Our skin’s functions are too many to go through here in detail, however it protects our ‘insides’ from the external environment, acting both as a barrier and a filter between ‘outside’ and ‘inside’ our bodies.
The skin helps in regulating our body’s temperature, like when we have a fever or we’re physically working hard, we tend to sweat, which is the body’s way to lower the temperature.
The skin also protects us from harmful substances entering our body, and it eliminates many toxins introduced through ingestion or even via the skin itself. This takes workload off our Liver and Kidneys to filter out by-products from our body’s metabolism. The skin also breathes and plays a major role in our immune system!
These are just some of the important functions of our skin and as you can see, looking after your skin is vital, not just for your outer beauty, but for maintaining your inner health and well being.
Now there is skin care and there is skin care...
Boy! Is this term over used or what? Skin care this and skin care that. Every day we hear about some new ingredient and how it will make your skin look 20 years younger in seconds.....
Well, we all (hopefully) wash our body (skin) every day and we may even rub some expensive cream on our bodies, and that is pretty much that, thinking it will be good for our skin. Women (most) go one step further when they make-up their face. Often using a cleanser and then a moisturiser before applying make-up. But is that really skin care?
I think not. I would consider it an assault on the skin rather than caring for it. You see, most of the products marketed to women are full of artificial colours, synthetic fragrances, stabilisers, emulsifiers and other chemical compounds, which are supposed to help in achieving a ‘beautiful complexion’, but actually do nothing of the sort.
Some products are advertising hormones, which are supposed to make your skin re-gain that youthful (no wrinkles) look – but more often than not these ‘hormones’ are artificial or synthetic and may well cause problems with the hormonal balance of the body. This is NOT Skin care – this is plain old manipulation and marketing, based on our vanity.
Real skin care is much more than that and is more than just skin deep. Your skin is a living, breathing organ of your body. As such, just like every other organ in our body, it needs to be fed from the inside – it requires nutrients.
There are 4 basic ingredients to feeding the inside:
Good nutrition: keep it simple, fresh and unprocessed. That is the best nutritional advice I can give. The simpler the food, the less processing and the fresher your food is, the better it is for you. Fresh fruit and vegetables contain so many of the nutrients we need to maintain our health. Sure have the odd processed, high in fat meal when you’re enjoying a meal out or have to attend a Luncheon or what ever. But make sure you have more natural foods than not. Keep the diet varied – don’t eat the same old, same old… risk a new veggie – one you haven’t tried before – you might like it …
Adequate rest and relaxation: don’t work yourself to an early grave – it’s not worth it. Make sure you get the sleep you need. Did you know that a study in England showed that your IQ (intelligence) drops if you do not have 8 hours sleep per night? Think about it, do you get more work done if you feel well rested? Can you concentrate better if you’re not tired? – I bet you can.
Well, why not invest some additional time into rest and relaxation so that you gain an increase in energy and concentration? I’m sure you will find you will get more work done in less time if you’ve had sufficient rest.
Sufficient water intake: that’s a big one. Most people (irrespective of were they live) will utilise around 3 litres of water per day – hey, don’t believe me, all the medical texts say so. Our body simply needs water to function. Water is necessary to keep cells from dehydrating, to help in eliminating toxins from the body - you know, if your urine is dark and smelly that you have to drink more water, right? Well, that is just one sign of not drinking enough water and many more are not as obvious until it is too late.
If you do not drink at least 3 litres of water per day, every day, your body will either not function well (on some level) or it will take it from where ever it can. That is called dehydration. You know, dark urine, dry lips, dry flaky skin, parched mouth, cracks on you tongue, premature wrinkles… the list goes on. So, drink up (water, mind you) or shrivel up – it’s up to you.
Fresh air and sunshine: well, what can I say. Taking a deep breath of air and tell me it doesn’t feel great… Well? Oxygen is the stuff of life. Fill your lungs with it. Here I could go into how most of us do not know how to breath properly, but I have already written about it in a previous article.
So what does all this have to do with skin care?
Well, that is the point of putting expensive, beauty products on your skin, when you do not give it the stuff of life from the inside? The cells that make up your skin need the right nutrients for proper development, growth and all that… You can help your skin by using good quality skin care products, but you have to support this from the inside as well. Only in that way can you expect to get good results from proper skin care.
So what’s proper skin care?
Well, for starters there are 3 basic steps.
1. Cleanse and Condition
2. Hydrate and Tone
3. Moisturise and Revive.
OK. Cleansing the skin seems obvious and I know, you do know how to use soap – wrong, this is one sure way to make your skin dry-out quicker. Most soaps remove the natural oils of the skin, change the natural pH levels and do nothing to remove the dead layers of skin, which can block your pores and lead to blackheads. And, oh no, not pimples! The skin produces oils and acids to help it function, to protect it from loss of excessive moisture, to form a barrier… etc. So please do not use soap or detergents unless it is necessary.
Using a loofah or a gentle ‘scrub’ will remove the dead skin cells and this in turn will promote better blood circulation and help your skin to breath.
The next step is to hydrate and tone the skin. Say what?
Well, you’ve just removed the dead skin layers, rubbing the skin with a loofah and or a specially formulated cleanser, now it’s time to remove the residue, sooth the skin and prepare the skin for getting a good feed of nutrients from the moisturiser.
Preparation of the skin prior to putting on the moisturiser is not dissimilar to preparing a surface about to receive a new coat of paint. You wouldn’t just paint over a wall that hasn’t been cleaned and prepared for the new paint, would you? It would be a waist of time and money… well, good skin care is the same. You first get rid of the old layer of paint, than you give it a primer and finally the top-coat.
Ah, I already use a moisturiser...
Great, at least that’s a step in the right direction. But, have you looked at the ingredients? Are they natural, or are there numbers and words you don’t recognise on the label? If so, then consider that your body absorbs these substances and if they are not useful, (preferably of a natural kind) then the body has to eliminate them - and that’s more work and not necessary.
In some cases, the body actually can’t eliminate these substances and has to store them. This is a potential problem and could cause health issues down the track. Pure essential oils, or herbal extracts are usually good ingredients to have in your skin care products.
So there you have it - the importance of good skin care. These steps, if you follow them, will help you to achieve the results you want and your body will thank you too.