Did you know that the skin is the largest organ of the body? The average adult’s skin has a surface area of between 1.5 – 2.0 square metres. Most of it is 2–3 mm thick. It’s made up of three layers – the outer layer (dermis) acts like a waterproofing barrier as well as creating the skin tone; the middle layer (dermis) contains connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands; the third layer (subcutaneous) is made up of fat and connective tissue. The average square inch of skin holds 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes, and more than 1,000 nerve endings.
But there’s more to it than that. The skin is our first line of defence. It protects us against toxins and excessive water loss. It also insulates, produces vitamin D folates, helps to regulate our body temperature, senses touch, pain, heat, cold. Its thickness varies depending on where it is on our body. Under the eyes it’s the thinnest, just 0.5mm, which is why this area often shows first signs of ageing – wrinkles like crow’s feet! On the palms of our hands and the soles of our feet its 4mm thick. But the thickest skin of all is on our back – 14mm. That’s pretty amazing, don’t you think!
Given the importance of the skin to health and wellbeing, it makes sense to look after it.
Last week in my post Time to Cleanse I talked about the benefits of DRY SKIN BRUSHING.
This week I want to follow up with some more ideas on how to rehydrate skin that is dehydrated or been subjected to harsh weather conditions and environmental / life / health stresses. In the northern hemisphere the season has begun its move from autumn to winter whilst down south we are in spring heading into summer. Both are good times to stop and give your skin a bit of extra special attention.
And while you’re at it why not include some added benefits and cleanse your Mind and Soul with a meditation.
A good beginning is to make sure you drink plenty of good quality water throughout the day. Start with a large glass of room temperature filtered water with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. This helps to kick start the digestive system. Wait a while before you breakfast – perhaps shower, dress, make the bed. Reduce or avoid (if you can ) – alcohol, caffeine, soft drinks. Substitute with herbal teas. Peppermint is soothing for the stomach and digestion and chamomile, with a spoonful of honey, is calming and good to have at bedtime.
To restore the skin to a healthy, vibrant glow, you might like to try some of the following :
- Stop using harsh soaps. Try additive-free alternatives eg natural soaps and body washes; have a bath with a few tbsp dried milk powder OR 500 ml buttermilk and 1 tbsp glycerine; if you want a bubble bath use pure soap flakes to make a liquid soap and scent with some essential oils
- Exfoliate using one of these options – use a natural bristle brush or loofah; OR oil-based sea salt scrub; OR tie 2 -3 tbsp oatmeal (with added essential oils if you wish) into a clean cotton hanky or muslin cloth;
- make a thick paste from a handful of sea salt, almond oil and juice of half a lemon. Massage into dry skin. Rinse and slather on coconut oil
Make a body oil with 30ml almond oil. Add 4 drops each of juniper berry and rosemary oils, and 3 drops each of cypress and patchouli. This is both hydrating and firming.
Other oils you might want to try –
Olive oil – is very high in vitamin E and K and contains high anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties to help counter-act exposure to pollution, smoke and alcohol. It is so rich in nutrient value it can be used as a base oil or neat on any part of the body to moisturise and regenerate the skin.
Jojoba oil – most closely resembles natural skin oil. It contains glucosides, minerals, vitamins and is rich in protein. Good for all skin types, it is highly penetrative. Use as a 10% addition to base oils.
Apricot kernel oil – contains vitamins and minerals. It is good for dry, inflamed, prematurely aged or sensitive skin. Use as a base oil or neat – for all skin types.
Avocado oil – contains vitamins, protein, lecithin and fatty acids. It is good for all skin types, especially dry and dehydrated skin. Use as a 10% addition to base oils.
Essential oils for dry, dehydrated skin – Benzoin, Patchouli, Carrot, German Chamomile, Palma Rosa, Geranium, Petitgrain, Lavender, Rose (don’t forget to test for allergies if sensitive – should a reaction occur wipe off with an unscented vegetable oil such as olive or grapeseed oil. Do not use water – it will exacerbate the problem)
Guidelines for diluting essential oils into a base oil : between 12 – 30 drops per 30 mls of base oil.
Measurements : 1 tsp = 5 ml; 1 dstsp = 10 ml; 1 tbsp = 15 ml ; 20 drops essential oil = 1 ml
Just a quick word about essential oils. For your well-being, please make sure that you use 100% pure, therapeutic grade oils. Anything other than that may have harmful additives and chemicals. Personally I prefer to use Young Living essential oils as I know I can trust the quality and purity of their products.
© Raili Tanska at Soul Gifts
Face Value by Gregory Landsman;
The Fragrant Pharmacy by Valerie Ann Worwood.
Image – Pixabay