It’s a common fact of life – we tend to take our health for granted until something goes wrong and we become ill.
I, for one, can certainly plead guilty to that. I was travelling through life with the belief “I’m too young to fall ill – things only start breaking down when you’re older”. Well I was proven wrong a few years ago when I fell very ill with Crohn’s Disease. That was my wake-up call, my opportunity to review the direction my life was headed, and to decide if it would be wise for me to make a few adjustments.
I was working in Finance in a job I wasn’t exactly enjoying but I just didn’t know what I could do instead – Finance was my qualification. But the longer I continued to work in an environment driven by continuous deadlines and stress, the further I saw my health decline. So I started to take charge and began researching new possibilities and trainings.
It’s been a long road but with time and patience I found myself falling into a new career – running my own business, making bath & body products. Since I’ve started my business I have watched my health improve on a daily basis. I’m not saying my challenge and new direction in life has been easy – it has been everything but. However I took the leap, prepared to live by my own personal mantra: “If you’re stressed you only have yourself to blame”. And, thus far, that gets me through each day and into the next.
When we talk about health, we usually refer to our internal health – our skeleton and our internal organs. Unless we are beset with a skin malady, we all too often take the health of our skin for granted. And yet our skin is the largest organ of our body. So does it make sense to ignore it? Should we travel through life taking our skin for granted?
Since falling ill internally, I have certainly begun to view this magnificent machine, my body, in a very different light. And one aspect that has intrigued me has been my skin... something that seems so strong and so protective.... but can it always stay strong if I fail to show it the care and attention it deserves?
Why is Our Skin so Important?
Our skin has many functions including the following:
- It gives our body shape
- It can outwardly give a warning sign for something that may be inwardly going wrong, for example, we may flush or fall pale
- It helps keep our body temperature regulated
It enables sensations such as touch, cold, pain, heat
- It protects ur delicate organs from damage by chemicals, bacteria, UV radiation, and water loss
- It produces Vitamin D through exposure to sunlight
Quite an amazing organ, isn’t it? An organ that should demand our care and attention.
So, how do we maintain a healthy skin?
I’ve pulled together a number of pointers that should help maintain and happy, healthy skin.
Get Enough Sleep – sleep is essential for our body. During sleep, the body restores its energy and rebuilds tissues and cells. This includes the tissues and cells of our skin. Some of the stress and harmful effects from daily living is being reversed while we sleep. If we do not get a proper night’s sleep (of approximately 8 hours) we are depriving our skin of the opportunities for self-renewal.
Eat Healthily – if your diet is unbalanced or heavy in unhealthy foods your skin could end up paying the price. A diet low in anti-oxidants may lead to your skin being less efficient at fighting free radicals caused by sun damage which can lead to wrinkles, dullness and premature aging. If you’re not eating enough of the right fats your skin may not be getting enough moisture which can leave it dry, flaky and sensitive. A diet high in refined carbohydrates can cause your body’s insulin levels to spike setting off a chain reaction which can ultimately lead to acne. Embarking on fad diets can seriously damage your skin. For example, low-carb diet plans can lead to loss of bone density in your face which causes your skin to sag and look older. Vegan and vegetarian diets may be too low in the protein the skin needs to repair itself which could leave you with dry damaged skin.
Wear a Good Quality Sunscreen – natural sunlight contains, inter alia, UV (ultraviolet) photons which, though they cannot be seen by the human eye, can damage your skin. Over the short-term, over-exposure to these photons can produce painful sunburn. Over the long term they can cause premature aging of the skin as well as skin cancer. Similarly, avoid going to tanning salons as sunbeds also incorporate the use of UV rays.
Establish a Night-time Skincare Routine – caring for your skin at night is just as important, if not more so, as starting off your day with a morning skincare routine. At the end of the day, your skin needs a bit of a refresher. Aside from washing away the dirt and stress of the day, your skin also gets a chance to renew and rebuild while you sleep. Night-time is an ideal time for applying a facial serum (http://www.simplyskin.eu/ourshop/cat_508810-Facial-Serums.html) and a heavy body butter which incorporates butters and oils that take a bit longer to absorb through the skin (http://www.simplyskin.eu/ourshop/prod_1757429-Whipped-Relaxing-Lavender-Night-Body-Butter-Lge.html).
Exfoliate and Moisturise Regularly – Did you know that the average woman reportedly has 30 layers of dead skin cells on her face? Regular exfoliation can help keep your skin tone even, your acne in check, and even avoid dryness. We recommend you exfoliate your skin once or twice a week.
Any skin is susceptible to dryness, even oily skin. However all you need to turn things around is an appropriate moisturising routine. By moisturising your skin, you will not only enable your skin to protect itself from infection, but you will also help it decelerate the aging process. Dryness is one of the biggest causes of wrinkles so, by properly moisturising your skin, you can help increase its rate of reparation.
Use the Right Skincare Products – Know your skin type (read our previous blog ‘What Skin Type Are You?” for more information) and use products suited to that skin type. Try to use products that are as natural as possible, avoiding products laden with synthetic ingredients. It’s not always easy or possible to use 100% natural products. For example, when water (aqua) is introduced to a product a preservative must also be introduced in order to fight bacteria and give the product a shelf life longer than 1 or 2 weeks. It’s not easy to source natural, effective preservatives. Indeed, the best known naturally-derived preservatives are Parabens which are currently considered to be quite controversial (read our previous blog “Cosmetics Preservatives & The Paraben Debate” for more information).
Don’t Smoke – Smoking can have a devastating effect on many of our internal organs. Among other conditions, it can lead to tongue, mouth, throat or lung cancer and heart attacks. It also negatively affects our skin. Smoking is associated with premature aging and wrinkles. Several studies have shown that smoking causes a person’s skin to age even more than when exposed to sunlight. There is further evidence that smoking decreases the ability of the skin to regenerate and heal wounds and that exposure to smoke increases the risk of developing psoriasis, a skin condition characterised by the formation of silvery, plaque-like scales, particularly on elbows and knees. Studies examining the associations between skin health and smoking report that smoking increases the risk of skin lesions in people with diabetes, lupus, and AIDS.
Celebrate your outward beauty by giving your skin the treatment is deserves.