Over the years, I have had many patients — almost always women–ask me what they could do about their skin. When I would ask: “What’s wrong with your skin?” They would invariably say: “It’s not attractive.” It took me years to figure out what that answer meant.
There are many diseases that manifest themselves through the skin:
Anemia – the skin is pale. Jaundice – the skin is yellow.
Nervous disorders – the skin is flushed or red.
Infections – the skin has spots or blisters or papules.
Insufficient oxygen – the skin is blue.
Dehydration– The skin will look dry and flaky when a patient is dehydrated.
When a person has no illness the skin looks ordinary – but, not necessarily attractive.
THE SKIN AS AN ORGAN
In medicine, the Skin is classified as an Organ. The skin is the largest organ of the body.
It controls the body temperature and the level of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium. It plays a large role in the circulation of blood in the body. It plays a major role in immunity and protects the body from invasion of micro-organisms. It is the largest organ for receiving sensory information from the outside world. It retains the water of our body and creates Vitamin D when acted upon by sunlight.
THE BEAUTY OF SKIN….
When I think of skin, I think of the skin of all animals, not just humans.
Mammals have fur, birds have feathers, fish and reptiles have scales. All these skins identify their owners and also serve as protection. Most animals have extremely attractive skins.
Just think of this baby Panda Bear without skin. Where is the beauty located?
If we think of birds such as the Cardinal,
or the Blue Jay
We can see, instantly, that it is their skin which makes them beautiful.
Thus, I concluded, these women are right – it is their skin that makes them attractive. I then analyzed what makes skin attractive? Obviously, if the skin is healthy, it is attractive. A baby or a child has very healthy and attractive skin.
That health derives from two things:
1. Nutrition and,
NUTRITION OF THE SKIN
All cells require nutrients in order to survive and function. In order to understand the nutrition of the skin, we must understand the anatomy of the skin.
ANATOMY OF THE SKIN
The skin has three major layers:
The epidermis is the skin layer that is visible, covering the entire body from head to toe. The epidermis is in itself made up of three separate layers, which are all comprised of millions of connecting tissues of different thickness woven together. The epidermis under your eyes is very thin, whereas it is thick on your heel.
The epidermis acts as a barrier, and because of this it takes a constant beating and is always being shed. New skin is constantly being made in the bottom layer of the epidermis to replace the top layer. The epidermis is scattered with pores and shafts that contain hairs, and also holds melanin, which is what gives your skin its color or pigmentation to protect from the UV light produced by the sun.
The dermis is the hub of all operations in the skin where a lot of action takes place. The dermis is tucked away between the epidermis and hypodermis. It is the layer that holds all the blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, collagen and sweat glands. Capillaries (tiny blood vessels) supply nutrients to the skin and the nerves give our sense of touch, while tiny muscle fibers control the raising and lowering of hairs and goose pimples. The dermis is also responsible for catching, trapping and dealing with any stray bacteria that has been able to travel through the epidermis.
Temperature control is the main job of this deep layer of skin, the hypodermis. This is because fatty deposits and collagen are found here, which insulate our bodies and make sure that we stay warm. The hypodermis is also where adipose tissues are found. Adipose tissues are all the connective tissues that form this layer of skin, and the hypodermis acts like a shock absorbing mechanism to reduce impact from outside and keep us free from injury.
This is the layer we see when we look at skin. It is composed of five layers, but since you are not a medical student you needn’t learn them. Suffice it to say that the top layer is dead cells and the bottom layer is living cells that constantly regenerate themselves.
The bottom layer needs nutrients, including oxygen. It also needs to eliminate waste products. All cells of the body need nutrients and they need to eliminate waste products. If you remember these two facts you will understand how to keep your skin healthy and beautiful.
Here is a diagram of the epidermis or top layer of your skin:
EPIDERMIS SKIN LAYERS
The top layer of skin is what we see, but like everything in life, what we don’t see is the most important area.
The bottom layer of the Epidermis is the layer of living and regenerating cells. Those cells need nutrition. Nutrition can come from the blood supply below, but, it can also come from above. Supplying nutrition from above is something only humans can do.
Humans have been supplying nutrition to their skin for thousands of years. They do this by coating their skin with oil. The oil carries nutrients which helps feed the cells of the regenerating layer. In each part of the world a different oil is used. The oils are always beneficial, but, perhaps, one is better than all the others.
OILING THE SKIN
In the Bible, written two thousand years ago, the reader is advised to oil the skin and enjoy life. The verse is found in Ecclesiastes along with other wise sayings. The people who wrote the Bible were probably anointing their head with oil of the Olive tree, since that was the oil of the Mediterranean.
In other areas of the world Grape Seed Oil is used, Jojoba Oil is used and in Asia, the oil from the Coconut Palm Tree is used. Oils from every nut and seed have been used, as people try to keep their skin attractive, by feeding the regenerating cells from the skin surface.
WHICH OIL IS THE BEST?
Most people think that Asian women maintain an attractive skin into old age. This may be genetic, but it may be due to the use of Coconut Oil. The Indians who practice Ayurvedic Medicine have been using Coconut oil for thousands of years. They massage the coconut oil into the skin and hair, and the results are impressive.
We recall that cells need nutrients, but that they also need circulation in order to remove waste products. Part of applying oil to the skin, should be massage.
If the oil is simply rubbed on the skin without massage, only half the job is done. The massage forces the waste products into the veins where they are carried back to the heart and then flushed out of the body through the kidneys.
The combination of supplying nutrients and removing waste products is a necessary combination. Neither part is beneficial alone.
The cells of our skin are the mirror of our body. They reflect our genetic make-up, like the fur of the Panda Bear, and they reflect the state of our health.
We can improve the well being of the cells of our skin by providing them with additional nutrients from the surface of the skin. Birds and mammals also do this by preening and licking their fur or feathers.
Humans have been aiding their skin cells by applying oil to the surface of the skin and then massaging the skin, thereby forcing the oil into the regenerating cells and forcing waste products away from those cells.
Coconut oil, seems to me, to be the best oil for its nutritious benefits and its effect on the immune system. With a little daily care, your skin can be healthy and beautiful.