How To Keep Your Skin in Tip Top Condition
When we hear the term vital organs, our thoughts usually turn to the star performers like our heart, lungs or kidneys. We often forget that the skin is an organ too – and has an equally vital role to play in keeping us fit and healthy. Not only does our skin perform the crucial tasks of detecting heat and cold and regulating our body temperature, it’s also there to protect our muscles, bones and internal organs from outside infection and disease.1
All pretty impressive stuff. But what happens when the protective function of our skin is compromised? A whole range of conditions and environmental factors can disrupt the skin’s equilibrium, reducing its moisture content and impairing the production of sebum2 (the oily matter produced by our sebaceous glands which protects, waterproofs and lubricates the skin). When this occurs, our skin becomes more prone to dryness, cracking and infection3. Not only can this cause a fair amount of pain and discomfort (not to mention self-consciousness) it can also lead to bigger health issues further down the track. That’s why it pays to keep your skin in good condition and stay on top of any problem areas by implementing a regular skincare regimen. Not sure where to start? Just incorporate these six easy steps into your daily routine and you’ll soon notice the difference:
Six simple steps to smooth, supple skin
1. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
The secret to keeping your skin hydrated and supple is moisturising at least once a day – twice if you’re particularly prone to dry patches. Be sure to include arms and hands as well as feet and legs and choose an un-fragranced lotion that won’t irritate sensitive skin or problem areas. Remember, if your skin does get itchy from time to time, scratching only makes it worse – try and resist the urge and talk to your GP or pharmacist about specialist treatment if you’re concerned.
2. Be kind to your feet
Our skin is thicker on our feet than anywhere else on the body, which stands to reason as our feet take a lot of punishment and need to be tough. But all that weight-bearing can take its toll. Friction from shoes and hours spent walking on hard surfaces in unsuitable footwear can create hard, dry patches of skin that quickly develop into calluses, corns and cracked heels. If not kept under control, dry patches can become painful, split and even infected, so a good footcare routine is essential. Use a specialist foot product to improve the moisture content of your feet, like Bio Organics Foot and Heel Balm, and slough off dead skin daily with a loofah or pumice stone in the shower, paying particular attention to the heels and balls of your feet.
3. Be a soap-dodger
Dry, itchy skin is often triggered or made worse by using the wrong products, and soap is the worst culprit. Swapping out soap for a body wash and cleansing products that are gentle and pH balanced will keep skin protected and help to retain the natural oils that soap-based products strip away. With a natural pH level of between 4.5 and 5.5, our skin is more acid than alkaline – this helps to lock in moisture and protect us from allergens and pollutants4. Soap, on the other hand, has a pH of between 9 and 11 – far too harsh for our skin’s needs. Look for products that say ‘pH balanced’ and ‘soap-free’.
4. Banish long soaks in the bath
As wonderful and soothing as long, lazy bath soaks can be for our stateof-mind, they’re not so soothing for our skin. Unlike when we take a shower, long periods in the bath wash away our skin’s natural oils, resulting in skin that feels dry and taut. If you can’t give up your routine tub-time, be sure to generously slather on the moisturiser as soon as you get out.
5. Dry with care
Just as dry skin can cause problems, damp areas can be equally problematic. Always wipe and dry your body carefully after showering, paying particular attention to the creases and areas in between fingers and toes. Bacteria love nothing more than a dark, damp spot in which to flourish and lack of attention to drying is one of the main causes of fungal skin infections like tinea or thrush.
6. Embrace exfoliation
If you wax or shave regularly, you’re probably no stranger to ingrown hairs – those unsightly bumps that can quickly become sore and painful. But as all beauty therapists will tell you, regular exfoliation is the key to keeping your skin smooth and bump-free. Use a body polisher or gentle exfoliating product to remove dry skin build-up after hair removal several times a week and remove any ingrown hairs with tweezers as they appear. Be sure to use a little antiseptic on any broken skin to avoid the risk of an infection developing.
Remember, persistent or chronic skin conditions that don’t go away with simple at-home maintenance can be symptomatic of more serious health issues. If you’re concerned, seek advice from your GP or pharmacist.
- Dry Skin Training August 2016, slide 3
- Dry Skin Training August 2016, slide 5
- Dry Skin Training August 2016, slide 10