Your skin is likely to be something you take for granted and you assume it’s less important than other parts of your body. The truth is that your skin serves as the first line of defense to protect you from harm.
Skin is the largest organ of your body and provides information about your surroundings by sensing heat, cold, sharp objects, and danger. It regulates your body temperature through small surface blood vessels, sweat glands and hair follicles. With all that it does to guard you from the elements it is still the most vulnerable organ.
Patients often come to me for consultation complaining about various skin problems. Many times the reason for their discomfort is due to their own neglect and abuse over a long period of time. That’s why taking care of your skin from an early age is critical to keeping it looking healthy. When you think about what your skin is exposed to on a daily basis, its no wonder special care is advisable.
You are exposed to sun, wind, dirt, sharp objects, water and chemicals. Every encounter causes skin cells to be lost and it takes about one month for a skin cell to work its way from the base of the epidermis to the surface. The trick is to keep your skin nourished from within. This ensures the replacement skin cells are healthy and protected from without so there is less environmental damage to repair.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
Keeping your skin young and supple is not as hard as it might seem. The best defense is a good offense so why not follow these five simple recommendations to guard your skin from the elements. Your skin will respond to your tender loving care by feeling softer and looking more radiant.
1. Protect it from the sun with sunscreens, cover-ups, or midday sun avoidance.
2. Don’t smoke. Smoking decreases blood flow, which depletes your skin of oxygen and nutrients, such as vitamin A.
3. Wash your skin carefully. Don’t use abrasive soaps or hot water, which can strip the protective oils from your skin.
4. Moisturize your skin to keep it supple and less prone to chafing and breaks.
5. Shave gently. Use a good lubricant so the razor glides gently over your skin with no danger of nicks and abrasion.
Red Lines Are A Red Flag!
One of the most common problems I encounter in my practice is a skin condition known as Cellulitis. Although this skin condition can be serious, it is fortunately treatable. Cellulitis is a bacterial skin infection caused by the streptococcus bacteria entering your skin tissue through a small cut or sore.
Red lines may appear on your skin, running from the infected area along lymph vessels to your lymph glands. Left untreated the bacteria can get into your bloodstream and cause blood poisoning. Be particularly aware of a potential infection if you have a swollen, red area of skin that feels hot and tender. When this symptom is accompanied by a high fever it is time to see your doctor immediately.
There are several contributing factors to be aware of when dealing with infections of the skin. Depending on your medical background you might want to alert your doctor to any one of these conditions that could exacerbate your problem and impede a speedy recovery.
• Age – As you age, your circulatory system has a harder time delivering infection-fighting white blood cells to any open wounds or sores.
• Weakened immune system can leave you susceptible to cellulitis
• Diabetes – chronic skin ulceration can lead to bacterial infections.
• Chickenpox and shingles -the broken blisters on your skin are potential entry points for bacteria.
• Lymphedema – chronic swelling of your arms or legs, can lead to cracks on your skin.
• Chronic fungal infection of your feet or toes can cause skin cracks and possible bacterial infection.
• Intravenous drug use – needle entry points are excellent portals for bacteria infection.
Be pro-active when it comes to caring for your skin by giving it the care and attention is deserves. The look and feel of your skin is a testament to how well you take care of yourself. Proper nutrition, exercise, and vitamin supplements go hand in hand with skin care maintenance. Take care of your largest and most vulnerable organ and it will take care of you.