Everyone has skin, it’s considered our largest organ. Just like you want to nourish organs such as the liver and heart, we also want to take measures to nourish our skin.
Some of the best ways to take care of your skin include:
- Getting Adequate Sun Exposure: There’s a Goldilocks principle for the amount of sun we should expose ourselves to daily (not too much, not too little). If we get too much, our skin can burn, which is dangerous and damaging to the tissue. If we get too little, we risk a Vitamin D deficiency1 (7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin absorbs UV B radiation from sunlight and is converted to previtamin D3 which in turn isomerizes into vitamin D3 in the liver and kidneys). You can use an app called DMinder to track your Vitamin D conversion and to also see what is the best time (based on your location) to go outside for optimal Vitamin D synthesis (this would be “solar noon”). Vitamin D deficiency2 can lead to everything from skin conditions such as psoriasis, to mental health conditions such as depression, and even physical symptoms of fatigue and bone pain.
- A Proper Skincare Routine: It’s important to use products on your skin that contain organic ingredients so to minimize self-induced toxin exposure. We are bombarded with toxins everyday in our air and food, but what we choose to put on our skin is completely in our control. We also need to avoid ingredients that are spoiled or oxidized (these will hasten ageing of the skin), for example: commonly oxidized oils to be weary of include safflower, sunflower, and sweet almond oils.
- Physical Touch: This is a major way to increase lymphatic drainage and therefore remove (and prevent the buildup of) toxic waste from our bodies. Physically moving and massaging your skin regularly will help move the lymph and increase detoxification of our tissues. One way to do this is to dry brush yourself every morning, this will also help stimulate the senses and wake your body up!
Three Important Functions of the skin:
- Acts as a Barrier- We have many natural defense mechanisms built into this beautiful human body of ours. The very first of these defenses that a pathogen must get through to infect us is our skin. Our skin also protects us from the elements of nature such as changes in temperate and pressure, as well as protects our vital organs from blunt impact.
- Excretion of Waste- The skin is a major detox organ; through sweating we can remove harmful substances such as chemicals and toxins from the body. This is why doing activities such as infrared sauna and going for a run (hopefully outside at solar noon for that Vitamin D!) can be so beneficial for our health. This is also why antiperspirants that contain aluminum are so harmful, they work by clogging the sweat glands and blocking perspiration (therefore putting a halt to detoxification through the extensive lymph network in our armpits).
- Absorption of Nutrients- As a selective permeable membrane, the skin can absorb certain nutrients such as fat-soluble vitamins and even some minerals such as magnesium. This is important because if your skincare has high quality (unadulterated and fresh) oils, these fatty oils generally contain fat-soluble vitamins which nourish the skin from the outside-in (for example, rosehip seed CO2 extract which Treat Yourself uses in many of our skincare formulas has high amounts of Vitamin A and E).
One important factor to note that helps the skin do its job is the pH of the sebum. The pH of the epidermis should be around 5.5, this slightly acidic nature of the outer part of our epidermis (the acid mantle) stabilizes its function3 as a barrier, locks in hydration, and wards off pathogens. This is one reason that you don’t want to use super sudsy soap all over your body, the high alkalinity of the soap will disrupt4 the acidic nature of the skin’s sebum which will in turn cause dryness along with other issues (the SLS in soapy products is also a major issue, which we discuss in our Top 5 Nasties to Avoid in Personal Care Products blog post.
Men are often underrepresented in the skincare industry, but we believe that everyone should be empowered to take good care of their precious skin! We hope that this blog was informative and left you with useful knowledge on the importance of good skin health for ALL people, as well as actionable tips to care for your skin that you can easily implement into your daily life.
About the Author
Ariel Welch is a passionate herbalist and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. She studied at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she received her BS in Neuroscience and BA in Psychology, then at the Nutritional Therapy Association where she became a certified NTP. Through her own wellness journey, she has found power in using food as medicine as well as the magic of plants and nature. She works to educate and empower people to take charge of their health and heal themselves using holistic lifestyle interventions.