No, I have not gone mad, this is not a blog about actual organs or any other musical instrument it is about skin and skincare.  I have recently taken part in my first on line party. This was done on line on Facebook.   People can log on live and see posts and live information or look in their own time.  This is done to help with sales and product information to people who haven’t necessarily got time to go to a party at someone’s house.  They can have the same experience but not have to leave their home.  So, this was new for me I have not done one before and was not familiar with the format.  Some of it I found strange and frustrating, but most of all I loved it.  It gave me the confidence to do another just by myself for close friends and to do more Facebook lives on products.  For me on a personal level it was fantastic, I am hoping for some sales too, but time will tell. Anyway, out of all this I started to do some research on skin and skin products.   I studied human biology at A ‘level so some of what I learned at the time (a long time ago now) came back to me and was really familiar but looking deeper into ingredients contained within the products and their history fascinated me.  I have always fancied myself as an apothecary. I thought I may as well kill two birds with one stone and blog about skin  as I am doing all this research, so here we are!

Why Care?

The skin is the largest fully functioning organ we have.  It is alive and no different from our internal organs in its importance.  In fact, it ranks up there with the most important as it is there to protect all the inner organs from the outside world, keeping everything in and us safe. It acts as a filter or barrier against bacteria and dirt, it protects us from harmful UV rays, it regulates the bodies temperature, produces the all important vitamin D, prevents moisture loss and detects any likelihood of infections.

Structure 

The skin has three main layers – The Epidermis, The Dermis and Subcutaneous Layer or Hypodermis, so let’s take a brief look at each.
  • Epidermis
This is the outer most layer and is continuously being regenerated. Cells move from inside the skin to the outside and as they do so they die and flatten, this creates a barrier, like a suit of armour.  This is being shed continuously and is responsible for most of the dust around the house!!  This layer contains the melanin pigment of the skin which determines the skins colour.  Its main function is to protect the body from damage, infection,  prevent moisture loss and UV damage.  
  • Dermis
Most of the living cells and functions are here and it is the thickest layer of the skin, although the thickness depends on where it is on the body, so the lips and eyelids have a thinner layer than the soles of the feet. It contains a lot of the body’s water supply and is responsible for temperature regulation and is the bit we are all concerned about as we age. Here is the collagen and elastin, blood capillaries, sweat glands, oil glands (responsible for spots etc), hair follicles and nerve endings.
  • Subcutaneous Layer
Made up of mainly adipose tissue which is a fatty protective layer and acts as a cushion.  Again. the thickness is determined by where it is on the body but also by diet. This acts as insulation and stops us freezing to death and again unfortunately thins as we get older, hence older people feeling cold more often and sweating less meaning it is harder to cool down in hot weather.  

Your Skincare Range

It is therefore important to note that whatever we put on our skin it is absorbed into the body, which is why nicotine and medical patches work so well.  Knowing all this then, are you taking note about what you put onto your skin in your skincare range?  Is your skincare as natural as you would like?  I know I am happy with mine and what I sell.  You can see for yourself the science we use in our ranges, the brilliant use of natural ingredients and what is found in nature.  I am always fascinated by nature, its healing and medicinal power.  I love the way this is harnessed in our products.  Feel free to take a look.

What Nasties To Look Out For

Here is a brief list of some of the chemicals in regular high street products both in skincare and other health care products.  
  • BHA and BHT
Used as preservatives with evidence that they could mess around with hormone balance.  In California lip balms and other products now have a warning on the label if they contain these additives due to worries over them being carcinogenic.  
  • Parabens
Used to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungus to extend shelf life of products.  Current research on going due to levels detected in breast cancer tissue.  This is easily absorbed into the skin.  
  • Tricolosan
An antibacterial chemical found in toothpaste, anti-bacterial handwash, deodorants, moisturisers and acne treatments. This again could mess with hormone levels and contributes to antibiotic resistance.  Evidence of this has been found in umbilical chord blood.  This is also damaging to the environment accumulating in waterways and hazardous to fish and crustaceans.  It does not break down quickly.  
  • Siloxanes
Contained in oil free moisturisers to make skin silky smooth.  D4, D5, and D6 are toxic and harmful to aquatic life.  Could interfere again with normal hormone balance and effect immune system.   I could go on, there are lists and lists of chemicals and although deemed safe in small quantities if these small quantities are in all of our toiletries and skincare that small amount over time will undoubtedly have some effect.  

Skincare Regime

What is your regime?  Are you a wash and go kind of person? Are you a cleansing wipe and go?  Or are you a leave make up on all night kind of person? None of these are wrong of course, I was a dip in and out type until I started to get older and look into skincare and what I could do to slow the ageing process a little.  I suppose it is a commodity you take for granted when you are young.  But this is exactly the time to think about how you treat this valuable organ.  We spend time thinking about our heart and lungs but neglect the outer layer of us.  So, what is the best regime? Listen I am no skin care expert at all, but I read lots.  I have found the consensus amongst experts is
  • Cleanse twice per day – Morning and night. Choose a cleanser suitable for your skin type.
  • Tone – Use a good quality toner again one which matches your skin type
  • Moisturise – A moisturiser that is right for your skin type and may include a serum if your skin is particularly dry.
  • Eye cream if you are of an age where you feel you need it
  • 2 x per week exfoliate to rid the surface of your skin of the dead cells.
  • A face mask as a treat.
If you are like me, then you will probably neglect the night time and the exfoliate bit and these are the most important parts.  This is because your skin (like the rest of your body) rejuvenates at night while you sleep. Therefore, adding the best natural ingredients to your skin at night will ensure the best results.  The exfoliation will ensure that what you are putting on your face is going in and not sat in top of your skin.  Otherwise you are just wasting the effort and money.  Most of all drink lots and lots of water.  Your skin requires the moisture to ensure it is clear and plump.