Nutrition for Healthy Skin


How Skin Grows

Skin is the largest organ on the human body. The good news is there are around 19 million skin cells per square inch on your body and they replicate very quickly to replace old skin cells. The skin you see now will be completely replaced in 30 days. The reason why old scars do not go away is because each and every cell has a memory of its life and trauma it was subjected to. These naughty old cells like to pass on all of that information to the new cells who don’t know anything, so the new cells mimic old cell information. This is why skin ages and some deep scars do not completely fade. This process is called genetic memory and ties in with DNA coding.

In this very simplistic diagram you can see the top lay of skin is called the epidermis and it is composed of around 18 to 23 layers of dead skin cells. You will lose approximately 30,000 to 40,000 of these cells every day, to help assist this process gentle exfoliation can be used, or not, the choice is yours. However, leaving the dead skins will lead to dry flaky skin, uneven colouring and dull skin.

If you have oily skin and chose to exfoliate, then no more than twice a week. If your skin is normal, then exfoliate no more than once a week.

New cells are formed at the bottom layer of the epidermis well below the dead layers that have been easily removed. This skin is fresh and new and needs to be protected if your are exfoliating more than I suggested. New skin cells are formed and they are under the microscope cuboid in shape, as they move to the top layer of the epidermis they become squamish, or flatten out until they appear like paper, then they flake off. The epidermis layer of your skin also contains melanin which is your natural skin colour. These skin cells of the epidermis are also apart of your immune system and help you to stay healthy.

How your skin keeps you safe – structure and function

The main job of skin is to  protect your body, so it has to be flexible, tough and stretchy.

We have already talked about the top layer of skin, the second layer of skin is called the dermis and it is thicker. You can see see from the diagram that it is the by far thickest of the three main layers. The reason it is so thick is because it has a lot of work to do.

Inside this layer there are sweat glands which are a heat exchange mechanism which is another skin function to keep you cool when exercising or when the summer days are too hot. Sweating not only helps keep you cool, it also helps the body to purge any useless or toxic materials that your body does not need.

The dermis has thousands of nerve endings which is why skin is so sensitive to touch, heat, cold, itchy abraisions and cuts. All of this information is transmitting pleasure and pain to the brain when your skin touched by a lover, or is bruised, cut, torn or burned.

At the bottom of the dermis the root of hairs are grown. Each hair has a tiny muscle which tightens when you are sexually excited, cold or scared. You will also see another small pocket called the sebaceous gland, this is responsible for making oil for your skin to keep it soft, smooth and waterproof. If you have oily skin, this excess oil can be the cause of pimples. Keep your witch-hazel on hand for that oily T-zone.

Finally the dermis is the layer that is filled with capillaries, tiny little blood vessels that brings food for your skin, oxygen and exchanges depleted oxygen and other bad stuff away through blood vessels.

The hypodermis is the third layer of skin, it is the subcutaneous fat layer and is very important to attach the skin to your muscles and bones with a special connective tissue. The hypodermis layer also helps to protect you from the cold and heat and pads the muscles and bones to protect them from falls and accidents. The hypodermis becomes richer with arterial and venous structures, or blood vessels to feed and oxygenate every tiny cell in the skin.

There are four main receptors in the skin that respond to pressure:

  • Meissner’s corpuscles responds to light touch,
  • Merkel’s discs to pressure and texture,
  • Ruffini endings to stretching, and
  • Pacinian corpuscles to vibration and deep pressure.

There are countless free nerve endings in the skin that gauge temperature and pain.

The skin’s surface is home to surprisingly diverse communities of bacteria called skin microbiota. Skin changes can be a sign that something is wrong. Rashes, hives, and itching may signal an allergic reaction, a bacterial skin infection, a viral infection, or an autoimmune disease. A mole may be a sign of skin cancer. Skin is one of the first indicators that the body has an internal disturbance that needs addressing.

Drinking a herbal white or green tea is great for the skin

White tea is high in health-promoting antioxidants, tannins, polyphenols, flavonoids and catechins. It also contains a good amount of fluoride, which can help protect the teeth against cavities. Drinking a cup of white tea sends protective antioxidants and anti-aging MMP fighters into action to improve your skin from the inside.

White tea is also a fat blocker and in my opinion a tastier tea than green tea. To me white tea tastes fruity with a floral overtone, other people describe it as grassy, honey, melon, peachy and even apricot. All of our taste buds differ slightly due to our individual chemical make up, so we will all have a slightly different experience drinking teas and herbal infusions.

Drink three cups of white tea every day after meals for the best skin results. White tea does contain a little caffeine so do not drink it right before bedtime.

