The skin is the largest organ of the body, which protects the internal organs from the environment. Its cells are continually being replaced as they are lost by wear and tear. The skin consists of a thin outer layer, the epidermis, and a thicker inner layer, the dermis. There are a total of 7 layers in the skin. The life cycle of skin cells is about 28 days and extends to 45 days by the time we are 60.
Each hair follicle grows along with an oil gland that secretes sebum (oily wax mostly composed of keratin) that melts on the skin's surface to naturally moisturize the face and body. Any product used on the skin should not impede the natural cycle of cell regeneration and oil secretion. This equates to using substances that will not clog pores or irritate the skin by stripping the outer most layer of its natural oils and possibly inviting bacterial infection.
So called "all-natural" products are not necessarily the best for skin health. Plant oils decompose faster than mineral oils and require higher concentrations of preservatives. Essential oils also cause skin irritation due to their natural fragrance. Plant oils often contain fatty (saturated) acids that can clog pores and cause acne. Olive oil can clog pores and lavender oil causes photosensitivity as well skin cell toxicity in concentrations of over one fourth of a percent. The combination of both high quality non-irritating synthetics AND natural source materials create the best skin care products.
Skin Care Basics
1. Cleanse gently - use only cleansers that have a pH between 5 and 6. Natural bar soaps usually have a pH of 8 to 10 and are too alkaline for skin and can be extremely irritating. Detergent bars such as Dove, Basis, or Cetaphil are safe to use. Unscented mild liquid cleansers like Cetaphil are the best choice for all skin types with the exception of oily skin.
2. Skin care products especially lotions should all be fragrance free. Fragrances whether derived from a synthetic or natural (essential oils) source and may irritate the skin. Irritation suppresses the skin's immune/healing response, is one of the major causes of collagen destruction, and encourages bacterial growth leading to potential skin breakouts.
3. Exfoliate regularly and the best exfoliants are beta hydroxy acids (for oily skin) and alpha hydroxy acids (for dry skin). Unlike mechanical abrasive scrubs that cut dead skin cells off the surface, the hydroxy acids uniformally unglue the dead skin cells to reveal healthy new cells.
4. Moisturize as needed. Only dry skin benefits from moisturizing - oily skin does not. Over moisturizing can cause problems by impeding the natural skin cell turnover.
5. Sunscreen! There is not such thing as a safe tan! Only sunscreens with both UVA and UVB protection are safe for the skin. They must contain zinc oxide, titanium dioxide or avobenzone (Parsol 1789) with a minimum protection of SPF 15. Products containing both the reflective and chemical sunscreens offer the most reliable coverage.
See "Skin Care Kits" item #HSKNKIT (Healthy Skin Kit)
Emu oil is a superior natural moisturizer for dry skin. It does not clog pores, it penetrates through all 7 layers of the skin, and encourages faster cell regeneration. Recent studies show Emu Oil helps to build more good hormone-like substances called eicosanoids that influence the function of our cells. This promotes quick healing and reduces inflammation. Emu Oil's natural fatty acid structure is very similar to our own skin cells, therefore is it extremely hypoallergenic. It is also an excellent emollient and a great carrier oil so it may be used in conjunction with other lotions. It is excellent at minimizing the drying side effect related to Retin-A or Accutane treatments.
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