Did you know that your skin is your largest living breathing organ? In fact, as adults we carry some 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms) and 22 square feet (2 square meters) of skin on our body. As important as our skin is, it is the last organ to receive nutrients, but the first organ to show signs of imbalance, which is why our skin is such a great barometer for our overall health.
The skin is often referred to as the third kidney or lung, because we absorb more impurities, and eliminate more waste through the skin than any other organ in our bodies (including the colon). Two pounds of waste are eliminated every day through the skin, which means that our health is reliant on the skin being able to perform this incredibly important function. We will come back to how we support the function of our skin in a moment, but first let’s stop and appreciate a few more things our skin does for us every day.
Biologically, our skin is our first line of defense and it holds our bodies together, shielding us from the outside world. Culturally, skin defines much of our standard for beauty, because bright, youthful skin signals healthy and vitality. And, like every part of our bodies, skin responds to care and attention.
Dry body brushing is a traditional natural health practice, which involves brushing over dry skin before following with a bath or shower. Dry brushing exfoliates dry, rough skin, opening pores so that toxins can freely pass out from the body and it lightly stimulates the nerves under the skin that connect to the lymphatic system, to drain these toxins from the body. It also assists with stimulation of sweat and oil glands, contributing to the restoration of moist, supple skin. Dry skin brushing also strengthens and improves skin tone and it alleviates vein and lymph congestion to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
Another way we can support the skin as a passage way to expel toxins, is via the use of an infrared sauna or sweating through exercise. Sweating purges the body of toxins that can clog pores and plague the skin with pimples and blemishes. Induced sweating enhances your circulation and natural metabolic processes as well as helping to oxygenate your tissues. I hired an infrared sauna over winter and experienced amazing results. My skin glowed with cleanliness and was no longer dry. Plus, I generally felt a lot healthier.
What we put on our skin is just as important as what we put in our body, because your skin absorbs a large percentage of what you put on it. Therefore, its very important that you only use natural skincare that is rich with oils the skin can actually recognize and metabolise/eat, for want of a better word. If pores are congested and blocked with chemical products and mineral oils, our skin cannot function and eliminate properly as described above. Our oil glands secrete oil that contains bacteria to fight off disease. Harsh chemicals, soaps and skin care products that deplete our bodies’ natural protective oils demolish this natural defense strategy. Another reason that making informed choices about personal care products is so important.
So much of how we feel about ourselves is also wrapped up in our appearance. Those suffering from skin ailments such as rosacea, acne, psoriasis and eczema, understand the anxiety and stress that blemished skin can have on emotional wellbeing. Understanding how the skin functions can help to alleviate these problematic skin conditions.
Finally, drinking a lot of water and eating a healthy diet rich in wholefoods, oils and fruits and vegetables is key to great skin. We need to nourish ourselves from the inside out, both through nutrition and healthy compassionate thoughts.
How ever your skin looks, I hope this article will highlight just how important your skin is for physical and emotional health. I recommend creating daily rituals to keep your skin healthy and nourished from the inside and out.