What is lymphatic drainage?
The lymphatic system is made up of a complex network of tissues and organs, including the lymph nodes. This vital system works tirelessly to fight infections by circulating white blood cells throughout your body; it also works as a filtration system, eliminating certain toxins and harmful substances from your body (including cancer cells). The process of circulating lymph fluid and removing these substances from the body is known as lymphatic drainage.
Benefits of lymphatic drainage for skin
Lymphatic drainage is important for many reasons: A healthy lymph system means a stronger line of defense against infections, and a reduced risk of breast cancer. Lymphatic drainage also plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of your skin. Here’s how lymphatic drainage affects skin health:
Fighting acne and skin infections
By circulating white blood cells throughout your body, the lymphatic system helps to defend the entire body, including the skin, from infections. A healthier lymphatic drainage system should result in a lower count of harmful bacteria within the body, which translates to a reduced risk of acne breakouts and skin infections.
By filtering potentially harmful substances out of the body, the lymphatic system helps to keep your skin safe from internal damage. In particular, lymphatic drainage helps to rid your skin tissue of free radicals, electric charges that can contribute to skin damage over time. You might not be aware of it, but your lymphatic system is constantly working to keep your skin healthy and youthful!
How to promote lymphatic drainage
Lymphatic massage, popular in France for years, has suddenly become all the rage in skincare. While spas make ambitious claims about the benefits of lymphatic massages, there’s no conclusive evidence to support the idea that your lymphatic drainage system needs mechanical stimulation, unless you suffer from lymphedema.
Instead of shelling out for an expensive massage, we recommend that you try following these suggestions for promoting a healthy lymphatic system:
1. Eat a balanced diet: First and foremost, it’s important to fuel your lymphatic system with the proper nutrients–including plenty of plant proteins, fruits and vegetables, and seafood. Some excellent foods for lymphatic health include citrus, seeds (such as sunflower, hemp, chia, and pumpkin), herbs and spices (such as turmeric and ginger), and seaweed. Steer clear of sugary drinks and snacks, which put extra pressure on the lymphatic system, and remember to stay hydrated.
2. Ditch underwire bras: Underwire bras constrict your lymph nodes, making it more difficult for them to function properly. By switching to bras without underwire, or bralettes–or just remembering to take your bra off once you get home for the day–you can make sure that there are no obstacles in the way of your body’s lymphatic system.
3. Exercise: Your body relies upon the natural movement of your muscles in order to circulate and drain lymph fluid. Making sure that you get the right amount of exercise each day can keep your lymphatic system healthy and regulated.
4. Sweat: Your lymphatic system drains toxins through your sweat, so it’s important to work up a healthy sweat at least once a day. Hit the gym or the sauna, and make sure you steer clear of antiperspirant deodorants–which block up the pores in your skin, preventing your body from releasing sweat.
Camille Bond is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has interned in the film industry and the publishing industry, as well as for a political campaign. When it comes to the world of beauty and wellness, she loves researching natural skincare brands, concocting DIY recipes, and discovering new mediation techniques!