Too often, Old Man Winter gets blamed for dry skin. However, it is possible to have healthy, naturally moisturized skin, even in the winter. Let’s learn more about the skin, and how we can keep it healthy, despite the season.
The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet. The skin protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold.
Skin has three layers:
- The epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.
- The dermis, beneath the epidermis, contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
- The deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) is made of fat and connective tissue.
The epidermis consists of stratified squamous epithelium. Four cell types are present:
- Keratinocytes produce keratin, a protein that hardens and waterproofs the skin.
- Melanocytes produce melanin, a pigment that protects cells from ultraviolet radiation.
- Langerhans cells are phagocytic macrophages that interact with white blood cells during an immune response.
- Merkel cells occur deep in the epidermis at the epidermal-dermal boundary. They form Merkel discs, which, in association with nerve endings, serve a sensory function.
Sound complex? It is, and we’ve barely scratched the surface! (Ha ha. Pardon the pun.) The skin is an ever-changing organ that contains many specialized cells and structures. Healthy skin must continually adapt to its changing environment, and be able to create new, healthy cells at an incredible rate. How often must this be done? Well, the average person sheds approximately 40,000 dead skin cells every minute. Not every day, but every 60 seconds. That means that your innate intelligence is constantly at work, enabling your body to create new skin. Now that you think about it, you are probably realizing that skin production is incredibly complex. However, your body will be up for the challenge, IF it has what it needs.
So, what does the body need for this process to occur? A daily coating of body lotion? No. God does not own stock in Neutrogena. He gave your body the intelligence and ability to create healthy, nourished skin. (There are some cases where a genetic malfunction is to blame. However, this is rare.) Skin production requires proteins, carbohydrates, fats and oils, minerals, vitamins, and water. However, the underlying factor that is critical in the body’s ability to create healthy cells from these nutrients is a healthy nervous system.
After all, the only difference between a cadaver and a functioning, healing, regenerating body is the presence or absence of Life Force; nerve impulses that feed life to every cell of the body. So, not only do we need to ensure that our body has the nutrients that it needs, but that it has a fully functioning nervous system to utilize those nutrients. Regarding the use of moisturizers, it’s important to be aware that continuously slathering ourselves with lotion can introduce unneeded chemicals to our body. In addition, we must recognize that our skin is constantly learning, adapting and adjusting based on external stimuli. The consistent use of moisturizers may actually handicap our body’s ability to create and regulate moisture levels on its own. It’s something to keep in mind.
Dry Skin and Your Health
Tips for Maintaining Healthy, Hydrated Skin
Hydrate hydrate hydrate! Stay hydrated by drinking water. Stop drinking soda, coffee, and alcohol as these will dehydrate you.
Eat foods like avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, honey, pumpkin, kelp, spinach, flax, salmon, berries, and watermelon. These foods are moisturizing and will help your digestive system to stay happy, healthy, and hydrated.
Your skin has a natural oil barrier to protect you from the elements and guess what that barrier is made out of? That’s right, Omega 3! So take your omega 3 supplement along with vitamin C, D3, and B vitamins.
Don’t exacerbate the problem by taking long hot showers. Hot water can actually wash away the body’s own protective oils leaving your skin dry and tight feeling. Try taking shorter (5 minutes or less) lukewarm showers.
Try to use natural, chemical-free cleansers.
Ensure proper functioning of your nervous system by reducing stress in your life, and getting regular chiropractic adjustments. If you have never received an adjustment or have a chiropractor, contact Discover Health and Wellness Northglenn to learn about our New Patient Special!