Skin Health: Take Care of Your Wrapping

Photo of senior woman doing a skin cleanse, holding up cucumber slices to her eyes
© Sofiiashunkina, Bigstock.com

By WENDELL FOWLER

(SENIOR WIRE) Humans are energetic, mammalian, meat bags with skin and bones and a big brain controlling it all. Comparably, we’re organic cars. Just as we must replace tires, change fluids, tweak the tranny, and polish the chassis, during our relatively short earthly existence, our body needs care too—especially for skin health.

The exquisitely evolved human body’s engineering intelligence outshines virtually everything else that exists. Even erudite scientists and engineers can’t come close to duplicating its beauty, performance, and complexity.

National Geographic enlightens: “Skin is our largest organ—adults carry some 8 pounds and 22 square feet of it. Skin performs a variety of different functions which include physically protecting our bones, muscles and internal organs, shielding the body from outside diseases, allowing us to feel and react to heat and cold and using blood to regulate body heat.”

Skin is a huge sensor packed with nerves for keeping the brain in touch with the outside world. At the same time, this amazingly versatile organ allows us free movement. Regardless of color, skin does more than make us presentable. In fact, without it, we’d literally evaporate.

Human skin is also home to millions of beneficial bacteria known as skin microbiota. Ever poke your wrapper thinking, wow, that’s the skin I’ve had since birth? Actually, miraculous human body intelligence replaces skin cells every two to three weeks.

Scientific American says cells in the superficial or upper layers of skin, known as the epidermis, are constantly replacing themselves. This process of renewal is exfoliation (shedding) of the epidermis. Perhaps a myth, many suggest a large amount of dust in the home is actually dead skin.

Vitamin D is particularly important for bone health and immune system function. MedicalNewsToday.com adds, “The sun is our best natural source of vitamin D.” 

Spending even a short time in the sun can provide the body with all of the vitamin D it needs for the day. According to the Vitamin D Council, this could be 15 minutes for a person with light skin, and a couple of hours for a person with dark skin.

Skin is a synthesizer

The National Institutes of Health report that “The skin produces vitamin D. During exposure to sunlight, ultraviolet radiation penetrates into the epidermis and photolyzes provitamin D3 to previtamin D3.” Vitamin D intake is recommended at 400–800 IU/day, or 10–20 micrograms. However, some studies suggest that a higher daily intake of 1000–4000 IU (25–100 micrograms) is needed to maintain optimal blood levels according to Healthline.com. Sublingual D-3 is my go-to.

Under the erroneous impression I’d become golden tanned, this red-headed, fair-skinned, freckled writer is currently recovering from the painful removal of several nasty squamous cell cancerous spots on my dome caused from too much sun during youthful carefree days on the beach. 

WebMD explains, “Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of all cancers in the U.S. and the number of cases continues to rise.” 

It’s the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. This rapid growth results in tumors, which are either benign or malignant. Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes we think of as a normal part of aging. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages fibers in the skin called elastin.

What we eat affects our wrapping. Mayo Clinic shares the best foods for healthy skin are carrots, apricots, and other yellow and orange fruits and veggies.

Then there’s spinach and leafy greens, tomatoes, berries, beans, peas, lentils, salmon, mackerel, and other fatty fish and nuts. 

“Coconut oil is packed with nourishing fatty acids, which help keep skin cells moist and strong by minimizing water loss,” says dermatologist David Colbert, M.D., who has studied the skin benefits of oils for more than 15 years. Also, extra virgin olive oil, oils of lemon balm, almonds, jojoba, olive, avocado, germanium, sunflower seed, lavender, sesame seed and camellia help keep skin nourished and protected. 

Consuming around eight glasses of filtered water flushes toxins from the kidneys helping promote, glowing, clearer skin.

Our skin is primarily made of the protein collagen.

“Diet plays a surprisingly large role in the appearance and youthfulness of your skin,” says certified holistic nutritionist Krista Goncalves, CHN. “And that all comes down to collagen, the protein that gives skin its structure, suppleness, and stretch.”

As we age, our sagging body produces less collagen, hence the tendency toward wrinkles and thinning skin.

A report published in the Journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, notes that women who consumed extra collagen had higher levels of skin elasticity after four weeks than those who took a placebo.

Berries, egg whites, white meat chicken, bone broth, marine collagen from fish, especially the skin, and shellfish boost collagen. Villainous sugar, refined carbs, and toxins in cigarette smoke can damage collagen/elastin, according to VeryWellMind.com research.

With self-loving mindfulness, we can be comfortable and protected in the skin we’re in for years to come. MSN

Chef Wendell Fowler is an author, motivational speaker and spiritual teacher. Chefwendell.com.