The skin is the body’s largest organ; it is so much more than a surface to be cleaned and dressed up. In fact, the skin is an alive, dynamic and complex organization of microorganisms, nerves, glands and trillions of cells, which orchestrate together to serve as a protective barrier, detoxification system and a large part of your immune system.
As a barrier system, the skin helps shield your internal organs and body from thermal, chemical, environmental, electromagnetic and other types of external stress. It is also capable of producing its own protective microbial layers to protect you the body from infection, while enabling the body to manufacture vitamin D when exposed to sun light.
If you’ve ever been cut, scratched or even caressed, then you understand the powerful nerve system that the skin has, and just how quickly it communicates with your brain and the rest of your nervous system. A nice massage versus a cut on your bare skin makes a world of a difference in the types of neurotransmitters secreted by the endocrine system, demonstrating the importance your skin has in your body’s interactions with your environment.
While good skin hygiene is obviously important for maintaining healthy skin; only focusing on hygiene and ignoring the other complex functions of the skin can lead to many issues and myths about what it takes to keep the skin healthy.
The Most Common Skin Care Myths
Some of the most widely held “truths” about proper skin care are actually myths. Among the most flagrant and egregious examples are:
1. The Sun is Bad: Despite misinformation, the sun is one of the most magical sources of nourishing energy there is. In fact, more people don’t get enough sunlight, than too much. The results of insufficient sunlight attribute to many issues today, including hormonal imbalance, low energy, weak immunity and skin problems. So if you desire optimal health and skin, getting healthy sun exposure should be on your list.
While there is such a thing as too much sun exposure (thermal stress), your body does have a natural, built-in mechanism to tell you – getting sun burn. As long as you are not getting burned, then you are ensuring optimal sun exposure.
The sun is one of the only true sources of vitamin D, needed for immune function, kidney function and hormonal balance (all things necessary for radiant skin). Not to mention, nothing looks quite as good on your skin as a nice golden tan.
2. Tanning is Bad: Extending the depths of myth 1, it is also false that getting a tan will result in aged, wrinkled and unhealthy skin. While it is not advised to burn and overdo your sun exposure, getting regular sunlight will increase the production of skins melanocyte cells, which will help increase protective pigment that not only results in a beautiful tan, but also further protects your skin from sun damage. To put it to perspective, darker skinned people usually have exceptionally beautiful skin that tends to age more gracefully and wrinkle less!
When first starting out; especially if you are fair skinned, minimize your sun exposure to 10-15 minutes and slowly increase time in the sun over a period. The goal is to get as much sun as you can without being burned. This will actually increase the health of your skin and its ability to protect itself, on top of giving it a beautiful glow.
Also, for a tip, to increase your body’s ability to protect itself from the sun and improve your skin tone and health, try supplementing astaxanthin (this is naturally occurring in wild salmon as well). Astaxanthin can help improve skin moisture levels, elasticity, and overall smoothness while reducing fine lines, freckles, and age spots.
3. Spray Tans Are Better than Sunlight: With the invalidation of sun exposure, came the solution of spray on tan. However, unlike the sun, these chemical alternatives to a natural tan come with quite the laundry list of toxic ingredients. Spray on and rub on tans contain ingredients that are completely unnatural with no studies ever done on the potential sides effects on human health.
However, we do know that the main active ingredients in in spray-on tanning products (dihydroxyacetone), which is the color additive that darkens the skin, is often traced with contaminants of heavy metals like lead, arsenic and mercury. There is some evidence concludes the heavy metal toxicity of dihydroxyacetone may be a capable of mutating and breaking DNA strands, which can lead to rapid aging and even skin cancer.
Overall, there is too much evidence, on top of simple experience, that the sun is infinitely healthier than any chemical, commercial product. We suggest getting your tan from mother nature!
4. Sunscreen is Good: Similar to the use of spray on tans, sunscreen was a solution to the “dangers” of sunlight. The only problem is, sunscreen contains toxic chemicals (known to cause skin cancer!), and also deflects and scatters the sun’s rays on your skin. The problem with this is that the sun contains full spectrum UV rays (not just UV B), and full spectrum light is actually great for our health; it helps attribute to a natural circadian rhythm and endocrine balance.
Also, UV B is not all that bad; especially paired with other full spectrum UV light in the sun. It is UV B that is responsible for your skin’s production of vitamin D. While you want to avoid too much contact with UV A, most sunscreen doesn’t achieve this. Not to mention, most of them contain a large amount of common toxic ingredients, including oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate.
