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Apply to affected area as needed
Best used sparingly or as directed by your health care practitioner
- Relieves dry skin
- Fights abuse from the elements
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Articles by a naturopathic doctor.
The skin is the largest organ in the body. Its function is to act as a barrier to the external environment, allow the exchange of water and to modify vitamins. Dry skin can be simple or complex.
Simple dry skin occurs when the skin is deficient in natural oils and fails to hold water in skin cells. Oil normally lubricates the skin and acts as a barrier to avoid excessive evaporation of water from the upper layers of the dermis.
Simple dry skin usually occurs in women under the age of 35. Complex dry skin lacks both oil and moisture. The protein components of the skin may be damaged from prolonged UV exposure. Complex dry skin tends to develop brown spots, fine lines and enlarged pores. Complex dry skin usually affects older adults and is associated with aging.
Dry skin appears dull, scaly, flaky, chapped or cracked, and develops fine lines and wrinkles more readily than healthy skin. It may feel tight after washing and be relieved when moisturizer is applied. It most commonly occurs on areas of the body that are exposed to the elements. It can be caused by nutrient deficiencies, dehydration, environmental factors (like dry heat, sun or wind), chemical use, cosmetics, excessive bathing and harsh soaps.
To fight dry skin topically, avoid chlorinated tap water for drinking and bathing. Stay out of the sun. Use gloves while handling any substance that irritates the skin. Avoid perfumes and colourings in laundry and personal hygiene products. Use glycerin and natural soaps to wash your body, face and hair. Take oatmeal baths to relieve itching.
Calendula or vitamin E cream or ointment or aloe vera gel can be used to nourish the skin. Steam the skin with herbs such as chamomile, lavender or peppermint.
Dietary change is important for nourishing the skin. Water. Water. Water. Eat foods high in zinc such as whole grains, sunflower seeds and raw nuts.
Eat lots of fruit, especially mango and apricot, for its water content and alpha-hydroxy acids. Sulphur rich foods like garlic, onions, eggs and asparagus, provide raw material for building skin proteins.
Essential fatty acids are a source of the good fats for the skin. Use cold pressed oils like flax, olive, sunflower and safflower. Avoid hydrogenated fats, fried foods, soft drinks, sugar, chocolate, junk foods, cigarettes and alcohol. Ask your health professional if the prescription medication you are taking is contributing to your dry skin.
The skin is the largest organ in the body. It has several important functions. It acts as a barrier to the external environment including harmful microbes, chemicals and radiation. It allows the exchange of water and some nutrients. It can eliminate toxins, minerals and other substances that have built up inside the body.
It modifies vitamins, like vitamin D, into more active forms. It helps to regulate body temperature. It is a monitor as to the health of our internal environment because the skin is one of the last organs to be nourished. Signs of deficiency often show in the skin before other areas of the body have been affected.
Healthy skin also impacts on our mental and emotional well-being because skin is one of the first things we notice when we see someone. Skin can be used to judge a person's age, social status and health. Billions of dollars are spent each year in the cosmetics and personal hygiene industry. A great majority of this is to make our skin look healthier and more youthful. What can we do naturally to help our skin so that it will be healthy and maintain its youthful appearance?
Skin is made up of several layers. The epidermal outer layer contains keratinized skin cells. It is the fibrous, protective shield for the body. The epidermis is firmly attached to inner layers of irregular connective tissue, the dermis. The dermis contains collagen, the structural support, and elastin, the stretchy support. Only the dermis has blood supply, nutrients reach the outer skin layers only by diffusion.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that in their bid to become more stable must bump into healthy cells and cause damage. This can cause cell death, alterations in genetic material and autoimmune reactions to damaged cells. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the major contributor of free radicals that build up in the skin.
Skin oil is produced in the sebaceous glands. Its job is to coat the skin and prevent too much water from evaporating off the skin's surface. Water keeps the skin hydrated. The connective tissue in the dermis is composed of elastin and collagen. These substances need a supply of protein and nutrients to repair damage and form new tissue when needed.
Acne is a common skin complaint is characterized by pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. It affects most of our society at some point in their life.
Nutritional deficiencies, exposure to environmental toxins, stress, genetics, hormonal imbalances and some pharmaceutical drugs can cause acne. It is rarely caused by uncleanliness.
Dermatitis means inflammation of the skin. It is a general term that describes skin that scales, flakes, thickens, and weeps, crusts and itches. The skin may also change colour. Eczema is a term used interchangeably with dermatitis. Atopic dermatitis is caused by allergies, temperature change, stress and infection. Contact dermatitis or allergic dermatitis is caused by skin contact with an irritating substance. Seborrheic dermatitis is dermatitis affecting the scalp or face.
Psoriasis is a common skin condition in which there is an increase in the production of skin layers. Thick, silvery scales surrounded by a red border characterize psoriasis patches. Triggers for psoriasis include hormonal changes, emotional stress, recurrent skin irritations, surgery, cuts, medications, poor diet, and poor digestive function and alcohol consumption.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition in which acne-like pustules form in people over the age of 30. It is caused by an increase in sebum production. The first stage involves a reddening of the skin on the cheeks and nose, and later, the forehead and chin. Acne forms and pustules are visible. Tiny blood vessels can be seen below the skin's surface. Underlying causes can be toxin accumulation, improper nutrition, insufficient stomach acid, food sensitivities, liver or gallbladder dysfunction or hypertension. Rosacea outbreaks are worsened by stress, worry, sunlight, heat and the consumption of coffee and alcohol.
Wrinkles form when the skin loses its elasticity and maintains a permanent crease. It usually happens around the eyes, cheeks and lips because these areas repetitively form facial expressions like smiling or frowning. The most important factor in the development of wrinkles is sun exposure. Damage from UVA rays, which are present all year round, can attribute to up to 90 percent of skin aging. Other factors that contribute to wrinkled skin are nutritional status, habitual facial expressions, stress, skin care, environmental pollutants, smoking and heredity.
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