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Face It!

The writing provides readers with a renewed view of the skin's role in daily life, two things that hurt it and three remedies.

We're Overworked, and not getting any younger.  We see it in the mirror everyday.  I'm not talking about just the face.  I am talking about the skin covering the face.   

The skin is the body's major organ.  Have you ever thought about just how hard the skin works daily to hold the body together, much less assist in "putting your best foot" forward when it comes to first impressions?  We need to take care of this precious asset. 

The skin has two things in common with real estate, it houses our body and it's limited.  In order to understand the importance of caring for it I will share some physiological functions of the skin, so you see, in part, the process to retain soft, supple and younger looking skin.  I won't get too technical, but I think you should know some of the features and functions of this miraculous machine.   

Our skin has three layers, the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous, and they are constantly on the go restoring and regenerating.  It makes me tired just thinking about how much it does and never stops, even when we sleep.  These layers contain a mixture of lipids, calcium, magnesium, ions and gradients of PH that need constant hydration for the cells, or corneocytes and stratum corneum (skin cells) to develop and mature.  According to an article in Alternative Medicine by Jane Fore-Pfliger (Advances in Skin and Wound Care, Oct. 2004) natural moisturizing occurs if hydration remains in homeostasis.  That sounds simple enough.  Just drink water and stay balanced, right? 

Constant exposure to the elements externally, and internal nutritional intake predicated by lifestyle, affects the stability of this essential hydration level.  These days, eating on the run is trendy.  Who has time to do otherwise? We work hard and look forward to vacations on the beach.  By the time you get to the beach sunscreen and moisturizers are forgotten, not to mention a bottle of water left on the counter in the hotel room.  And grabbing a beer from the beach bar is not the answer.  It's dehydrating.  

The major external element that causes grief is the sun.  Over exposure thickens the skin forming melanin, which damages the skin. (   Without a brain, or us using ours, this organ has unseen, natural and miraculous mechanisms to repair itself from this thickening.  Many years of tanning, however shuts it down causing permanent wrinkles and lesions. 

Too much sun exposure on the eyes causes the same phenomenon.  We call them cataracts.  Now, they can be surgically removed, but what about the skin? 

An argument for the sun might be that we get Vitamin D from it, but I recommend eating spinach, eggs, fish oil, and liver instead.    Vitamin D misrepresents itself.  It is really not a vitamin.  It is a steroid hormone that is necessary in regulating levels of calcium and phosphorus, and mineral metabolism and the sun assists in synthesizing it in our bodies.  Yes, we need it and we can't overdose on the hormone itself by our interaction with the sun, but the "skin" can overdose on too much sun causing this "hide" to grow, or setting up sensitivity issues, like photsensitivity, shown by hives, rashes, blisters, and burns.  

Our skin naturally has scavengers of oxygen-free radicals, but the sun depletes them.  They can be replaced with vitamins A, C, E, selenium, CoQ10, and alpha-lipoic acid.  If your lifestyle choices won't permit you to stay out of the sun and eat spinach and liver, then the next best thing to care for your skin is over-counter antioxidant cream. Take vitamin C and E together, internally, too.  According to one study ascorbic acid may even promote collagen production, which helps in skin hydration.  You might consider using topical green tea skin care products and use sunscreen every two hours. Or even take vitamin D supplements.   But consider these last two very carefully.  

According to R. Bowen of the Physiology Department at Colorado State University sunscreen with greater than SPF of 8 blocks synthesis of vitamin D in the skin.  Baits are laced with vitamin D and effectively take care of rodents.  So don't overdose on Vitamin D supplements either.  Obviously, it can be very toxic. 

Dr. Andrew Weil in Vail, Arizona, a supporter of integrative medicine, says just stay out of the sun, if after a few minutes signs of photosensitivity occur.  The high times and months to pay particular attention to your parlay with the sun is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. during the months of April through September. When you are in the sun, always use a sunblock with an SPF of 15 or higher.  Use about an ounce twenty minutes before going out.  

Now I don't know which doctor is correct in their assertion, but it is something to look into to determine your own body's threshold. 

All I know is I work hard and my skin does, too, and I need help taking care of it.  I go to an aesthetician, a skin expert, and get a facial at my nearest day spa.  I go to pamper myself, put my feet up, lay back, relax and let someone else do the work to take care of my skin.   

Spas have evolved since 25 BC and skin experts inside spas evolve with them.  The first spa on record was in Spa, Belgium in 1326 and our first North America spa was founded in New York in the early 1800's.  Spas remain fashionable, and now are in Vogue, literally; 

According to the 2003 census there are 1,381 hair, nail and skin care establishments in my local area, not to mention 1,226 additional beauty salons, which probably offer skin care services.   

As I make my way through our burgeoning communities avoiding major traffic areas, taking all the side streets and back roads, more salon signs appear.  The convenience can't be beat.  I found one four blocks from my home.  Aah!  I won't be going to Italy just yet.  My face isn't quite ready for that, but I can enjoy some of the Tuscan Sun (Salon, Day Spa and La Boutique) pretty close to my own backyard.  I can feel good in more ways than one.  I'll contribute to the environment by putting my "best foot forward" because I can walk to it and my face will get the attention it deserves.  I bet with the current trend you'll stumble across a few in your neighborhoodFind Article, too.

Article Tags: Take Care, Skin Care

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Linda also studied painting at the Art Academy in Loveland, CO and loves to travel, write, paint, design, and decorate.

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