Did you know that the skin is our largest organ?
Skin is often totally overlooked as an organ at all, and yet, where would be be without it? Skin is all about integrity, literally holding us together. Through sensation, our skin helps us experience the world– it really endures a lot! Understanding the physiology of our skin definitely helps to take care of it.
Skin is a measure of overall health; it is impossible to have healthy skin on an unhealthy body.
It’s a healthy expression when the body puts something out through the skin. Every skin disease is the body’s best attempt to approximate health.
Our skin has a long list of jobs it does so we can do what we do. Our hard working skin is taking care of protection, regulation of temperature, production of vitamin D, sensation, absorption and excretion.
Let’s talk about how you can best support each of those functions.
- Protection: Your skin has a whole bunch of ways that it protects you from microorganisms, chemicals, physical agents such as trauma, and also, dehydration. Using something like harsh chemical hand sanitizer throws off your body’s natural abilities. The best thing you can do is gently support your skin without impinging upon it. (If you use hand sanitizer, try this natural recipe instead.)
- Regulation of temperature: Especially important during the colder months, you can make a little less work for your body by minimizing drastic swings in body temperature by dressing appropriately going outside and not keeping things too warm inside.
- Production of Vitamin D: 10 minutes a day of over head sunlight on your bare skin is all it takes for this amazing Vitamin-D-making process to happen. Living in the Northern Hemisphere it is much harder to make Vitamin D during the winter months, so it’s important to take a good high quality supplement. (Read about harnessing the power of the seasons for good health all year.)
- Sensation: It’s important to listen to sensations, if something doesn’t feel good on your skin, it probably isn’t what your body wants.
- Absorption: We are what we absorb. Think about everything you slather on your skin and clean up your body care products! Use the Environmental Working Group website to find products that are safe and non-toxic so you can feel good about what you absorb.
- Excretion: Everything your body puts out through your skin is an attempt to move something from the inside to the outside. This may look like anything from a fever or hot flashes to a rash, pimple or wort, sweat, hives, or eczema. The most important thing you can do is to let this natural mechanism work, and not suppress it. Avoid using topical steroid and zinc creams, don’t remove warts and moles when you can avoid it and let a fever run as much as is safe. To support the detox process drink plenty of water and work up a sweat on a regular basis, your body and skin will thank you!
Skin must be treated from within. A good diet of whole foods and minimal sugar goes a long way to happy, healthy skin.
The cherry on top of your self-care sundae is loving self-talk. When you look in the mirror, instead of focusing on the imperfections you see on your skin, marvel at the amazing job your skin is doing, admire it, love it, appreciate it!