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Skin Care

The barrier that protects from our environment

clear-skinYour body is a temple and the chemical industry doesn’t care if your skin ages prematurely, or if you get cancers from using unhealthy products. Many companies like bio oil want to make a quick buck while other products have a track record of not causing harm and healing.

The natural skin care industry does care and consequently natural skin care products are more popular.  Natural products are what people have been using for thousands of years and today they are well researched and safety tested.

Why go natural?

According to a 2007 study by the Environmental Working Group, the average North American adult takes in 168 hazardous chemicals every day. Of the 82,000 ingredients in personal care products, 10,000 of them are industrial chemicals. The skin absorbs all contact material, be it lipstick, deodorant or sunblock which then it enters the bloodstream where it may interfere with natural body chemistry to cause disease.

Understanding Your Skin

Healthy Skin requires a healthy body

The skin is the largest organ of our bodies and makes up about sixteen per cent of a person’s weight. It performs many vital roles as both a barrier to infections and a regulating influence between the outside world and the controlled environment within our bodies.

Throughout our life, the skin keeps growing and dead cells fall away to be replaced by new ones. In old age skin growth slows and the skin may become thinner and a less effective protection.

The Skin Structure
The Skin consists of three principal layers and each layer plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin:

  • The Hypodermis (also known as the Subcutis) is the bottom or deepest layer of the skin and is made up of fatty tissue that supports the two layers of skin above it and serves foremost as the energy reservoir of the skin; here nutrients are stored and it provides insulation and shock absorption.
  • The dermis is the middle layer where the blood capillaries, hair follicles, sweat and oil glands are found. As we age, oil glands become less active, causing skin to become drier and more prone to the formation of fine lines.
  • The Epidermis is the outer layer of skin that most of us are concerned with.
    It is divided into 5 layers containing:

    •  at the base, the mother cells that ensure continual regeneration of the skin through cell division (proliferation).
      Above lie the cells of the prickle cell layer (stratum spinosum).
    • Next come the granular, clear and horny layers. The horny layer consists of 15 – 20 cell layers that, together with the epidermal lipids, form the impermeable barrier or collagen* which performs two important functions:
      • Acting as a barrier to hinder the invasion of certain substances such as micro organisms, chemical irritants and allergens.
      • It minimizes transepidermal water loss and so is of great importance to the body.
      • Apart from the physical barrier protection of the skin there are specialised immune system cells  throughout the layers. Some of these cells detect invasion by foreign proteins such as bacteria or viruses and other cells have the function of destroying and removing such material.
    • The cells in younger skin are replaced about every 15 -30 days and as we age, this process takes longer.

Problems Which Affect Our Skin:

  • Exposure to the sun and pollution
    Sun exposure and pollution damage the moisture barrier which causes the skin to lose elasticity. As a result fine lines and wrinkles will form. In addition, sun exposure can cause the skin to produce melanin which initially gives us a tan, however excess melanin may lead to the formation of skin spots and cancers.
  • Age and Degeneration
    Over time the freshness of youth fades away to be replaced by a look of maturity and wisdom.. well perhaps we wish..It is so often overlooked that the health of our skin is dependant on the good health of the underlying tissues. This means that having good muscle tone so that our skin is actually a reflection of our state of health and if your muscles are weak and flabby, the only way to limit those facial wrinkles is to have surgeries which so often result in that slightly artificial look, or the smooth face with a lizard neck.
  • Topical disease like acne, rosacea and dermatitis.
  • How to care for your skin
    • Avoid over exposure to the sun – but a little sun is good as the skin absorbs vitamin D directly from the sun which is our main source of this vitamin.
    • Minimize chemical contact – many soaps and cleansers can actually damage your skin and we recommend washing with warm water followed with a cold rinse to tone the underlying muscles. (Its also very refreshing)
    • Eat well and exercise as an unhealthy body will result in unhealthy skin.
    • Relax and learn to cope with stress without getting distressed as stress causes premature aging.
  • Other Tips
    • Have regular massages and massage your own face gently but firmly every day
    • Fresh leafy green salads provide essential oils and nutrients to keep your skin healthy
    • Natural vegetable oils as used in massage that are rich in vitamin E & C are generally good as temporary skin softeners and conditioners.
    • Don’t worry about a little dirt – it washes off
  • Fat distribution in men and women
    The fat content of the subcutis is not the same in all body regions. Also men and women differ in the distribution of subcutaneous fat. An example is cellulite – it is characterized by a special arrangement of the subcutaneous fat tissue septa and predisposes to fat deposition on the hips, thighs and buttocks – which occurs mostly in women. Men on the other hand tend to store fat on the torso. See diet and lifestyle, and skin care tips.

Cover image thanks to Hegre Art.

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