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Protecting Your Skin: The Body’s Natural Protective Barrier

Our skin, our physical boundary, our separation between what is outside and what is inside, is a marvelous wonder.  Our skin is many layers deep and is a very efficient barrier to the outside world. When our skin if functioning optimally it helps our body to regulate temperatures and also to control moisture loss. Our skin also reacts to pain to protect us from further injury. Our skin is a defense to chemical exposures in our environments, it protects us from UV exposure, and it works to defend us from bacteria, viruses, and oxidation caused from all kinds of pollutants, but we rarely think about our skin as a very valuable and protective armor. Any thing you put on your skin should be pH balanced to match the pH of the skin, which has a pH of 7. What are you doing if anything, to support the skins natural mechanisms to function optimally? I want to share with all of you, some things you do to your skin daily, that you might not realize is causing harm to your skins ability to protect you from all kinds of daily insults. 

Our skin can become sensitive, dry, itchy and irritated when the protective barrier has been damaged. Let’s talk about ways that your largest organ and protective shield can become impaired.

1. Brush Instead of Soaping

I have been surprised to hear how so many of you use soap of various kinds on your skin. Most soaps contain lye and harsh surfactants which are both caustic on the skin. We keep a large majority of our skin is always covered and protected, so why on earth would you put soap on your entire body?!!! For the most part, the skin is self cleaning by sloughing off dead skin cells. Unless you are rolling around in mud, or sweating on every part of your body, please do NOT use any kind of soap on your skin.

I recommend dry brushing daily to invigorate the skin and the lymphatics, and also to help remove dead skin cells. Dry brushing is one of the most lovely skin care rituals you can do your maintaining healthy skin. Our faces and hands and sometime our feet are exposed and these areas need a bit of help to keep them clean. It is important to remove the pollutants from the exposed parts of our skin. Our LUSTER facial cleanser is made with the most gentle surfactant, is pH balanced, and is buffered with oils to keep your skin hydrated and protected. LUSTER can also be used in other delicate areas, but just a very small amount is needed. You would think water would be hydrating to the skin, but too much exposure to water can also wash away the natural oils the body produces to keep our skin balanced and hydrated. It doesn’t help that most municipalities add horrible chemicals like chlorine and ammonia to our water. If you can afford to install a whole house water filter (I highly recommend this), I believe you are boosting your health by miles. Our skin is absorbent like a sponge and any thing you put on your skin ends up inside your skin. The toxic molecules in city water systems actually are up taken by some of our hormone receptor sites and this can cause so many unsuspecting health problems. 

2. Stay Hydrated

Dehydration, is a big problem for our skin. It’s not easy to get enough water intake, but you can certainly see and feel the difference when you do. I recommend breaking your fast daily with a large glass of warm water with 1/2 tsp of dried ginger root. This practice gets you rehydrated quickly, and drinking ginger tea has innumerable health benefits. Dried ginger is high in oleoresins, these powerful plant nutrients are anti inflammatory, anti oxidant, anti cancer, and anti microbial. Please avoid drinking cold beverages, this practice taxes the digestive organs. Drink water through the day, adding lemon, which promotes detoxification. Often times when we drink enough water, we eat less. We can sometimes misread the body’s need for hydration over calories. 

Clear glasses with water and lemon

3. Avoid Sun Overexposure

I will write more about this in a later post, but I don’t use sunscreen on my skin. Yes, you heard it here! I always wear a hat or I avoid over exposure to the sun, but the sun is essential to our health and most people don’t get enough exposure to it.  The best way to get enough vitamin D, an essential nutrient, is by exposing your skin to sunlight, however over exposure or sun burning your skin is NOT good. If you do burn, I highly recommend our HYDRATE spray! Our LUSH moisturizer contains many oils and essential oils that have natural protection from UV damage. We use generous amounts of rose geranium hydrosol and aloe vera, both are soothing and healing to skin that has been burned.

Woman holding long feather in hands

4. The Old Standbys: Good Diet & Exercise

You are what you eat, it’s that simple. If you are avoiding carbs and sugars, you can have a healthy amount of fats in your diet, without weight gain. The skin loves healthy dietary fats! You can also supplement with omega 3 fatty acids in the form of Flax oil (keep refrigerated) or Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish or krill. These are an absolute must if you have any skin issues like rosacea or psoriasis. Sometimes high doses of these (up to 3 Tbs daily) can really turn around long standing inflamed skin issues. Other healthy oils like avocado and olive oil are also very nutritious for the skin. Add to this mix zinc, which helps to prevent acne and regulate oil glands. Zinc is required for the body to break down and absorb protein. It also helps the body to build collagen, and is a great support to the immune system. Vitamins A and C are also crucial to healthy skin. Vitamin A helps to maintain epithelial tissues, and is a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C is also highly recommended to keep the skin healthy and happy. Vitamin C is a great antioxidant and is crucial for tissue repair. I like taking Ester-C because it is highly active and is buffered with minerals that make it highly absorbable, and stays in the body longer. Vitamin C is needed to repair and rebuild collagen in skin tissue.

A sedentary life is not good or anyone. I don’t need to tell any of you that 15-20 minutes of brisk walking can do wonders for your health. Just do it!

5. Use A Humidifier

Dry conditions can really put a stressor on the skin. I have an essential oil diffuser on almost continuously at my house. You will have the added benefit of breathing the oils and the humidity that a diffuser offers.

6. Moisturize With A High Quality Lotion

Using a body lotion that is free of rancid oils, and chemical preservatives will offer a layer of hydration to your skin in times of dryness (Please stay tuned for a new addition to our offerings, we hope to have a very lovely lavender body lotion available very soon!). 

Persons Left Hand

To recap, STOP soaping your skin, eat your greens and exercise. Take a few supplements, because we don’t get everything we need from our foods, get a little sunshine daily if you can, and drink your water. Such simple practices will do wonders for the largest organ in your body. Love the skin you are in, and let your one of a kind shine!!