to call “postcards from your body,” a communication to us that something funky is going on internally.  Here are some ideas for cleaning your skin from the inside:

Sweat it out:  Skin is not only our biggest organ, it’s also an important organ of detoxification.  Our body disposes of some trash through sweat, such as metabolic waste and leftover medication bits.  Sweat also contains antimicrobial elements, so it really is cleaning the surface of your skin.  Sweat is acidic, so after a good sweat make sure you rinse off with water or you may experience irritation.  My two favorite ways to sweat are exercising or a trip to the sauna.  You have over 3 million sweat glands, so put them to work!

Snack on bacteria:  Surprise!  You’ve got bacteria living all over your body, both inside and out.  Don’t be scared, they are part of a delicate ecosystem that’s integral to our health.  To keep this ecosystem healthy, you can eat probiotics found naturally in fermented foods.  Yogurt, kefir, kombucha tea, kimchi, and sauerkraut are examples of probiotic-containing foods.

For a really dramatic introduction to the bacteria that lives within us, watch this Microwarriors trailer.

If you live in Seattle and you need a good sauna, check out Banya 5 in South Lake Union.