Skin defines us. It’s’ our largest organ, serving as the protective covering that supports the life of all our other body parts. Even our hair and nails are skin extensions that provide additional protection.
What skin does for us
Besides being the most obvious body part that we present to the world, skin performs a number of crucial tasks:
- Prevents germs from reaching and injuring our internal organs
- Helps maintain our immune system
- Supports sweat glands that regulate body temperature
- Works with the nervous system to provide a sense of touch
- Alerts us to danger via sensitivity to pain, pressure, cold and heat
- Manufactures Vitamin D, which promotes absorption of calcium essential to bone and teeth development
- Repels water but allows the absorption of oils that prevent cells from drying out
How about hair and fingernails?
- Hair cushions us from minor blows
- It helps block the sun
- It provides warmth
- Hair can alert us to something touching us
- It helps alert us to changes in the temperature
- Helps to keep foreign objects out of those places where we don’t want them!
- Fingernails are a protective plate for our fingertip sensations
- They are “flattened claws” that make grasping things easier
How we damage our skin
Finding someone who has completely supple, soft, and flawless skin is, in truth, impossible. Living is hard on skin! Winter is cold, harsh, and drying; fast foods and an unhealthy diet affects skin; and sleep deprivation makes skin problems related to the immune system worse than normal.
Bad habits don’t help. Smoking causes wrinkles. Sun exposure dries and wrinkles skin. Stress affects how we treat our skin, such as scratching, lip biting, or picking at nails. Poor hygiene affects skin health. Taking long hot showers deprives your skin of needed oils. For women, not removing makeup before bed is terrible for pores! Even touching your skin too often, especially the face, can trigger acne and pimples.
To make it worse, many commercially prepared skin care products contain ingredients that are NOT good for your skin. In fact, some harbor potentially carcinogenic constituents. Here are just a few of those scary elements:
- Isopropyl alcohol – this is used in hand lotions, after-shave, some hair color rinses, and other cosmetics. This substance is also used in antifreeze and as a solvent in shellac!
- Mineral Oil– unfortunately, all oil sold as “baby oil” is made from mineral oil, which is derived from crude oil! Mineral oil is actually a coating that prevents the skin from breathing and absorbing moisture.
- Polyethylene glycol – this chemical is an active ingredient in de-greasing products used on machinery and in ovens. It strips moisture from the skin and is a potential carcinogen.
- Propylene glycol – this wetting agent is a major antifreeze component. The form used in personal skin care products is exactly like that used in antifreeze! This chemical, which breaks down protein and cellular structures, is found in make-up, lotions, hair products, mouthwash and toothpaste!
- Sodium Lauryl Sufate (SLS) – this skin irritant, which is used in testing laboratories, car wash soaps, and degreasers, is a major constituent in cosmetics, hair conditioners, and toothpaste, and is a large percent of your shampoo and foaming products. Studies have shown SLS “easily penetrates…the skin and…maintains residual levels in the heart, the liver, the lungs and the brain.” Potential toxicity to the body exists.
- FD & C Color Pigments – there are many pigment colors that cause skin irritation and sensitivity, and some that deplete the body’s oxygen and can cause death! Colors able to be added to foods, drugs, and cosmetics are derived from coal tar and are carcinogenic.
- Fragrance – fragrance added to a product can contain up to 4,000 synthetic ingredients! Some of them can affect the central nervous system and cause headaches, rashes, coughing, dizziness, skin irritation, and, in some cases, behavioral changes. What doesn’t have fragrance added? Think of deodorants, sunscreens, shampoo, and numerous skin and baby products.
- Chlorine– this chemical doesn’t appear in skincare products, but chlorine is found in water from your tap, in your shower and pool, in laundry products, food processing and many other items. Exposure is a bygone conclusion. Chlorine can exacerbate a wide variety of health conditions, including anemia, asthma, hay fever, diabetes, heart disease, and irritation of the mouth, nose, eye, lung, skin, and stomach.
Natural ingredients for better skin
Let’s face it—we lather, slather, rub and spray our bodies with skin care products every day. Our bodies are like sponges that absorb much of the chemicals we expose ourselves to. Even if only small amounts are applied, constant use adds up.
Considering how damaging many skincare products can be, it’s important to check the labels of products before you buy. Better yet, focus on skincare products that contain only natural ingredients that are known to be good for skin health. But don’t be fooled by the mere use of the term “natural.” Look for ingredients that you know are natural and wholesome!
Beta Carotene, found in red, orange, and yellow fruits and vegetables, is a great skin nutrient. Green tea extract has high levels of antioxidants that sooth skin. Licorice extract has anti-inflammatory properties, which is great for skin redness. Colloidal oatmeal treats skin irritation and replenishes skin. Soy helps skin look brighter and lightens discoloration due to sun damage. Vitamin C fights signs of aging and is essential for smooth, firm skin. Willow herb is an anti-irritant that soothes conditions such as eczema and rosacea. It also kills the bacteria responsible for acne. Witch hazel is an old-time remedy that makes an excellent ingredient in skin-toners and moisturizers.
Fight wrinkles from the inside out with collagen hydrolysate
Collagen hydrolysate supplies three amino acids found in our skin – proline, hydroxyproline and glycine. Although the reports of firmer skin are mainly anecdotal, the collagen supplies a great source of easily digestible protein. It is a best selling product within our Garland Chiropractic clinic, primarily because it has helped so many people with joint pain issues. When taken at night, it can also help people achieve a more restful night of sleep. The recommended dosage is one rounded tablespoon both morning and night. You can buy collagen through our office or online here.
Last—but certainly not least!—use natural moisturizing lotions to pamper your skin into health. The best way to assure the ingredients are really natural is to make your own. Here are some easy but effective recipes:
- Moisturizing honey masks –
1) Spread a generous scoop of honey over your face. Rub it in and let it sit from 5 to 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
2) Combine 1 tablespoon of buttermilk with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 egg yolk. Rub it on your face and let it sit for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
- Honey skin lotion – Mix a spoonful of honey with a teaspoon of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Apply to dry skin areas and let it sit for 20 minutes. Clean off with a warm washcloth.
- Coffee scrub – to smooth dry, rough patches of skin, combine 2 cups of coffee grounds, 1/2 cup raw sugar or sea salt, and 2/3 tablespoon of massage oil in a small bowl. For a nice scent, add cinnamon or vanilla extract. Apply to wet skin in a circular motion. Rinse.
- Sweet citrusy lip balm – Melt 3 tablespoons of cocoa butter in the microwave, then add 3 or 4 organic chocolate chips and stir until melted. Add 1 teaspoon of vitamin E oil and 1/4 teaspoon of orange extract. Mix well and place in a small container.
- Whipped coconut oil body buttler – Place 1 cup of solid coconut oil into a mixer bowl. Run the mixer on medium- high for a few minutes. The coconut oil softens as it whips, and will have the texture of whipped butter! Add lavender or peppermint essential oil for scent. Store it in a jar and use like any body lotion.
Dr. Mixon and the our team of health professionals believe in a holistic approach to help you achieve the good health you want for an active, full life. If you would like to learn more about our chiropractic services, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy or our nutritional products, please give us a call at (972) 840-2520.