Discovering Your Skin: Its Purpose and the Four Different Skin Types

Did you know that your skin is the largest organ on your body?  People often think of skin in terms of what it looks or feels like-rarely giving a thought to what it actually does for you.  Believe it or not, your skin is actually a protective barrier that provides the following functions:

  • It is a natural pathway for one of the most important hormones, Vitamin D, to enter your body.  Vitamin D is a necessity for optimal health;
  • It helps to detoxify the body through perspiration;
  • It prevents your internal organs from being exposed to the elements;
  • It prevents viruses and bacteria from entering your body; and
  • It has a high amount of receptors that communicate weather conditions to your brain (which is why you know if you are hot or cold)

These are the things that all healthy skin has in common; however, when it comes to skin types, well that’s where things begin to differ. According to dermatologists, skin can be divided into four basic types: sensitive, under-active, active, and overactive.

 

  • Sensitive skin is generally a delicate, thin skin that is dry. It is usually a lighter color and tone; and is therefore, more prone to aging due to excessive heat, cold, wind, and ultraviolet light. Because of its thin texture, the capillaries are closer to the skin, which makes this skin easily irritated. Sensitive skin also does not do well with synthetic chemicals in skin care products, such as fragrances, colorants and preservatives.  Therefore, it should be cleansed with a mild cleanser with all natural ingredients.
  • Underactive Skin is similar to sensitive skin in that it is generally fair skin that burns easily. This skin type lacks elasticity and plumpness, and is prone to peeling and flaking because the sebum (natural oil) production is lacking or damaged. One of the best courses of action for this skin type is increased blood circulation through massages. Also hydrate this skin type with a rich moisturizer like squalane both morning and night.
  • Active Skin is not as common as other skin types. It is normally found in pre-adolescents or health oriented adults, i.e. those adults who eat a very healthy plant based diet with very little sugar or simple carbohydrates.  It most often has a firm, supple and smooth appearance, and radiates good health inside and out
  • Overactive Skin is generally hereditary and is prone to high sebum production. This skin type is usually thick in texture with large pores, especially around the nose area.  The appearance of the skin is usually smooth, plumper, and younger looking than underactive skin due to the excessive oil production. In adolescence, this skin is more prone to acne.

 

To treat all of these skin types, it is important to choose products with ingredients that are botanically based and scented with essential oils. Your skin is a living organism. Therefore, you should choose products with ingredients that are as close to food as possible, so that you can provide the much needed nourishment that all living things need in order to be healthy. CUSH’s Stay Young Anti-Aging Collection would be a great start towards maintaining beautiful skin.

Toxic Chemicals to Avoid when Purchasing Personal Care Products

Studies continue to show that personal care items have a high amount of toxins that can be extremely harmful, if not deadly, to people who use them. It is estimated that each day, women wear about 515 chemicals on their bodies from head to toe. The degenerative diseases that these chemicals are linked to include the following: cancer from eye shadow, kidney damage from synthetic perfumes, hormone disruption from body lotions and shampoos, and premature puberty from nail polish, just to name a few.  Needless to say these findings are disturbing; however, they borderline something more sinister when you consider that they are also found in personal care products that babies use each and every day.  How do these harmful toxins find their way into our personal care products?

 

Unfortunately, the cosmetics industry is highly unregulated and do not have to list many of the harmful ingredients found in their products. With that said, what can you do to avoid exposure to these toxic chemicals? You should know which harmful chemicals are the most prevalent so that you can avoid them. Below is a handy list of the most frequently used toxic chemicals that you should be aware of:

 

Chemicals Used as a Preservative

Parabens

  • methylparaben
  • propylparaben
  • butylparaben
  • Ethylparaben

DMDM Hydantoin

Moisturizing Chemicals

Propylene Glycol
Butylene Glycol
Polyisobutene

Cleansers

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Sodium Laureth Sulfate
Sodium Myreth Sulfate

Petrochemicals

Petrolatum
Mineral Oil
Paraffin

Chemicals Used for Sunscreens

Oxybenzone
Avobenzone
Octinoxate

Solubulizers

Phthalates

Dandruff Caused by Scalp Eczema or Psoriasis: Why it Occurs and How to Treat It!

For some women itchy scalp conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis, which includes eczema and psoriasis, are not just harmless medical issues that should be ignored.  In some cases, the constant scratching and brushing can become a social nightmare.  I mean seriously, how can a true fashionista claim her throne if she’s frantically brushing dandruff off her shoulders-sorry ladies but Jay-Z’s song, “Dirt Off Your Shoulders” doesn’t apply to these two serious scalp conditions.  So what’s a girl to do? First let’s look at the why seborrheic dermatitis conditions such as eczema or psoriasis occurs.

 

Why It Happens

 According to a team of researchers from Proctor and Gamble, dandruff occurs due to an abundance of both oil and a yeast-like fungus called malassezia globosa, which lives on your scalp and feeds on the oily products of the sebaceous glands.   When this happens, the fungus uses enzymes called lipases to metabolize the oils, and that process creates a by-product called oleic acid. The acid penetrates your skin and triggers the skin to shed-which is also known as dandruff.

 

The Cause

 

Eczema is generally caused by food allergens like nuts, wheat, seafood, eggs, and fruit; while on the other hand psoriasis is usually caused by environmental triggers such as the following:

  • SLS based soaps and detergents;
  • Synthetic fragrances (aka perfumes); and
  • Metals such as nickel (used in braces) or mercury, tin, copper, and alloy (metals that are in dental fillings in your teeth).
  • Medications
  • Poor Diet or malabsorption

The Triggers

Both conditions become worse with stress; however in addition, psoriasis becomes worse with cold, dry weather and tends to get better with sunny, warm, humid weather.  Since psoriasis acts like an autoimmune disease, any illnesses of the sinuses or a sore throat could cause the psoriasis to flare up again.

The Treatment

I. Topically

Luckily, treating eczema and psoriasis is relatively easy. Topical treatments for these conditions include:

  • Shampoos that have the active ingredient selenium sulfide or zinc pyrithione because these ingredients kill the fungus;
  • Oregano or tea tree oil applied to the scalp-these ingredients are anti-fungal, anti inflammatory, and anti-bacterial
  • Distilled vinegar or apple cider vinegar which are also antibacterial

II. Nutritionally

 

Both conditions are generally linked to food intolerances and multiple chemical sensitivities so it’s a good idea to clean up your diet-starting with a detox diet.

  • Omit grains, sugar, pasta, rice, and fruits from your diet because the odds are your intestinal gut flora is imbalanced and full of yeast/candida and these foods promote yeast in your body.
  • Eat more vegetables and natural meats
  • Add a high quality omega 3 fatty acid to your diet, such as Carlson’s Fish Oil or Cod Liver Oil
  • Add a vitamin D3 supplement to your diet. The odds are that you are very deficient in this vitamin. Please note that you don’t have to take a vitamin D supplement if you are taking cod liver oil because vitamin D is already added to the cod liver oil.
  • Add a probiotic supplement to your diet-I highly recommend Garden of Life’s Primal Defense Ultra Probiotic.
  • Add a digestive enzyme such as Garden of Life Omega-Zyme.

A healthy gut should be comprised of 85% good bacteria and 15% bad. Most people have just the opposite. So making these dietary changes will get your gut flora on the road to recovery. When your gut flora is healthy, your dandruff problems and most other medical conditions should just clear up naturally.