Enhancing Immune Function Through Healthy Skin.
I want to talk about how skin care plays a huge role in healthy immune function. We all know that the skin is the largest organ of the body and our bodies first immune defense. I like to mention this because I want you to take a moment to really think about that. When you are getting sick you will often have symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, fever.. etc. This usually cues us to take steps towards health and wellness.
When we experience symptoms on the skin such as inflammation or premature aging, we need to treat it the same way. The skin often displays signs externally of internal issues. In our culture, people go to the drugstore or dermatologist and find a cream made with chemicals and apply it topically to try and get the skin to behave the way they want it too. But that doesn’t address the problem. It only covers it up temporarily and can even lead to more toxins for the body to deal with. When the skin is showing signs of distress we need to look at that as an outward sign that something may be going on internally. Inflammation is the number one cause in most skin issues. There can be other concerns such as dehydration, malnutrition or allergies that need to be addressed to help alleviate the issue though. As you can see, there are many factors at play when addressing skin concerns which is why it is important that your skin be looked at as a part of the whole picture.
Sometimes the body can be so overloaded by toxins that it creates disease. Chemicals in food, beauty products and cleaning products can build up in the body and contribute to or as some research is showing, cause autoimmune disorders. An autoimmune disease is when white blood cells start attacking healthy cells and tissue. Parabens and Phthalates in cosmetics have been scientifically-proven to cause autoimmune dysfunction and cancer. Parabens have been found in 99% of breast cancer tissue sampled in one study. Another study has shown that Phthalates are in nearly 75% of cosmetics and aren’t even on the label as such. Phthalates are hormone-disrupting chemicals that are toxic to the reproductive system and also promote obesity. Conventional medicine will usually prescribe an immune suppressing drug which may be beneficial temporarily, but the causes of the disease need to be addressed as well to prevent further damage.
It is wise to be aware of the ingredients in the products we use on a daily basis to prevent unnecessary toxic build-up. Using these chemical-laden beauty products are even more toxic when used in the shower. When our bodies are warm and moist, the pores open and we absorb much more readily what we apply to our skin. Some particles that are small enough get absorbed into the tissues of the skin and can enter the blood stream and lymph. Using chemicals in the shower also increases the instance of them being inhaled which can effect the gut. This is very important for healthy immune function because 80% of your immune system is located in your gut. Awareness is key! Once we are aware of what we are putting onto our bodies, we can empower ourselves and our loved ones to make healthier choices that can lead us to a happier and healthier future.
How I can help:
Whether you are recovering from an illness or just need some good pampering, I can help by aiding in detoxification, stress reduction and application of nutrients to the skin. Most of the nutrients and water we take internally goes to support organs and systems within the body. The last organ to receive these nutrients is the skin! This is why it's important to treat skin care as "skin food." During a facial, I will also assist in the releasing of pressure and stress physically from the body by massage and acupressure. When our body is released of stress and the skin is infused with beneficial nutrients, your body goes into a state of healing and recovery. Some think that a facial is just a means of pampering for the high-maintenance individual but it can actually be a very helpful step in healing the mind, body and spirit. When our bodies are in a state of rest and recovery, healing touch can release beneficial hormones such as oxytocin and endorphins which create an over-all feeling of well being. Combined with beneficial nutrients and massage, you have an extremely relaxing, therapeutic treatment. I can also help to determine if the beauty products you are currently using may be contributing to a health concern and give you non-toxic options for your beauty regimen.
The Importance of a Positive Beauty Ritual:
Since the beginning of recorded history, ancient wisdom revered beauty and health in high regard. There is much to be said about the integration of healthy beauty rituals into the overall feelings of wellness. If we look at skin care products as medicine or “skin food,” we start to incorporate beneficial nutrients into our daily skin care routine instead of depleting our body of nutrients. This is how the ancient beauties got their glowing skin. The beauty ritual is as much medicine then as it is a form of hygiene and pampering. When we start to view skin care as a way to promote our health, it can also help boost our immunity.
Here are some examples of how we can boost our skin’s immunity with skin care:
Aloe Vera is one of the best cure-all’s for skin issues. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. It can be used as a treatment for acne, to moisturize and protect the skin, and it delivers a lot of nutrients as well. It is very beneficial for the immune system. It was called the “plant of immortality” by the Ancient Egyptians. Cleopatra and Nefertiti were known to have used it to keep looking young and beautiful. Organic aloe vera is in many of Elina Organics formula’s, the skin care line I am using in my treatment room.
In ancient Tibet, Sea Buckthorn oil was used on the skin and face to promote youthful, wrinkle free skin. It contains an abundance of vitamins A and E and is used in the treatment of acne, eczema, and dry skin. It also promotes healing of wounds and sunburns. Organic Sea Buckthorn oil is in many of the healing formula’s I currently use.
The Egyptian Queen Cleopatra was known as a “woman of surpassing beauty.” She attributed her youthful, soft skin to the use of goats milk in her beauty rituals. Not only does it provide soft, even toned skin, but it also contains beneficial fats, proteins and vitamins. It helps to gently exfoliate the skin while infusing it with nutrients that moisturize. Because of it’s high concentration of lactic acid, goats milk is extremely beneficial in treating psoriasis and eczema. I use organic dehydrated goats milk to enhance treatments.
Honey is another one of natures best remedies that is also very useful for achieving lovely skin. It has amazing anti-inflammatory and detoxification properties that can help heal and restore skin. It is useful for treating blemishes as it is anti-bacterial. It is packed full of anti-oxidants which is another very important nutrient for a youthful complexion as well as healthy immune function. Cleopatra was known to combine honey with milk for her cleansing ritual instead of using soap.
For centuries women from China have been using facial massage to keep their skin firm and smooth. Facial massage tones the muscles of the face and if performed regularly can have the effect of giving a natural facelift. Massage not only tones and firms muscles but it also increases circulation, which oxygenates the skin to bring improved clarity and product penetration. It also helps to detoxify the tissues by moving toxins through the lymphatic system. Combine facial massage with these power packed nutrients and you have an extremely healing treatment that will have you looking and feeling youthful and vibrant!
Now that we talked about providing your skin with nutrients that increase health and vitality, I want to talk about the importance of maintaining a healthy skin barrier for the best immune protection. Our skin is designed to absorb and secrete. It absorbs nutrients on the skin and secretes sweat and sebum. The skin also holds in moisture. Since our bodies are made up of mostly water, it is very important to keep the skin hydrated for ultimate immune function. We naturally have a layer of sweat and sebum on the skin called, the Acid Mantle, to keep beneficial nutrients in and filter toxins out. When this layer is scrubbed off in the shower, it can’t protect us and we are vulnerable to particles entering our skin. It is then most valuable for your immune system to apply organic oils or lotions to the skin after washing to keep essential moisture and nutrients in and foreign particles out.
Infusing the skin with nourishing oils combined with massage will help keep you healthy and radiating a vibrant glow. Coconut oil is one of my favorite body oils. It is anti-bacterial, anti-viral anti-fungal and has a wealth of beneficial fats and vitamins. Hemp Seed oil is another one of my favorites. It is rich in vitamins A & E and is a great source of antioxidants. It is high in Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids and has anti-inflammatory properties. I use a combination of organic coconut and hemp seed oil for my massages. Getting into a routine of massaging oil into your skin after a bath or shower will be a health giving, skin nourishing ritual that can keep you feeling young and your immune system in tip top shape.