Again, do not fear the sun, just improve your relationship to it, clear your body of toxins and life a natural, and healthy lifestyle. Do this and the sun will be one of your major sources of healing and beautiful skin.
5. All Skincare Products Are Safe: Most skincare products are produced commercial and contain up to 10,500 synthetic, chemical ingredients. Most of those ingredients (80%), have never been reviewed and studied to be considered safe for use!
Most skin care products on the market contain known carcinogens, cancer causing and endocrine disrupting, organ damaging chemical agents including parabens, phthalates, triclosan and so many more. To learn in detail about the negative side effects of the common ingredients in commercial skin care products, be sure to download our free eBook.
In short, most skin care products are completely awful for your skin and health. Very few products are made with integrity and high-quality ingredients that are 100% natural to the body. So when choosing skincare products remember the golden rule; anything you put on your skin will be absorbed directly into your blood. So if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t use it!
Also, always make sure your skin care products are made from 100% organic, natural raw materials, essential oils, and other natural ingredients from the Earth!
6. Hygiene is Most Important (wash 3 times a day): In the West, it is recommended to wash, tone and moisturize a few times a day. Not only is this not entirely necessary (if your skin is healthy), most of the times, the products being used to achieve the job make matters worse.
In short, a healthy skin microbiome is going to help protect the skin and maintain the pH. If the bacteria on the skin are compromised, it will result in inflammation and skin issues. So, the primary goal for healthy skin, is a healthy skin microbiome, which is destroyed by over washing, and especially by the use of most commercial skincare products which are usually very toxic.
With that being said, there is definitely a time and place for keeping your skin moisturized, such as during dry and winter seasons and after cleansing the skin. Same goes for cleansing and toning; however, you want to make sure you are using 100% organic skin care products that support the natural functioning of the skin.
Holistic Tips for Healthy Skin
In order to have radiant and healthy skin, you want to support the health of the skin microbiome, which means you want to avoid things that disrupt it. One of the major causes of skin problems is toxic accumulation, which leads to stress and inflammation. So, probably more important than cleansing the surface of your skin, is to cleanse your internal organs of toxic substances, while feeding your skin and organs the finest nutrients via diet.
Keep in mind the same organs responsible for detoxification, are the same ones that ensure you have healthy and beautiful skin. These include the liver, kidneys, adrenals, thyroid, and intestines.
For some tips on keeping your body free of toxins, consider the following:
• Support the Liver and Kidneys: Your liver and kidneys are the two primary filters of impurities in the body. They filter your blood 24/7 and anything you come into contact with. If your diet and environment are riddled with toxins, they will become fatigued and your skin will show it. Care for them by healing up your diet and environment of all toxins. Eat plenty of bitter foods (dandelion, beets, aloe), to ensure healthy liver function. And keep your kidneys healthy with enough mineralized water, sleep and minimal stress.
• Minimize Stress: When you are in a chronic state of stress, your adrenals overproduce stress hormones that shut down the production of other hormones like pregnenolone, DHEA, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. These hormones are crucial to good health and beautiful skin. Keep in mind, adrenal fatigue is not as much of a physical condition as it is a mental and emotional one. The adrenals become weak when one is constantly perceiving their environment as a dangerous one. Try implementing gratitude practices and generally focusing on what you enjoy about life to decrease stress hormone.
• Tonify your Intestines: Your small- and large intestines are what assimilate all the nutrients your skin needs. They are also responsible for eliminating all the toxic waste from your body. If they fail, your skin becomes malnourished and inflamed. To ensure optimal intestinal health, be sure to focus your diet around plenty of vegetables, quality water, and do away with chronic negative emotions that will tense your intestines and shut off good elimination.
• Upgrade & Purify your Diet: Eating a low-sugar or ideally sugar-free diet, focused on whole, organic foods. This will ensure your body isn’t taking in massive amounts of toxins via your diet and also aid in the natural detoxification processes. Some of the best foods for the skin would be fish and animal-based omega-3 fats. These essential fats help normalize skin lipids and prevent dehydration in skin cells. They ensure strong cells that are full of moisture, which means smooth, youthful skin. A lack of fatty acids can result in inflammatory skin problems like acne and eczema, considering that omega-3s are anti-inflammatory.
• Use All-Natural and Organic skin care products: Avoid all products that have toxic chemicals and synthetic ingredients. Please consider Alitura Naturals, which uses only ultra-effective ingredients that come from nature.