Acne, Rosacea and Skin Inflammation: The Power of the Lymphatic System

There are a number of causes for skin conditions like acne, rosacea and skin inflammation, including hormonal imbalances, poor dietary choices and digestive issues, nervous system imbalances, sluggish detoxification… the list goes on.

When treating these conditions externally, it’s vital that we choose a very minimalist skin care routine. We always want to avoid aggravating or disrupting the skin’s natural processes.

Externally, we also want to work with the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is the drainage system of the body and is a large part of our immune system. 70% of our immune is located in the gut through the lymphatic system and another part of our immune system is located in the lymphatic system in the skin.

The lymphatic system has a clear fluid that runs through it. Just like our blood circulatory system that has blood pumping around it all the time, the lymphatic system has a clear fluid that runs through the body. The only thing is that our heart pumps the circulatory system so that blood is always flowing around the body, but the lymphatic system has no pump. In order for our lymphatic system to work, which is the detoxification system of the body, we actually have to stimulate it.

There is only two ways to stimulate the lymphatic system:

  • Movement
  • Deep belly breathing, which moves the diaphragm.

When our lymphatic system is not being stimulated, the lymphatic system becomes stagnant and the fluid just sits there without flowing. You can think of this fluid as a murky pond versus a running river. If you’re stuck out in the wilderness for example, and you see a waterfall, we know that a waterfall is usually safe to drink from because running water stays relatively clean. Where as if you saw a murky pond, where the water is stagnant, we know that bacteria grows and harvests in there, so you would never want to drink pond water. Your lymphatic system works in this same way. When you exercise and move your body, stimulating your lymphatic system, that fluid is moving all the way through your body and through your skin, delivering white blood cells to where they are needed, and it’s also picking up bad bacteria along the way.

The lymphatic fluid, when flowing, comes up through the neck and into the face, and then back down the neck towards the heart where it turns back into blood and then gets cleansed. If your lymphatic system isn’t flowing because of lack movement or because you’re shallow breathing, then that fluid, just like the murky pond, becomes stagnant. Because it’s not moving, any bacteria that it has picked up along the way is going to sit and become stagnant. Because that fluid and bacteria is not moving, it is going to start harvesting, reproducing, and growing until it eventually gets to a point where, because the lymphatic system is not properly flowing to get rid of the bacteria, the body has no other option but to start pushing that bacteria through the skin. That is why skin conditions, like acne, rosacea, eczema or any other type of skin inflammation often occur.

The only way to really heal skin conditions is to get the body’s main detoxification system working properly. When we see skin conditions, because they are connected to the lymphatic system, that is your body’s way of saying, “Hey, my main detoxification system in your body is not working properly right now, and it is completely backed up, so I am sorry but I have no other option but to start pushing this bacteria through the skin in attempt to protect you and in order to get rid of it.” If your body didn’t attempt to push that bacteria through the skin as a way of getting rid of it, that bacteria would stay in your body. So, while skin conditions are really frustrating, and they mess with our self esteem because they are what everybody else sees, we have to try to look at it from a different perspective. We have to try to be grateful for these symptoms, if we can, because it is our body’s way of protecting us. It’s the body’s way of trying to communicate with us to get our attention and let us know that we need to work on our body’s main detoxification mechanisms.

We need to get the lymphatic system moving, which like I said, occurs only in two ways. The first being movement, like exercise. Walking is one of the best options for the lymphatic system, as well as jumping on a trampoline because it gets everything really moving and flowing. This is why exercise is so vital for our health and our immune system.

Movement also includes massage, which is why self massage that includes lymphatic drainage, can work so well in order to help clear the skin.

One-third of our lymph nodes in the body are located between the lower part of the ear and the collar bone, along the sides of the neck and jaw line. What happens is when there is congestion in this area from the lymphatic fluid not moving properly, those lymph nodes become plugged and blocked up. You can imagine this like a bath tub drain. When you’re in the bath tub and the tub is full of water with the plug in, the fluid in the bath tub has no where to go, it stays in the bath tub. This is what happens in the lymphatic system in the chest and neck, especially just above the collar bone, is that if there is congestion there, and those lymph nodes are backed up and clogged, then the fluid and bacteria stay in the face and the neck just like that bath tub. As soon as you pull the drain the bath tub, the fluid flows. As soon as you activate the lymph nodes along the jaw line, neck and in the chest, the fluid suddenly flows, and that fluid takes the bad bacteria away from your face and skin with it, helping to reduce skin conditions.

It’s important to keep in mind that all skin conditions are caused by specific bacteria in the body, so rosacea is caused by one type of bacteria, acne is caused by another type of bacteria, and so on. So, while hormonal acne is often said to be caused by hormonal imbalances in the body, it’s actually not. Instead, what happens is that the hormones become out of balance, which then affects the cortisol levels in the body, which then weakens the immune system, which then allow the bacteria to become active. If acne was caused strictly from our hormones, then every single woman above the age of 35 would have acne because pretty much all of us in our modern world have hormonal imbalances. The thing is, is that some of us have the bacteria in the body, and some of us don’t. This is why some of us have acne, and some of us don’t. It’s the same with rosacea and eczema. It’s all caused by different bacteria in the body.

When we start getting the lymphatic system flowing, the body is able to take better care of the bacteria that is causing the skin condition that you are experiencing, so that it can get it away from the skin, and then eventually out of the body.

In order to clear skin conditions, we need to stop listening to the beauty industry that tells us that skin conditions can be cleared topically, because this isn’t true. Yes, we want to balance the skin’s pH balance, and improve the skin’s microbiome, which can be achieve through natural, very minimalist routines with the right ingredients, but in order for long-term results, we must also work the body’s detoxification system, which is why topical skin care alone will never permanently clear the skin in the long-term.

One of the best things you can do for skin conditions, aside from cleaning up your diet, calming your nervous system and finding a skin-friendly skin care routine, is massage your chest, neck and jawline using lymphatic drainage techniques to open up the pathways in the chest and the neck to be able to get the fluid flowing from the face, into the neck and chest, and back into the blood steam so that it can cleansed, moving the bacteria away from the skin.

The more consistent you are with massage, the more consistent you are going to see results, which is why I put together the Self Massage for Clear Skin Workshop. Ideally, self massage should be performed every single day.

I often have clients tell me that they don’t have time to massage their skin every single day. While I understand about lack of time, I strongly recommend that everyone ALWAYS take the time to focus on our health. Because without our full body health, what do we really have left? In my opinion, there is nothing more important than our body health. The most important thing for body health is detoxification because it is bacteria, viruses and pathogens that break the body down and cause disease and illness within the body.

I also recommend the Skin ReSet routine when treating any type of skin condition and inflammation. The skin ReSet kit is just two products that are really important for skin inflammation. It helps to balance out the pH balance in the skin, supports the skin’s natural protective barrier and acid mantle, and also helps to nourish the skin’s microbiome. To learn more about the skin’s natural functioning, I recommend reading this blog post and this one.

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About Rachel Devine

Rachel Devine is a multi award-winning holistic aesthetician and the founder and skin care formulator of R Devine Organic Skin Care.