by Judith G. Cobb, MH, CI, NCP
This article is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. It is meant for educational purposes only. Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health, and Nature’s Sunshine Products accept no responsibility for results you get, whether good or bad, from using this information. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.
“There is no magician’s mantle to compare with the skin in its diverse roles of waterproof, overcoat, sunshade, suit of armour and refrigerator, sensitive to the touch of a feather, to temperature and to pain, withstanding the wear and tear of three score years and ten, and executing its own running repairs. This vital organ of the body, 16 to 20 sq ft in extent … holds the mirror to age and health, even revealing general conditions such as fever, jaundice, syphilis, deficiency diseases and poisons.”1
You get up in the morning, rinse your face with water, slap on some moisturizer, maybe pat on some makeup, and off you go. You might stand back from the mirror and cast a critical eye at your reflection. I’ll bet you rarely say, “I wonder what I can do to make my skin look healthier” unless you have an obvious skin condition. Even then, you probably use the word ‘skin’ to mean face – again, unless you have skin conditions elsewhere.
None of us wants to look old before our time. The sad truth is that your skin can make you look ancient, exactly your age, or ten years younger. We’ve all seen it, right? The person who is only 50 but looks 70, and then there’s the person who is 37 – but looks 50. It’s your choice. You are in control.
Your skin is your largest organ. It absorbs things that touch it, and it excretes certain kinds of biological waste products. It has loads of collagen (protein strands that give it strength) and elastic fibers that allow it to stretch and return to its previous shape and size (usually). Your skin replaces itself every 28 days. Think about it. If you really don’t like the tone or texture of your skin, and if you made the right kinds of consistent changes to your diet and lifestyle, you could have significantly nicer-looking skin (read that as ‘healthier skin’) in about a month.
Sun and skin
Let’s start with one of the most controversial concepts – sun exposure. This catch-22 goes like this: low vitamin D increases the risk of developing melanoma; sun exposure is an excellent way to make vitamin D; yet too much sun can increase the risk of melanoma. Using sunscreen prevents vitamin D formation and has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children, and cancer, among other things.2
How much sun exposure is safe for your skin and optimal for Vitamin D production? That truly depends on where you live, time of day, natural skin pigmentation, age, and even more variables. Base recommendations are 5 – 30 minutes per day, twice per week, with arms and legs well exposed. Consider also that, between November and March, beyond-40-degrees-latitude sun exposure for vitamin D production is pretty much useless. If you live beyond 50 degrees latitude the ‘useless’ time is October to April.3
What you expose your skin to, what you apply to your skin, what you feed yourself, even the stress you are exposed to have dramatic effects on your skin.
Long, hot showers or baths (hot water and chlorine) and swimming pools (any form of chlorination), for instance, strip the natural oils (known as the acid mantle) from our skin. The oils are somewhat antiseptic and keep us from drying out like prunes. Strip those oils off and our skin loses precious moisture, leaving it looking like a parched desert. Soap that is not pH balanced for the skin only adds to the problem. Chlorine also breaks down collagen.4
What can you do?
What do you need to do to help your skin be healthy, have a radiant glow, and look younger?
Assuming you are being judicious in your sun exposure – getting some but not too much, and that you are avoiding hot showers and baths and getting adequate vitamin D, there are still many things you can do for skin health and beauty.
Top 5 things to avoid
Coffee – the discussion continues. There are not enough antioxidants in coffee to combat the way coffee inhibits the regeneration of collagen.5
Alcohol – affects the skin on varying levels from hydration to pore size to accentuating the damage sugar does.6
Sugar – sugars, including fruit sugar (fructose) messes up how the body structures collagen and makes it much harder for the body to repair collagen that has been damaged.7
Dairy products – many people find improved skin health and fewer outbreaks when they eliminate dairy from their diets.8
Poor quality supplements – all supplements are not created equal. When you could pay as little as $29.20 for a bottle of 60 x 100 mg capsules of R-Alpha Lipoic Acid or as much as $90 for the same size and concentration from another company, it becomes obvious that the range of quality is severe. In supplements, price is not always the best indicator of quality, but it is a safe bet that the least expensive won’t be the best option. The moral of the story is – for the most part, you get what you pay for.
Because there is no magician’s mantle that can compare with your skin, it’s a good idea to take the best care of it you possibly can.
Next issue: How to improve the health and beauty of your skin
If you have concerns about your health, or just don’t know where to begin making improvements, please contact me, Judith Cobb, to book an appointment. Skype, phone, webinar, and face-to-face appointments are available.
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- From The Human Body, Lockhard, Hamilton, and Fyfe, 1960, retreived 1-5-2015 from https://books.google.ca/books?id=iQnAtCQjIpIC&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1&dq=there+is+no+magician%27s+mantle+to+compare+with+the+skin&source=bl&ots=V_SlUc_lSV&sig=457eBFnuEOE586bY_QWx98omOs8&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjL6dajv-nJAhWHWx4KHdlWAvoQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=there%20is%20no%20magician’s%20mantle%20to%20compare%20with%20the%20skin&f=false
Copyright © 2016 by Judith Cobb, Cobblestone Health Ltd. All rights reserved. Please respect the time it takes to write and publish articles. If you will link to this article and give proper attribution, you are encouraged to quote sections (though not the entire article).