You meet someone new and what is one of the first things you may notice about them? Yes, their height and weight, their hair color (if there is hair), glasses or not, but one of the impressions we make is with our skin. How old does it look? Is there acne? Bags and lines? Some of us are blessed with great skin that seems to age well despite our mistreatment of it and others extend great efforts to prolong their youthful appearance. But beyond how it looks we want to explore the skins other functions and what we can do to enhance its function as an organ. By the way, can anyone tell me how Jennifer Aniston does it? Incredible.
Am I poisoning myself?
There are over 100,000 different products on the market that you might put on your skin. The average woman uses 12 different beauty products daily to smooth, moisten, clean, and condition the skin. We use additional cosmetics, soaps, perfumes and other chemicals to enhance our image and feel better about our appearance. But how many of those products are safe? How many are toxic and contributing to a potential health risk? That is a valid and serious question. To start, I strongly suggest you visit the patient advocacy website of the Environmental Working Group, “EWG Skin Deep” and explore their list of 80,000 product reviews. They will sort through all of your soap, cosmetic, lotion, shampoo and product issues and tell you how toxic a product is, why its toxic and show safer options. If you are an expectant mother or breast feeding, then obviously this takes on even greater urgency.
The skin can often reflect imbalance coming from within the body. Our immune system is housed predominantly in the gut / intestines. Depending on the type of food and chemicals that we ingest, we can stimulate adverse reactions that cause our skin to change. Eczema and psoriasis are the result of immune system irritations. The itching of eczema is a result of allergens interacting with IgG antibodies on the surface of mast cells and macrophages under the skin. Biologic stress and emotional stress both affect our immune response and can lead to changes in our skins appearance. This is where we are able to exert control. Yes, we can alter the response with natural agents to reduce the adverse event but also engage understanding in what needs to be done to reduce the chemical or emotional stressors.
Acne is a cruel reality for many, but again there are options to reduce occurrence and create healing. We will explore the causes that are known and suggest simple ways beyond topical skin care to ease these events. We need to be aware of what is safe versus popular. Accutane was a common knee jerk reflex by many doctors for years and now that drug is no longer available due to all of the personal injury cases that resulted. Drug treatment can be a very valuable resource but we always need to respect that these powerful chemicals can hold the ability to harm as much as heal.