“If it’s good for skin, we’ll let it in!”

IS THERE SUCH A THING AS ANTI-AGEING?

Can I please tell you how amazing our skin is? For starters, the skin is also called the "integument" which means "covering".

 Our skin is so much more than we give it credit for!

 Skin is tough yet pliable. The skin allows us to take constant punishment from outside forces. Without our skin we would quickly fall prey to bacteria/infections and suffer through water and heat loss/dehydration. Our skin is like the skin of a grape, the skin keeps the contents whole and juicy = healthy.

 Many of us take our skin for granted, or some of us can be misled into thinking we only need numerous beauty lotions and potions to keep our skin healthy!

 Our skin is a marvel! And should always be remembered that it is an engineering masterpiece. It is the master of self repair and interacts efficiently with other body systems to ensure the whole is left uncompromised, the ideal state of health "homeostasis".

 Please remember: No beauty potion or concoction can do what the skin can do!

When we are born, we are born with a protective white substance surrounding us; this substance is called vernix caseosa. This substance is generated from the sebaceous glands in order to protect the fetus’s skin within the amniotic fluid. A newborn’s skin is very thin.

During childhood the child’s skin thickens and more subcutaneous fat is deposited as the child grows.

During this time skin can be prone to skin upsets, eg. infantile eczemadue to the child not possessing the protective acid mantle that adults take for granted. Sensitivities can be easily triggered by harsh detergents, chemicals and artificial perfumes. Gradually, the child outgrows this stage.

 In adolescence the hair and skin becomes oilier as the sebaceous glands are activated. Unfortunately, this can also trigger skin challenges such as Acne. This can be a very upsettng time for some young people. See Problem Skin for Tips.

Our skin reaches optimal appearance in ages 20 to 30 years of age.

During this time the affects of sun, chemicals, wind, pollution & poor diet leads to dry skin and inflammation becomes more apparent. Although this may be the time when we start looking at what we’re using on our skin, and natural/organic topical ointments and potions can help deliver essential fatty acid loaded ingredients topically to the skin, we must look further. What is creating these unhealthy skin conditions? Have I been in the sun for too long or am I using harsh detergents making my skin dry? If the skin is not responding to the removal of these potential harmful irritants, then something deeper must be going on? Perhaps there is something lacking in our diet?

As we age, the rate of skin cell replacement slows, the skin becomes thinner. The skin is more susceptible to outside injuries and is perhaps not so resilient to these outside forces as our skin in our youth used to be.

The lubricating substances produced by the skin glands that made our skin so resilient when we were younger start to become deficient. The result? Premature ageing and general skin challenges such as dermatitis, eczema, etc. may occur at this time. However, those with an oilier skin type appear to delay this aspect of the ageing process (however you may still be susceptible to sensitivities creating inflammation).

How is your skin coping? A quick Test:

How can you know if essential fat intake is sufficient? Answer: the skin on the back of the hand should feel moist and when pinched should quickly return to normal. This is even more prevalent with ageing as skin loses its elasticity when we age. 

Once these lubricating substances decrease the whole skin structure starts to age. Elastic fibres begin to clump, collagen fibres become stiffer and fewer. The fat layer (subcutaneous) diminishes leading to cold temperature intolerances; this is especially common in the elderly. Susceptibility to injury from outside influences heightens.

This decreasing of elasticity of the skin along with the loss of the fat layer beneath eventually leads to wrinkling.

Fair skinned, fair-haired and redhead individuals who have less melanin in their skin show age related changes more rapidly than those with darker pigmented hair and skins.

By age 50 our hair follicles are less active; hair looses its lustre, sheen and becomes thinner. The genes responsible for graying and male pattern baldness become more apparent around this age.

Over exposure to UV light leads to premature wrinkled, sagging skin with a blotchy appearance and may be pigmented with Liver Spots. The UV light activates enzymes called Matrix Metalloproteinases, these enzymes degrade collagen and other dermal components, which are vital to keep the skin functioning & healthy.

On the upside = good nutrition, plenty of fluids and gentle cleanliness may delay the ageing process! Although there is no known way to avoid ageing, we can however reduce the effects of ageing. For instance, reducing the amount of UV light we're exposed to by wearing protective clothing and a safe effective sunscreen. Obviously taking into consideration we need to expose our skin to enough UV light in order for our skin to make Vitamin D which is essential to our health.

If the skin’s function is left in a compromised state for too long, nearly every bodily system reacts. Metabolism may be impaired – increases or decreases. The skin’s ability to excrete waste will be hindered [nitrogenous waste] from skin metabolism. Skin also plays a major role with the reproductive system, healthy skin possesses cutaneous receptors which respond to erotic stimuli. During pregnancy, the skin needs to stretch to accommodate the growing fetus. The hormonal system may be comprised as the sebaceous glands involved in the regulation of hair growth is stunted. Immune systems alter, bones soften and the cardiovascular system may fail. This bodily failure list goes on and on.

When the skin is maintained it can protect us very well. It will protect us by performing the very functions it was designed to do, the body as a whole benefits. “Homeostatis” is achieved when all bodily functions work as one:

Skin protects Bones, the Skeletal System
Skin protects Muscles
Skin protects the Nervous System
Skin protects the Endocrine System
Skin protects the Cardiovascular System
Skin protects the Lymphatic System/Immunity
Skin protects the Respiratory System
Skin protects the Digestive System
Skin protects the Urinary System
Skin protects the Reproductive System

Your skin is amazing! It is important. It deserves our utmost respect and appreciation for all the tasks it can perform, and which we take for granted.

Article by Angie Coleman
Founder of There Must Be a Better Way Ltd.