How To Care For Your Body’s Largest Organ – Your Skin
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. Let that soak in for a moment.
Now imagine if you don’t care for your skin throughout your life. Not a pretty picture.
Don’t wait for your skin to show signs of “wear” before you commit to its care. Age-related changes in our skin means as we age we are at an increased risk of the skin breaking down. Because of this, we need to support and maintain good skin health, both on the outside and from the inside.
Aging skin has unique issues
Caring for skin as you age is even more important because the older you are the more susceptible your skin becomes to infection and skin disease. Because skin becomes thinner, drier and less supple it is more easily injured and slower to heal. This leads to seniors contracting skin issues including: mild dryness, itching, scaling and graver conditions such as skin ulcers, infections and even non-healing wounds.
Caring for your skin before you get to this stage in life will help your skin age more healthfully. Start today with a healthier diet, more exercise and supplements to help you achieve well-balanced body, mind and skin routine.
The importance of skin care
Our skin is the key barrier to the outside world and if it breaks down it has a detrimental impact on our quality of life. It’s estimated close to 70% of all older Americans suffer skin problems, many of which are preventable.
Healthy skin is important for your appearance and self-esteem, and more importantly your skin performs various essential functions for your body.
What does your skin do?
1. Protects your body from bacteria, microbes and viruses
2. Shields you from the harmful effects of the UVA and UVB rays of the sun
3. Produces Vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Vitamin D is vital for healthy bodily functions. Vitamin D promotes the body’s ability to absorb calcium. You can get enough Vitamin D in a fifteen-minute bout of exposure, but it is important that you use supplements to increase your body’s Vitamin D ranges and that you take calcium supplements to add to what you get from your diet.
4. Regulates your body’s temperature. When you perspire, and body temperature rises the sweat glands kick into action and cool your body as the sweat evaporates off it.
5. It’s the protective covering of your body – that’s the bottom line. Your skin is the barrier for germs and prevents them from invading your body and damaging the internal organs it protects.
6. It plays a vital role in the sense of touch and in maintaining your body’s immune system. In conjunction with your nervous system the skin alerts the body and helps it react to changes in the environment by feeling pressure or pain.
All about your skin
Your skin consists of three layers of tissue:
1. The epidermis
2. The dermis
3. The subcutaneous layer
The epidermis is the paper-thin outer layer. It is made up of dead cells that flake off or wash off. The dead cells are replaced by new cells being manufactured in the lower portion of the epidermis. The new cells move up to replace dead, flaking cells. This cell cycling and replacement takes about twenty eight days.
It is the epidermal layer that contains the pigment that gives skin its colors. The color of your skin is determined by the amount of melanin in your cells – more melanin, darker skin; less melanin, lighter skin.
The skin’s dermis makes up about 90 percent of the skin’s thickness; it is the middle layer and contains:
1. Blood vessels
2. Hair follicles
3. Oil glands
5. Sweat glands
The dermis also contains collagen and elastic fibers that give your skin its elasticity and strength.
The subcutaneous, or the deepest layer, of your skin is comprised of fatty tissue, blood vessels and nerves. The fat in your body insulates it from extreme heat and cold and cushions your body from injury.
What can you do to have healthier skin through lifestyle choices?
Your skin is the window into your health. When you’re ill you notice your skin is dull and dry. When you’re happy, your skin typically looks radiant. When you’re experiencing stress, your skin may break out in acne.
A positive lifestyle and positive behavior, diet and supplements keep skin healthy and looking younger.
What lifestyle choices can you make to positively impact your skin?
These simply lifestyle changes or enhancements help you have healthier skin and maintain a more youthful appearance. Healthy skin and healthy skin care benefit overall health and well-being.
Here are a few:
1. Exfoliate to remove dead skin cells
2. Perform facial muscle exercises to tighten the skin
3. Exercise daily for a toned body
4. Get eight hours of sleep a night
5. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day
6. Avoid sudden and rapid weight loss
7. Use nutrients to support your skin health – from the inside out. Green tea extract, astaxanthin, tocotrienols, polyphenol reach whole food powders, omega 3, vitamin C and vitamin D3 are the most important.
What are some other simple steps you can take to make your body’s largest organ healthier?
Here are a few:
1. Skin protection. Wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15. Shield your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, especially between 10 am and 4 pm when the rays are strongest. Again, make sure the sun screen is chemical free. Don protective clothing if you’re going to be working out of doors; many clothing manufacturers provide sun protective clothing. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and eyes.
2. Stop smoking. Smoking contributes to wrinkles and makes you look older. Smoking narrows the tiny blood vessels in the outermost skin layers and that decreases blood flow and depletes the skin of oxygen and nutrients. Smoking damages your skin’s collagen and elastin. When you smoke, the repetitive facial motion of pursing your lips when inhaling leads to wrinkles.
3. Use gentle cleansers and moisturizers. Use soaps and skin care products that don’t contain chemicals such as parabens, Take shorter showers and baths; hot water removes the body’s natural oils. Lubricate your skin before you shave; use a clean, sharp razor to protect your skin’s outer layer. Pat skin dry to help keep moisture on your skin. Slather on moisturizer while your skin is still damp.
4. Diet matters. No matter how well you take care of your skin, if you’re eating sugar, processed and fatty foods and not eating fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats and fish oil and fish oil supplements your skin will pay the price. Move away from processed foods and toward fresh fruits and veggies and toward drinking plenty of water. Your skin will look more radiant and your internal organs will benefit. A healthy diet also helps eliminate inflammation – a bane to our overall health and wellness.
5. Stress management. Stress triggers acne and other skin problems. Encourage healthier skin and a healthier, calmer state of mind by getting enough sleep, managing emotional triggers and by doing more of what you love.
Don’t wait until you notice an issue with your skin before you begin caring for it. Skin care should be part of your daily and ongoing routine as should eating a healthy diet and taking supplements to care for your skin and internal organs.