Essential foods for healthy skin include: Protein, flavanols, vitamins A, D, E, K and omega-3 fatty acids to boost collagen production, eliminate wrinkles and heal acne. Examples of foods that contain these elements are eggs, carrots (Purple and orange), tomatoes, watermelon, green and white tea, walnuts, almonds, avacardos, extra virigin olive oil, oranges, kale, salmon, sardines, coconut milk, sunflower oil, bell peppers, berries, broccoli,  kidney beans, pomegranates, and finally and best of all dark chocolate 70% or more cacao with very little sugar. (My personal favourite)

Healthy organic skin care products

If you are considering switching to natural products, look out for these nasties – parabens, silicones, propylene glycol, triclosan, sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), toluene, formaldehyde, and fragrance. All of these will adversely affect the skin and the way it functions. Organic herbal skin care is food for the skin not a preservative or potential cell mutagen. 

If you can eat it then it is safe for the skin. If you are silly enough to test by eating your skin cream and end up vomiting, that is your body telling you it is toxic and rejects it. Your skin does not have that same repelling mechanism your stomach has, so your skin is trusting you to be thoughtful about what you put on your skin.
Check the labels of your existing skin care, if it is not based on organic chemical free herbals then personally I would throw it in the bin. Also remember that less is more, do not overload your skin with product.

I can recommend a company that prides itself in organic skin care and it is called Lhami

I know there are other amazing companies that produce and sell organic skin and beauty products that will fulfil your needs. You just need to be very careful and read the ingredients label before you purchase. If you are not sure about the list of ingredients, Google them and see what the short code is for.

Homemade skin herbal recipe

One herbal recipe you can make which is great for very dry skin, poison ivy, eczema, fungal infections for pain and tinnea is the following.

INGREDIENTS

  • Calendula flower petals (fresh is best)
  • Extra virign olive oil
  • Vegetable emulsifying wax
  • Lavender and Frankensence essential oil
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Grapefruit seed extract

Fill a small jar with calendula flowers petals add extra virigin olive oil to cover the leaves. Do not leave leaves exposed to air. Add around 16 oz of olive oil.

Use a crock pot on a low setting at 100 degrees (slightly above blood temperature) and fill with water to sit the jar in for three days. Keep topping up the water each day. This process extracts the calendula into the olive oil.

Cool the mixture

Strain the leaves from the oil. Pour a quater of a cup of the olive oil infused with calenduala into the blender, add a heaped tablespoon of vegetable emulsifying wax to the blender. Add a cup of water (filtered). Add 14 drops of Grapefruit seed extract, 12 drops of vitamin E, 8 drops of lavender and 8 drops of frankensence.

Blend this mixture, then pour into a clean plastic polypropoline or glass 4 ounce jar with lid.

Put a clearly visible date on this mixture and keep in the fridge. Throw away if not used in 12 months as there is no preservative in this skin cream. However, I doubt it will last that long. I use it for dry hands and a jar will only last me for four months. It feels fabulous and smells great, and the best thing is that you know there is nothing bad in the mix.

Essential healthy skin tips

Keep out of the sun between 10 am and 3 pm. I know as a young person you will probably ignore this advice as I did myself when I was young. However, years down the track you will pay the price with skin lesions, squamous cell carcinomas (Bowen’s disease) basal cell carcinoma (Another type of skin cancer) and worse of all melanoma which once has metastasised is fatal.

This is a skin cancer on a young person. The risks increase each year with every sun burn.

The ozone layer is thinning and here in Queensland it is worse than anywhere else in the world. Queensland is the skin cancer capital of the world.

I have had so may skin lesions cut of or burned off in the last ten years that I can only hope that you will listen to my experience. However, it is your life and your choice. I just hope your are not a silly as I was when I was young. Wear a hat, use a good UV sun screen, have your skin checked regularly once a year by a recommended Dermatologist that you feel comfortable with. Feed your skin with herbal products and remember good skin health is a choice, not a right.

Yoga the rejuvenating exercise for mind, body, soul and skin

Of all the exercises you might want to think about, Yoga is best for your overall health. Yoga in all of its many forms is a way of connecting mind, body and soul. It can flush toxins out of your lymphatic system, stimulate all internal organs, increase healthy vascular flow which in turn leads to healthier skin.

It can be as simple as doing a few exercises at work even when your are at your computer. Some you can do in the car on the way to work like practising deep breathing. If you don’t have time to take classes but want to stay in shape and de-stress your body then please look at this link to my friend Brittany Kate at her website Koha Aroha Collective where she can teach you about Yoga. Brittany  will be more than happy to talk about how you can start with Yoga for beginners, and perhaps build into something more strenuous and invigorating.

If you have any questions you would like to talk about, please leave your comment and a contact email. I am happy to help where I can.

Be happy, be healthy and be safe.

Peace and Love Coucka