Skin is the organ that provides an exterior barrier between the external world and the
delicate machinery inside the body. It continually fights off disease and virulent organisms
as one part of the sophisticated defense mechanisms against organisms like bacteria and
viruses, particles and chemicals.
Briefly, the outer layer of cells produce the protein keratin which fills the cells as they age and die leaving a dead layer of the protein. Beneath is the epidermis layer several cells thick. The basal layer’s cells frequently divide making new cells that move outward as they age, form keratin and are then shed for the next cells being formed.
Under the epidermis is the dermis full of blood vessels, nerves, sweat glands, lymphatics, sebaceous glands and hair shafts in the protein collagen and elastic fiber. The thickness depends on the stress the skin endures–heels and soles of the feet being the thickest, abdomen and face being the thinnest. Oily sebum secreted by glands next to hair shafts helps protect the skin from chemicals, keeps it smooth and pliable, and inhibits bacteria.
Some skin problems are
- frequent washings with harsh chemicals deplete the sebum, upset the natural skin chemistry and dry the skin
- some skin is excessively oily
- a Vitamin A deficiency causes extra keratin formation that creates flaky scales. In the eyes’ “skin” this can lead to impaired vision or blindness.
- excess sunlight exposure dries the skin and creates solar elastosis leading to wrinkles and loss of skin tone as the dermis degenerates. More importantly, the excessive ultraviolet radiation increases the incidence of disfiguring skin cancers.
- eczema, psoriasis, acne, chapping and cracking as well as allergic reactions to plants and chemicals.
To care for the skin in a green way
- some herbs are especially helpful in healing skin issues. Repeated poultices of comfrey herb can immediately begin healing and making swelling subside on skin that is cracking from poison ivy with oozing plasma. For skin lesions, powdered goldenseal root is highly effective. For eczema, comfrey root, witch hazel bark, white oak bark and a little goldenseal is an effective treatment. A strong comfrey root and goldenseal poultice is best for psoriasis. A clean white cloth is soaked in cooled strong tea. The herbs are wrapped in the cloth and applied to the skin.
- protect it from the sun by wearing a hat with a brim wide enough to shade the nose and clothing that blocks sun rays. Common suntan lotions do not shield the skin and some sunscreens are under investigation for possibly causing cancer.
- wear green BPA-free sunglasses to protect the eyes’ skin
- avoid washing oily skin frequently with soap because it causes the skin to produce more oil. Instead use just water or periodic facial masks. Mix one teaspoon of brewer’s yeast with water or skim milk to make a liquid paste. Wash the skin and rinse it with water that contains a few drops of organic mother apple cider vinegar. Pat the yeast paste on the face and let it dry completely. Then rise with warm followed by cool water and gently blot dry. A marigold petal tea also balances excessively oily skin.
- if you must use soap, get organic bar soap from local farmer’s markets with the least amount of packaging instead of body wash in plastic bottles often made in foreign countries and with toxic chemicals. Especially avoid those containing triclosan. Read the article Stop using products containing triclosan about why triclosan is being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration. Or make your own soaps with easy recipes from websites like the Natural Soap Chef.
- wear gloves whenever doing dishes or handling wet laundry to protect natural skin chemistry from even small amounts of soap and water exposure
- try a natural honey facial with the hair tied back. Smooth raw liquid honey over the face and neck, leave on for 15 minutes, then wipe off with a damp cloth.
- soothe rough dry skin with wheat germ oil or squeeze a vitamin E capsule over the skin. Take some vitamin E internally. Creams sold as vitamin E concoctions usually do not contain enough of the vitamin.
- cod liver oil rich in vitamin A and D can be taken internally and rubbed over dry skin. Eat carrots, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes for more vitamin A and use non-GMO safflower or sunflower oil on salads. Watch the short video on 5 other foods to eat for healthy skin.
- drink lots of reverse osmosis filtered water using bisphenol-A (BPA) free cups and water bottles. Read Toxic chemicals sneaking in your body about BPA and why you should Boycott bottled water.
- skip makeup to stop trapping dirt, dead skin cells and natural body oils under suffocating goop turning pore cells into cess pools for germs.