Skin Care-The Health of Our Largest Organ

As a licensed esthetician, I get to work with the largest organ in the body everyday- our skin! Our skin serves as our first responder and our protector. It is the first part of our body exposed to the life we live. As our largest organ, the skin is filled with millions of cells, blood flow, vitamins and proteins, and communication receptors, all linking the entire body systems together. Skin can be one of the best ways to determine a person's overall health and well-being. A person’s skin can be a communication tool to show a lot about someone’s health. Being the largest organ in the body, skin has the ability to tell me many things from how hydrated you are to what kind of diet you eat. The skin is the most outer part of the body and therefore is the most impacted by our environment and the way we treat our body. As we age and expose ourselves to healthy lifestyles and unhealthy alike, the skin will be sure to show it.

As an esthetician, the biggest concern I usually see when it comes to good skincare and graceful aging is sun exposure. The sun rays are some of the most beneficial for the health of our bodies and can be the most dangerous at the same time. The skin absorbs the ultraviolet rays from the sun and basically begins to cook under the heat. Too much of this can lead to a sun burn and blistering. Too much sun damage, and skin becomes dehydrated and loses collagen and elasticity eventually leading to hyperpigmentation which creates dark spots, ultimately damaged skin. Daily sun protection factor is imperative to ensure the rays from the sun you are absorbing are minimal and not harmful. Even if the sun is not shining brightly and warm, the rays from it are still highly impactful to the skin. It’s important to consider using daily SPF with at least a 20-protection factor on the face. As with all things, balance is key when it comes to how much exposure we allow ourselves from the sun. So just remember to take it with small doses and stay protected while outside-and please-NO Sun beds! Your collagen will thank you!

Diet is a big factor for clear, healthy skin that’s vibrant and happy. First, we need to start with water. Hydration is key to ensure that the skin can maintain a healthy barrier to fight against free radicals and internal/external factors we expose the body to. Hydration will also help flush out toxins from foods we eat and environmental exposures. Hydration comes from our skincare too, not just water we drink. The skin needs water to balance its lipid barrier; the proteins that makeup collagen on the surface of the skin. If you are someone that is prone to breakouts or acne, inflammatory foods are best avoided. Inflammatory foods are dairy products, certain meats, and of course sugar and processed foods. These foods create inflammation in the body, and they are an environment for bacteria build up-the foundation of acne on skin. When we keep the body clean and eat clean, this tremendously helps keep bad bacteria at bay and keep the skin clear. If you feel like you are doing a good job of eating and drinking healthy but still deal with breakouts, hormones are something to consider. Hormones control almost all our bodily functions, so it’s no surprise that they directly affect our biggest organ-skin. Keeping a balanced healthy diet and maintaining good physical and mental health help our hormones stay in check! For athletes and especially men, make sure to shower and deeply cleanse the face to wash off any bacteria from sweat and dirt that can get stuck in the pores and cause breakouts.

Oily prone skin? I know it’s a hard thing to hear and many people spend a lot of time and money trying to strip away oils on the face but let me tell you-oil is good! Too much oil can be a pest, and of course can lead to breakouts when not properly cleansed off the skin but oil is what keeps our skin youthful and healthy! Our oil/lipid barrier of the skin is what essentially creates collagen and elastin and keeps the skin hydrated and taught. When we are dry and spend too much time stripping these oils, the skin loses its tautness and ability to hold itself. This leads to sagging skin and wrinkles. Now, oil and water are two different things of course, but without one we cannot have the other. So if you feel that you may be too oily try an oil based moisturizer! sounds counterintuitive I know, but when you feed the skin the oils it craves from the outside, it can stop producing so much from the inside.

Another lifestyle habit to avoid that directly affects the skin is-smoking. Smoking causes free radical damage and leads to skin dehydration as well as put the rest of the body at risk of cancer and other disease. Smokers lines are a huge ailment in the skin care world-many clients that smoke want them to go away but those are difficult to change without cosmetic procedures.

Now that we are approaching the harsh winter months consider working on deeper hydration and using serums that have antioxidants that fight against free radical damage. Cold wind outside and heaters turned on indoors all dehydrate the skin, so we must feed the skin double what we give it during summer months. Consider humectant-based moisturizers that hold heavier and occlude the skin so its protected from these factors. Antioxidants come from fruits like berries and high vitamin vegetables. Look for these when purchasing your serums- vitamins E and C and beta-carotene rich ingredients. Now, purchasing skin care can be a pain these days because there are endless brands out there. People spend a fortune on skin care and it might not be the right fit; wasting product, money, and time. It really is a good idea to see a licensed esthetician so they can examine your skin and talk about products that are right for you. What works for one may not work for another so be ready to be patient and try one product at a time. Remember the skin cells turn over on average every 28 days so that’s the recommended period of time to give a new product trial on your skin. Regular facials are a great way to have the professional work on more active treatments and keep you on a good regimen. I recommend monthly visits or even once a year depending on your budget.

A common question from clients is the recommended application of their products at home. Start by cleansing----then exfoliate once or twice a week---apply your active serums---nourishing oil---lastly followed by your SPF moisturizer for daytime and night cream or moisturizer for night time. Try not to be discouraged about how many products you have or if you don't have a multistep process-whatever you have time to commit to whether its 12 steps or 2, consistency is the most important!

Alex Taylor

RYT 200 Light On Yoga Fitness

L.E. Terrame Day Spa and Salon

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