Did you realize that the largest body organ is found not on the inside of you, but on the outside? I am talking about your skin. We take care of it, pamper it, nourish it, spending crazy money trying to keep it ageless. But does the care we provide ourselves with protect our skin or damage it? And what about the effects our skin care leaves on the rest of our body?
Bernadine Healy, M.D., beautifully and poetically describes skin’s gift in her article published in US News:
“Flawless skin is a thing of beauty. We coddle it, we nourish it, we try to improve it. Yet, we regularly dis it as “only” skin, misunderstood and undervalued. It’s a shame. Man has never made anything better as sensor, shield, and communicator.
Skin is the great protector. Its outer layer, the epidermis, is thinner than Saran Wrap; it is stain-resistant and waterproof. Tightly woven epidermal cells form a sturdy barrier to hold moisture in as well as keep unwanted water out. On the surface, dead, compacted, and sloughing cells add toughness, a kind of see-through coat of armor. With a cleverness the military would envy, the epidermis brims with stem cells ready to spin out reinforcements as needed…
…the dermis, suffused with collagen, brings firmness–and when collagen is broken down, wrinkles and sags. A layer of subcutaneous fat lies below, softening skin texture. Lacing through the skin are blood vessels, hair follicles, sweat and oil-producing glands, all bathed in a plasma soup of chemical messengers, hormones, and roaming white blood cells. Amid all this, abundant neural connections run to and from the brain and other organs. But finely tuned sensory nerve endings scan and process our surroundings: We caress softly the rose petal but recoil from the pain of its nearby thorns.
Indeed, the skin is a powerful interface between the mind, the body, and the external world. The emerging concept of a neuro-immuno-cutaneous-endocrine network recognizes the skin as an almost independent, untamable intelligence. Think of the blush that inadvertently reveals the mind’s secrets. The goose bumps that warn when something is amiss. Or the crawling skin that shows your fear. The skin also has a rich life as an endocrine organ, manufacturing hormones like vitamin D for the rest of the body, and steroids and thyroid hormone for its own use. Though it’s not always clear why, the skin makes many of the neurotransmitters and hormones found in the brain…
Sex hormones shape skin, too. Estrogen increases collagen and skin moisture and promotes wound healing, while testosterone stimulates oil production and facial hair. Men enjoy both hormones, since skin is able to convert testosterone to estrogen. Women, too, benefit from both, since ovaries produce a small amount of testosterone.”
Beautiful and fascinating, ins’t it?
Today I would like to talk about healthy options for skin, hair and oral care products. It is important to understand that it is not only food we eat, but also what we use for personal care that will end up in us. There are certain medications that are prescribed to be used only topically and not orally. Did you know why? Simply because it takes less time for a substance to reach the blood stream via skin than if it is taken orally. When taken orally, medications, supplements and foods first have to pass through our digestive tract and our stomach before they are distributed throughout our bodies. When used topically it takes only moments before whatever you put on ends up in your bloods stream. Just imagine the effects chemically laden products have on you the moment they penetrate your protective armor–your skin.
For my view and suggestions on what products are best used for your skin, hair and oral care, click on the 5 minute video. If you are getting this post via e-mail, click on the link and enjoy. And do let me know what you think.
Tomorrow we will discuss natural laundry care options.