By Thi T. Tran, DO
September is National Skin Care Awareness month. Because our skin is the largest organ throughout our bodies, taking care of it should be more of a priority that most individuals realize.
Many people don’t know that everything that touches our skin penetrates into our body, bloodstream, and organs. It’s important to try and use the most natural ingredients and stave off chemical-laden products as much as possible. In addition to using organic, natural based skin care, soap and avoiding toxins, protecting your skin from environmental pollutants and the suns harmful rays are critical.
How Environmental pollutants affect the skin
Not only do the pollutants in the air adversely affect the respiratory system, but these toxins also damage the skin as well. Pollutants like cigarette smoke, VOC’s (fumes from paint, carpeting, and furniture), PAH’s (burning coal, wood, trash, rubber, and oil), are harmful toxic chemicals that leech into the air and penetrate through our skins natural outer barrier, causing aging, inflammatory and allergic responses. Cigarette smoke, in particular, emits carbon monoxide, which penetrates the skin and causes a reduction in blood flow, depletes nutrients and vitamins, and diminishes the skins protective barrier. Once the protective barrier is damaged, your risk of skin cancer increases. The Sun’s Harmful Rays UV radiation has multiple levels; for example, UVC rays are the most damaging to the skin and eyes, but the ozone layer blocks many of the rays naturally. UVA rays play a huge role in causing skin damage and aging. The wavelengths of UVA rays are long and are therefore less harmful than UVB rays. However, UVB rays are extremely damaging to the skin and eyes and can cause cancer. UVB rays are shorter wavelengths and consequently can even penetrate through glass, so when you’re driving in your car or sitting by a window at work, the UVB radiation can harm you. It’s best to always protect yourself by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing.
How You Can Protect Your Skin
The best way to shield your skin is to avoid topical chemicals and toxic air pollutants. Wear protective clothing if you work in an environment with fumes and harmful byproducts, stop smoking and eat a healthy diet.
What else can you do?
Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen, preferably a natural one, with no harmful chemicals, and also wear protective clothing like large-brimmed hats, long sleeves, and sunglasses. Because early detection is the key to successful treatment, Dr. Tran at Village Dermatology continues to emphasize the importance of regular skin cancer screenings, knowing that proactive prevention is the smartest strategy. This will also allow Dr. Tran to diagnose any other skin disorders or disease that may be affecting you.
Foods can play a huge role in protecting your skin
• Green Tea-Full of antioxidants and polyphenols fights free radicals, contains EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate), which flushes out toxins and speeds metabolism
• Olive Oil- flushes out toxins.
• Turmeric-powerful anti-inflammatory
• Berries-antioxidants and detoxification
• Bright vegetables (red peppers, carrots, blue potatoes)-Contain high levels of antioxidants, carotenoids and vitamin c
• Coconut Oil- A medium chain triglyceride that contains high levels of vitamin E, and it has potent antifungal and antibacterial properties
• Cucumber- Helps to flush out water retention and hydrate the skin, contains vitamin k, b, copper, and potassium
• Fatty Fish-Omega 3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important for your skin and brains health and vibrancy
• Leafy Greens- Full of vitamin K, which helps with arterial and kidney decalcification, as well as strong bones and teeth
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