If you’ve read my articles over the years, you know how important your skin is. Comprising 12-15% of your overall body weight, consisting basically of 3 crucial layers, containing thousands of miles of tiny capillaries and covering approximately 20 square feet (I wouldn’t want to be the scientist conducting that experiment…) the skin serves as the body’s largest organ.
It also serves as the body’s third kidney, second bowel and third lung, assisting to detox impurities and provide protection and respiration to body tissues. Now it’s being found to play a vital role in helping us NOT develop Alzheimer’s Disease and/or Dementia as we age. What a marvel – and what a fascinating discovery taking the scientific community by storm! Let’s take a closer look:
University of California, San Francisco researchers have determined that cumulative, inflammatory, age-related skin damage might be a significant contributing factor in the development of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Their findings also point to something I’ve tried to educate my clients about for decades: inflammatory skin conditions such as Eczema, Psoriasis and certain forms of dermatitis are actually outward manifestations of internal disease processes. As such, treating these conditions with treatment protocols that are merely topical in nature will not address the underlying inflammatory causes.
If left unchecked, this ongoing internal inflammatory process continues to build, growing into bigger and bigger disease processes with the passage of time. This means there’s a very real internal component to certain skin diseases that historically have been seen as being only topical in nature.
Naturopaths have long held that when treating a patient for Eczema, contributing factors such as dietary allergies/food intolerances and emotional health/hereditary factors must also be addressed. Treating a patient for Psoriasis? Liver health and bowel function should be considered. Got Lichen Planus? Allergies, stress, medication reactions, emotional matters might play a role…
There’s no getting around it: the skin is IMPORTANT. Now more than ever, given this latest finding and our aging population!
So, what do you need to know to pounce on these latest rather exciting and empowering findings? Glad you asked.
As we age, hormones decline and we tend to dehydrate. Vaginal tissues atrophy and become dry and thin. Our hair and nails become brittle, dry and more prone to peeling and breakage. Our skin dries out and becomes thinner; much more prone to bruising and developing fissures and abrasions. With declining hormones and moisture, we itch and scratch, causing further damage to already stressed skin tissues. All this causes a flood of cytokines to spring into action. These small proteins -whose role it is to signal the immune system that it’s time to go to work- trigger an inflammatory response systemwide.
What’s that old adage? ‘As within, so without…’
If your skin is damaged and inflamed – that damage and inflammation is almost certainly also lurking on the inside and given what we now know about the role cytokines play, that’s rather cause for alarm.
Researchers are finding that chronic inflammation -often termed ‘sub-clinical’- leads to more serious inflammation-related disease conditions further down the line, and many of these diseases are the very ones we see hitting large percentages of the aging population: Osteoporosis, Cancer, Diabetes, Heart Disease and that pesky Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
So, what’s the link and what can we do to protect ourselves? Here’s what you need to know:
Staying hydrated is paramount. But simply drinking a lot of water doesn’t cut it. Working to ensure your hormones stay balanced –especially after Menopause- will help. Estrogen, Progesterone, Testosterone and especially thyroid hormones all have hefty roles to play in maintaining overall skin health and skin integrity. Drinking the right amount of water daily is also truly important, but you should also pay attention to getting your full range of electrolytes daily. Just loading up on water alone can flush out necessary electrolytes and nutrients.
How do you make certain you’re getting enough water? Here’s the simple formula: Take your body weight and divide that number by half. That number is the number of ounces of water your body needs per day to stay properly hydrated. (example: 140 pounds /2= 70. 70 ounces of water per day. Easy peasy.)
The simplest way to arm yourself with these new skin/Alzheimer’s/Dementia findings: MOISTURIZE YOUR SKIN DAILY. Use high quality, preferably all-natural body creams and lotions and take a moment after each bath or shower to slather some on. It’s really that simple.
These latest studies are revealing that maintaining basic hydration goes a very long way in knocking out the systemic inflammatory processes connected to the development of Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia, as well as the other inflammation-related diseases I mentioned earlier in this article.
Some of the latest studies detail that using only 3 milliliters of lotion- twice per day- significantly lowered the cytokines circulating in study participants. That’s 0.101442 ounces of lotion… 0.202884 Tablespoons.
Folks, that ain’t a lot. I think we can swing it.
Here’s how the numbers crunched in one European study on this subject:
33 adults aged 58-95 applied body cream all over, 2 times per day, for 30 days. After 1 month, researchers measured the circulating blood levels of 3 primary cytokines (interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-1 beta). All 3 cytokines were greatly reduced in those study participants applying the body cream regularly. Their cytokine levels were so reduced, they were nearly equivalent to people in their 30s. This is huge. Another added benefit observed in the study: skin acidity improved and skin permeability repaired.
Now, as if that wasn’t exciting enough, there are body creams, lotions and sprays available on the market today that contain magnesium. This incredibly important mineral is a necessary cofactor in the regulation and oversight of 1,000 enzymatic systems within the human body that are responsible for the regulation of at least 80% of metabolic functions. It’s important stuff.
Since the skin is the largest organ and is capable of absorbing molecularly from one degree to another what is applied to it, why not take the time to ensure you’re:
1) putting all-natural lotion on your skin -and-
2) providing this all-important, skin beneficial nutrient, Magnesium, while you apply?
Just a thought.
I’m elated to read the findings of these latest studies. They’re cause for hope and they’re empowering. But they also deeply grieve me. My Dad suffered most of his life with extremely dry, scaly, deeply damaged skin and even though Mom and I spent a small fortune in purchasing lotions, potions and creams for him throughout his life- and did everything we could think of to get him to drink enough water, Dad just wouldn’t/couldn’t. He succumbed to an awful death 4 years ago… passing away of Dementia. Coincidence perhaps? Or not?
And although these scientists in their labs and the findings they are touting are revolutionary and exciting, they come too late for him… Please don’t let it be too late for you, or your loved ones. START MOISTURIZING YOUR SKIN DAILY!!! IT MATTERS.
And if you really want to make your time alone with your lotion bottle all the more beneficial and special, hop on over and download my Mindful Moisturizer Meditation.
Until Next Time…
Copyright 2019 Carrie E. Pierce all rights reserved
Health and Beauty has been Carrie E. Pierce’s career focus for over 28 years.
Throughout her career, Carrie has served as: Guest and Corporate Makeup Artist for numerous major, international cosmetic companies and as a Hollywood film, TV and special effects makeup artist.
She’s provided skin care and makeup services for the fashion industry, as well as restorative make up procedures for burn and scar patients, cancer patients, domestic violence survivors and women suffering with self-esteem issues.
Carrie is a licensed Aesthetician, Certified Color Analyst, Menopause Skin Care Specialist, Author and Co Host of a nationally syndicated radio show.
Together with Life Coach Kris Cavanaugh Castro, Carrie has co created a coaching program created especially for Midlife women- and the men who love them. Called ‘Making Peace With Menopause’ this program covers the myriad health, beauty, emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of the Menopause journey.
It’s Carrie’s mission and her passion to help women be the best they can be – especially as they move through Midlife!