Our Wrapping: the Skin We’re InOct 30, 2020 09:30AM ● By Wendell Fowler
According to National Geographic, “Skin is our largest organ— adults carry some 8 pounds and 22 square feet of it. Skin performs a variety of different functions which include physically protecting our bones, muscles and internal organs, shielding the body from outside diseases, allowing us to feel and react to heat and cold and using blood to regulate body heat.” Skin is a huge sensor packed with nerves for keeping the brain in touch with the outside world. At the same time, it’s an amazingly versatile organ that allows us free movement. Regardless of color or tone, skin does more than make us presentable. In fact, without it, we’d literally evaporate. Human skin is also home to millions of beneficial bacteria known as skin microbiota.
Have you ever poked your skin thinking, “Wow, that’s the skin I’ve had since birth?” Actually, miraculous human body intelligence replaces skin cells every two to three weeks. Scientific America says, cells in the superficial or upper layers of skin, known as the epidermis, are constantly replacing themselves. This process of renewal is exfoliation (shedding) of the epidermis. Perhaps it’s a myth, but many suggest that a large amount of dust in the home is actually dead skin.
Vitamin D is particularly important for bone health and immune system function. The NIH says, “The skin is produces vitamin D. During exposure to sunlight, ultraviolet radiation penetrates into the epidermis and photolyzes pro vitamin D3 to previtamin D3.” MedicalNewsToday.com adds, “The sun is our best natural source of vitamin D. Spending even a short time in the sun can provide the body with all of the vitamin D it needs for the day. According to the Vitamin D Council, this could be 15 minutes for a person with light skin, and a couple of hours for a person with dark skin. Skin is a synthesizer. Vitamin D intake is recommended at 400–800 IU/day, or 10–20 micrograms. However, some studies suggest a higher daily intake of 1000–4000 IU (25–100 micrograms) is needed to maintain optimal blood levels according to Healthline.com. Sublingual D-3 is my go-to.
Under the impression I’d become golden tanned, this red-headed, fairskinned, freckled writer is currently recovering from the painful removal of several nasty squamous cell cancerous spots, caused by too much sun during youthful carefree days on the beach. WebMD explains, “Skin cancer is the most prevalent form of all cancers in the U.S. and the number of cases continues to rise. It’s the unrestrained growth of abnormal skin cells. This rapid growth results in tumors, which are either benign or malignant. Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes we think of as a normal part of aging. Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages fibers in the skin’s elastin.
What we eat affects our wrapping. Mayo clinic shares the best foods for healthy skin are carrots, apricots, and other yellow and orange fruits and veggies. Then there’s spinach and leafy greens, tomatoes, berries, beans, peas, lentils, salmon, mackerel and other fatty fish and nuts. Consuming around 8 glasses daily of filtered water flushes toxins from the kidneys helping promote glowing, clearer skin.
Extra virgin olive oil, oils of lemon balm, almonds, jojoba, olive, avocado, germanium, sunflower seed, lavender, sesame seed and camellia help keep skin nourished and protected. “Coconut oil is packed with nourishing fatty acids, which help keep skin cells moist and strong by minimizing water loss,” says dermatologist David Colbert, M.D., who has studied the skin benefits of oils over 15 years.
Skin is mostly made of the protein collagen. “Diet plays a surprisingly large role in the appearance and youthfulness of your skin,” says certified holistic nutritionist Krista Goncalves, CHN. “And that all comes down to collagen, the protein that gives skin its structure, suppleness, and stretch. As we age, our body produces less collagen, hence the tendency toward wrinkles and thinning skin. Published in the Journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, a study showed that women who consumed extra collagen had higher levels of skin elasticity after four weeks than those who took a placebo. Berries, egg whites, white meat chicken, bone broth, marine collagen from fish, especially the skin, and shellfish. Villainous sugar, refined carbs, and toxins in cigarette smoke can damage collagen / elastin according to VeryWellMind.com research.
The exquisitely evolved human body’s engineering intelligence outshines virtually everything else that exists. Even scientists and engineers can’t come close to duplicating its beauty, performance, and complexity. Our skin is one result of an extraordinarily intelligent architect.
Chef Wendell is an inspirational speaker, syndicated writer, and author who shares his science-supported message of the mind-body benefits of a plant-based diet and lifestyle, and that disease is not necessarily your fault. Visit ChefWendell.com for more information.