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Beauty is More than Skin Deep

Your skin is your largest organ. Bet you already knew that. But did you know it is a powerful tool for gaining clues about your inner health? That your skin is like a magic mirror, giving you a direct reflection into what is happening inside the body? Your skin has its own microbiome whose population differs from the microbiome inside of you. Trillions of microorganisms reside on your skin, and while they differ from the microbiome in your gut, they again serve a very important function in immunity and internal health. Like your gut, when you interact with your environment you diversify the microbes living on you and actually boost your immune system. So yes, dirt can improve your health! What if I told you that your skin has a microenvironment designed to process and generate immunological information that is sent to peripheral lymph nodes (SALT skin associated lymph tissues) who then generate an appropriate immune response. In other words, evidence exists that your skin is capable of producing an immune boosting response by communicating with your lymph nodes. (1) Or even more simply as The Wellness Mama puts it: "In short: your skin contains trillions of lymphocytes that are like soldiers protecting your body’s perimeter and radioing in information about approaching attacks to the main base (your immune system)." (2)

Once again, we begin to develop this microbiome on our bodies before birth and within a few days our immune system is learning to accept the microbes present on our skin as part of who we are. If antibiotics are given during the birthing it disrupts this normal activity and could potentially give cause to the rise in skin conditions as an enduring health concern. (3) Just as your gut microbiome has a direct effect on the health of your skin and must be carefully cared for, it is also necessary to nurture the health of the skin microbiome. Use skin care products that are near the ideal slightly acidic pH of 5.5 to maintain the natural lipid barrier. Move away from laundry detergents with perfumes and dyes. Choose natural cosmetics, as any chemicals put on the skin will be absorbed and have a huge impact on overall health. High levels of chemicals found in cosmetics are often found in blood samples and are linked to hormonal, weight, skin and even mood troubles. (4) Put down the antibacterial hand sanitizer, toss the antibacterial soaps, and stick to washing with a regular cleansing soap that will not disrupt your natural health promoting bacteria on your skin. Even the FDA agrees. (5)

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