Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Skin You're In

How did we fall for this? Our logical brain, when presented with the facts, knows that our skin is far more important than just the way it looks. We learned it in high school biology, didn't we? That our skin is our primary detoxing organ and critical for temperature regulation of the body. That our skin is the barrier between us and infection, and absorbs compounds and passes them into the bloodstream. That our skin is our primary sensory organ - that amazing thing that interprets touch in all its forms. So how did we sink to this place where everything we see in the media is only about skin and the way it should look? Pimple free. Not shiny. Glowing. Radiant. White or tanned, depending which part of the world we live in. But obsessed with appearance and sidestepping the health aspects of skin - that wonderful thing that holds us together, literally, and protects us from all that is other.

We live in an information age where pretty much anything we want to know is out there, waiting to be found. So it's incredibly easy to find the information online that explains how Sodium Laureth Sulphate, a primary ingredient in most commercial skin care products, was proven to be carcinogenic in 1967. Its easy to find articles online that explain how petrochemical bases used for nearly all lotions and creams actually damage and dry out the skin... how many of these common, cheap ingredients actually are officailly registered by the FDA as skin irritants. How many of us who buy products containing glycerin to supposedly "soften the skin" know that it's really a petrochemical waste product and well documented to dry and damage the skin?

What is it about us - smart, savvy, educated 21st century people - that accepts this marketing spin and ignores readily available fact?

If you are conscious of your health, you need to switch off this commercial hype that focuses only on the face and the way our skin presents us to others. We need to go back to 9th Grade biology and remember that detoxing the body is what skin does, better than any other organ.

So how should we care for our skin if we're concerned for our health and not only the way we look?

Firstly, our skin will mirror what we ate for the last 3 weeks or 3 months - eat fresh, eat predominantly plant based foods, drink clean water, reduce known toxins like soft drinks, synthetic sweeteners and foods with chemical coloring and flavoring agents. If you drink coffee, drink only the best fresh organic coffee in moderation. If you drink alcohol, don't drink it with mixers other than pure soda water... and drink plenty of water afterward.

Secondly, our skin needs stimulation. Exercise to improve blood flow is number one. The fresh healthy pink cheeks post-exercise can't be bought anywhere. As Mastercard would like to say: "priceless". But you can also use a loofah or brush before or during a bath or shower to remove dead skin cells and improve circulation. Or have a massage.

Thirdly, sweat to remove toxins. Again, exercise will do it naturally but you may consider the decadent delights of a Thai Herbal Steam. Or a sauna. Remember to drink plenty of water.

And finally, keep you skin in premium condition by the sparing and regular application of oils all over... from head to toe. Your skin health is about more than that little bit of your face. Use natural, plant based oils only which will nourish the skin and allow it to breathe. Use it sparingly on damp skin before sleep and you'll be rewarded with silky, healthy, glowing skin from head to toe. If you use oils on your skin regularly and eat well, you'll be able to toss out all the expensive body creams and potions and enjoy the responsiveness of smooth, healthy, sensual skin.

It's your skin... that skin you're in. Think about it and take care of it.

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