Skin maintains body structure. It forms a physical barrier protecting the body from the external environment and it is a fundamental part of self-image. A good diet is essential to help maintain the vitality and condition of the skin. Antioxidant nutrients are particularly important as these can help protect the skin from damage by free radicals, highly active substances generated by internal and external environmental factors.
Key supplements can help safeguard intake of nutrients involved in the health of the skin. Evening primrose oil provides omega 6 fatty acids, nutrients that help maintain skin condition. Vitamin C is required for the synthesis of collagen, which is the major structural component of skin. Zinc is essential to skin renewal. Antioxidant supplements such as beta carotene help provide protection for the skin.
The skin is the largest organ, it is flexible, waterproof and covers the entire outside of the body. It performs several important roles such as a sensory mechanism for feeling sensations such as heat, cold, as well as socio-sexual and emotional sensations. It regulates body temperature and prevents tissue fluid loss from the body. Fluid loss in the skin leads to dry skin and a wrinkled appearance. As we age levels of silica reduce and with it less flexibility. The skin contains high levels of Omega 6 fatty acids and reduced levels are also a factor for skin integrity and problems.
The skin is made up of three layers – the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue. The epidermis is the thin outermost layer of the skin that serves as a waterproof barrier to the environment. Under the epidermis is a thicker layer of skin called the dermis that contains collagen and elastin to keep the skin firm and flexible and give it a supple appearance. Higher intakes of collagen may maintain this supple appearance and less wrinkles.
Deeper in the dermis are sweat glands that connect to the surface of the skin through narrow, spiral-shaped sweat ducts – these are called the pores of the skin. The sebaceous glands secrete an oily substance called sebum that moisturizes the skin (keeping it soft). The subcutaneous layer is a layer of fat and connective tissue that consists of larger blood vessels and nerves.
This layer regulates the temperature of the skin itself and the body while protecting other organs from injury by acting as a ‘shock absorber’. There are many natural products which protect and help maintain the skin and its function in good condition and well moisturised. In addition, there are also anti-aging skincare remedies as well as natural hair and nail treatments and vitamins to optimize skin care. Many skin problems can be caused or aggravated by synthetic preservatives or surfactants in skin care or hair treatment products. Body-care products from specialists like Neal’s Yard Remedies or Weleda offer safer options .
Natrium muriaticum (Nat. mur.) is a biochemic tissue salt which helps to maintain the body’s water balance and is an essential component of all living cells. This tissue salt has an excellent reputation for effectively treating sensitive skin condition that is associated with blisters and watery discharge from the skin. Vitamin A and Zinc are needed to counteract common skin problems of acne, whilst Vitamin e used topically is not only a good moisturiser it is a means of reducing scars or stretch marks.
Spirulina can help to promote skin metabolism and lessen scarring, while the herb Dandelion can be used to naturally detox and renew the skin and purify the blood and lymphatic system. Other herbs such as Horsetail and Rosemary can also be beneficial – helping to smooth, soften and retain supple texture, while helping to strengthen and tone the skin. Rutin, and hesperidin are bioflavonoids which help circulation and collagen repair.