Skin Health…. How important is it?
Healthy skin is an integral part of good health. The appearance of your skin may be an outward reflection of your health on the inside.
Skin is the largest organ of the body with a total surface of approximately 2 square metres and a total weight of 4.5-5kg! It is not simply a “plastic bag” that keeps our insides in and the outside out. Skin is a sophisticated, semi-permeable barrier that is involved in eliminating toxins, regulating body temperature and protecting the inside of the body from potential invading micro-organisms. Millions of skin cells are shed each day. Our skin completely replaces itself approximately every 27 days.
Many skin conditions are linked to an abundance of various uncontrolled strains of microbes. These may include acne vulgaris, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema. Common skin conditions such as these are much more than skin deep! These microbes may not always be the cause of the condition, however, they may stimulate and aggravate an inflammatory reaction.
Acne is the most common of all skin conditions. Specifically, acne vulgaris, is characterised as a superficial condition that affects the hair follicles and oil-secreting glands of the skin. It is manifested as blackheads, whiteheads, and inflammation (or redness). It is most commonly found on the face, however, it may be found on the back, chest and shoulders. This condition generally starts after puberty. It is usually most severe in the late teenage years, but it may persist into the thirties and forties.
The atopic skin condition, Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis), has traditionally been associated with food and contact allergens. Research has shown that poor skin integrity leaves the skin open to a barrage of external factors and bacteria. Superantigens are released from the bacteria which stimulates an excessive immune response within the skin. In turn, this leads to vastly increased inflammation. Eczema is characterised with chronic itchy, inflamed skin that is very dry, red and scaly. Scratching and rubbing leads to darkened and hardened areas of thickened skin.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that has sharply defined reddened rash or plaques that are overlapped with silvery scales. It is commonly located on the scalp, elbows, knees, buttocks, lower back, and sites of repeated trauma. The skin may be itchy or asymptomatic. Psoriasis is considered to be an autoimmune disease. Other symptoms may include joint swelling, stiffness or pain associated with psoriatic arthritis.
Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that goes through cycles of fading and relapse. It is a common condition where the primary issue may be microbial overgrowth in the small intestine, rather than an imbalance in the large intestine as is the case in many skin conditions. Relapses may be triggered by spicy foods, alcoholic beverages, sunlight, stress and the intestinal bacteria Helicobacter pylori.
Key Drivers of Skin Conditions
When considering that infection and inflammation are key drivers of skin dysfunction, the lymphatic system has a significant role to play in immunity. The lymphatics are like a network of drainpipes important for the removal of used immune activators from the tissues. If the drains are blocked, these activators remain and promote the further recruitment of immune cells. This may further prolong the inflammatory reaction causing chronic inflammation, redness, flaking, irritation and swelling.
Can you believe the body’s internal stress response impacts the skin barrier? The skin actually responds to psychological stress by producing its own stress response. In turn, this weakens the antimicrobial and protective functions of the skin barrier, leaving it susceptible to infection and inflammation. This further highlights the crucial importance of effectively addressing and supporting issues of stress. Massage may also help with managing stress in your life.
The cornerstone of skin health focuses on addressing imbalances in the integrity of the skin barrier, immune balance and skin microbes. A comprehensive approach to treatment is required in order to resolve the internal issues. The use of a combination of key alterative and detoxifying herbs may enhance the function of the organs of elimination (lymphatics, liver, bowel, kidneys) and promote elimination away from the skin.
Make an appointment with one of our dedicated Naturopaths today to help improve your skin from the inside out!Disclaimer: The advice on this website is of a general nature only and Nurtura Health expressly disclaims all liability arising out of the improper use of the information provided. Nurtura Health actively discourages any self-diagnosis or self-medication. Please consult your health practitioner regarding these important health issues. All rights reserved.