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Your Skin is NICE!
Perhaps you’re a perfectionist, unhappy with your skin because it’s breaking out, or showing the signs of aging, or pigmentation. But are you aware of how hard your skin is working for you, all day, every day?
Your Skin is not just “Skin Deep”. It is the largest organ of your body, about 16% of our body weight. It has the most difficult task expected from it, that is being the front-line defence of our body protecting us from dehydration, extremes of temperature and external conditions, organisms causing disease and environmental toxins!
If not for the skin, we would have literally evaporated, cause our body is 60% water!! The skin is a natural growth medium for “friendly bacteria”. Almost 1000 varieties of bacteria thrive on our skin, reducing inflammation and healing wounds.
Your skin is also your body’s largest sensory organ, conveying the sense of touch in all its variations: temperature, pressure, pain, itch, pleasure, and physical and chemical stimuli. Our skin is an important tool for “making sense” of the world.
Skin is also a “ Mirror of our inner selves” and skin is the vital interface between your internal and external environments. It responds to both external and internal stimuli, sensing and integrating environmental cues, while simultaneously responding to and reflecting internal conditions.
The skin is such an integrated system, that it is difficult to decipher its exact role in our health and overall well being and we are just beginning to understand how the skin and skin care therapies affect internal health. Similarly, we are still unravelling how our internal systems affect our skin.
What we do know is that there is an elaborate web of interconnections, called the neuro-immuno-cutaneous-endocrine (NICE) system, which links the nervous system, immune system, cutaneous (skin), and endocrine functions, all of which are important to physical, emotional, and mental health.
For example, disruption to the gut’s microbiome can cause various skin problems, including acne, eczema, rosacea, and more. Liver inflammation, anaemia, and other conditions can cause jaundice—a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes.
Our skin also reflects our emotional state. That’s why you might blush from embarrassment, turn red with anger, go white with fear, or get chills from the national anthem.
Due to its close connection to our emotional state, it’s not surprising that our skin is profoundly affected by stress. In fact, trauma or severe stress can cause acne, hair loss, eczema or dermatitis flare-ups, herpes (oral and genital), hyperhidrosis (excess sweating), pruritus (itching), psoriasis (skin scaling and redness), rosacea (skin flushing and eruption), hives, and even warts. Stress also induces the release of cortisol, which triggers the production of enzymes that break down collagen. This begins the cascade of premature aging signs of lines, wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity.
- How well we treat our skin also affects our mental, emotional, and even physical health.
- The soothing experience of skin-skin touch is known to be a healer.
- No wonder we rarely miss our monthly facial! And rightly so because it has been shown to lower heart rate and blood pressure in addition to improving skin quality.
Dry skin is known to contribute to a wide range of chronic, age-related conditions that include heart disease and Alzheimer’s. (A pilot study by dermatologists at UC San Francisco has shown that topical moisturizers can reduce this risk factor by reducing the levels of three cytokines linked to age-related chronic diseases: interleukin-1 beta, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor, these are related to the inflammation in our body that causes chronic disorders. Among seniors (ages 58-95) who moisturized twice daily, cytokine levels fell nearly to the level of people in their 30s. The moisturizers also lowered their skin’s acidity, improved hydration, and repaired its permeability.)
Skincare and Beauty do not always go hand in hand. Skin care is essential for your holistic health and happiness, beauty is the outcome of this, as “we” wish to see it.
When you remember that your skin is always on your side, you begin to see how caring for the skin means caring for the rest of your body, as well.
Embrace yourself and #goskinpositive