Thursday, January 22, 2015

How Your Skin Affects Your Health

Photo from Weheartit.com
How Your Skin Affects Your Health
By Leslie Vandever

It’s easy to take your skin for granted. Most people hardly think about it at all unless it’s acting out somehow: too oily, too dry or itchy, too red, too puffy, or too pimply. But really, it’s far more important than that. Your skin is vital to your health—and to your life.

Here’s why: As your body’s largest organ, your skin is right up there in importance with your heart, your lungs, and your brains. Without it, you couldn’t live very long. It acts as a barrier against the outside world, preventing dangerous bacteria and other things from getting in and causing infection. It helps to regulate your body temperature, protecting you from heat and cold. It keeps your body fluids in and helps to keep you from dehydrating. Covered with an intricate network of nerve endings, your skin allows you to feel sensations like pressure, pain, heat, and cold. And, when the rays of the sun touch your skin, a chemical reaction produces Vitamin D, which works with calcium to help you build and maintain strong bones and other bodily functions.

It’s really worth your while to take seriously good care of your skin—your fastest-growing organ. Here’s how:

Keep it Clean. Wash your hands and other parts of your body with warm—not hot—water, using a soft cloth or sponge and gentle soap. This removes dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, which will make it look and feel better. Washing also kills germs that can spread all over the body. It also helps prevent the spread of bacteria, cold, and flu viruses to others. If your skin feels dry, use a gentle moisturizing lotion as needed.
Have Fun in the Sun … but be sure to protect your skin. Here’s why: first, sun damage can make you look older and wrinkle earlier, and it can make it harder for the skin to ward off infections. But more importantly, the sun’s ultraviolet rays increase your risk of getting skin cancer, particularly if you have pale skin, blue eyes, and blonde or red hair. To lower the risk, use sunscreen with SPF 30-45 on any exposed skin whenever you’re outside. Apply it evenly and reapply every two hours. Wear protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses. Avoid being out in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
Eat Healthy Food. It can be tough when you’re at work or out with friends and family, but do your best to eat as healthy as you can. There are many diets out there, but the best ones are simple, stick to small portions, include all the food groups, and focus on fresh rather than processed foods. Choose a diet that includes plentiful, fresh vegetables and fruit; small servings of lean chicken and fish, eggs, nuts, and legumes; whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, and brown rice; low-fat dairy; and plant-based fats like olive and canola oils. Limit sweet foods and beverages to special occasions or rare treats. Following this diet will help keep your skin supple, soft, and strong, and help you look your best every day.
Don’t Smoke. It makes your skin look older and wrinkle sooner by damaging the collagen and elastin in it that keep it supple and flexible. It also decreases the amount of oxygen and other nutrients your skin needs to stay healthy. If you smoke, please quit.
Take Time to Relax. Stress is hard on your skin, just as it is on every other part of you. Allow yourself frequent downtime, get plenty of sleep, and laugh as often as you can. Frowning causes wrinkles!

Leslie Vandever is a professional journalist and freelance writer with more than 25 years of experience. She lives in the foothills of Northern California.

References:
Healthy Skin Matters. (n.d.) National Institutes of Health. Retrieved on January 15, 2015 from http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Kids/healthy_skin.asp
Skin Care: 5 Tips for Healthy Skin. (2014, Dec. 16) Mayo Clinic. Retrieved on January 15, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/skin-care/art-20048237?pg=2
Healthy Skin. (n.d.) American Skin Association. Retrieved on January 15, 2015 from http://www.americanskin.org/resource/
Skin and Hair Health (PDF). (n.d.) WomensHealth.gov. Retrieved on January 15, 2015 from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/the-healthy-woman/skin_hair.pdf

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Make the Homeless Smile.



This video blew me away. I want to me more like this in 2015....
I think we all could. What selfless people :) So very inspiring.




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