The Skin You’re In

Our skin is one of nature’s true wonders! The skin is the largest organ of the body and on average covers an area of around 2 square metres. The skin helps to control body temperature, it is waterproof and protects us from the harmful effects of disease, ultra violet rays from the sun and substances such as poisons.

One of life’s inevitabilities is that we will age and unfortunately, as well as the rest of the body, our skin is often one of the areas that shows the visible signs of this aging process. The general population, traditionally women, have spent millions looking for the secret of eternal youth. In recent times the trend has been for the men to join their female counterparts in trying to look young for longer. In addition to all the lotions and potions used by people every day there is a number of natural ingredients that can play a great role in supporting the never ending battle against the ageing process.

The collagen that is present in the skin is responsible for the cohesion and resistance to damage of this tissue, effectively cushioning the skin and making it both firmer and more elastic. Collagen fibres provide the bulk of the tissues found in the dermis (70%) and accounts for 90% of the dermal volume. Unfortunately, collagen production by the human body decreases from the age of 25 years at a rate of approximately 1.5% per annum and it is this lack of effective production coupled with the natural degradation that explains the appearance of wrinkles, dryness and thinning of the skin. Smoking decreases the rate your body produces collagen so you can help your skin by giving up.

Vitamin E provides important protection against the damaging effects of free radicals which ultimately damage the skin as well as other organs. Vitamin E works by scavenging the free radicals before they attack cells and by concentrating in the cell membranes to protect the membranes against attack. Vitamin E can also prevent thick scar formation and accelerate the healing of burns (including sunburn) when used both internally and externally. Used externally on stretch marks and eczema/psoriasis it can also be effective at promoting the healing process. It is a great skin moisturizer and can be applied to the lips as well as sensitive skin areas such as those around the eyes. The oil can also be added to bath water to provide a moisturising and relaxing bath.

Essential fatty acids are essential to the health of the skin. Every cell of the body is wrapped in a membrane, which consists mainly of substances that are derived from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and the skin is certainly no exception to this. The health and efficiency of each cell relies heavily on the health of these membranes. Deficiencies in essential fatty acids have long been known to cause conditions such as eczema and this has led to people using combinations of omega-3 rich fish oil and flaxseed oil with omega-6 rich Evening Primrose Oil and Starflower Oil. A relative newcomer in the nutritional oils for skin health arena is Sea Buckthorn Oil which in addition to containing both omega-3 and 6 also contains omega-7, a fantastic fatty acid for soothing dry mucous membranes such as those of the eyes.

Witch Hazel can reduce the inflammation on a pimple with some people claiming that daily use can be beneficial with troublesome acne. It is also helpful dabbed onto bites with the anti-itch and anti-inflammatory properties it possesses. It can tighten up the skin and reduce the baggy appearance of the skin beneath the eyes. Dabbing Witch Hazel onto a bruise three times per day can help speed up the healing time of bruises. It is said that Witch Hazel can lock moisture into the skin. This seems to be particularly useful straight after showering.

Drinking alcohol can leave your skin feeling dehydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps avoid your skin drying out. You should consider having a non-alcoholic drink in-between alcoholic drinks on a night out.

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring bio-chemical constituent found in the body and helps to maintain the elasticity and fluidity needed for good joint mobility by stimulating the uptake of water and nutrients into the cartilage.

As we age, skin moisture can drop significantly, which makes the skin lose elasticity and expose the signs of aging on the skin. Hyaluronic acid does not only keep joint tissues lubricated but also encourages water retention in other body tissues, notably the skin and eyes. It has been said that hyaluronic acid has a unique ability to hold moisture in the skin and other tissues at a rate of approximately one litre per gram of hyaluronic acid. Many cosmetic products are now utilizing the ability of hyaluronic acid to bind to water in order to help “plump up” the skin.

Not getting enough sleep can have a negative impact on you and your skin. Sleep deprivation can leave your skin looking older and tired. Make sure you get enough sleep to keep your skin looking healthy. One major reason people don’t get enough sleep is because of stress, which can leave you looking tired and feeling run-down and irritable. Consider taking up an activity, such as swimming running, or yoga. Exercise is a great way of reducing stress and can help you look and feel better.

Your skin is a wonderful thing. Do your best to help look after it.

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