Skin is the largest and outermost part of the body. It protects the body from external disease causing elements as well as from environmental changes. It consists of three layers:
- Epidermis This is the outermost layer of the skin and is seen on the surface of the skin. It is made up of cells called keratinocytes, which are stacked on top of each other, forming different sub-layers. The keratinocytes develop at the bottom and rise to the top, where they are shed from the surface as dead cells. Thus, epidermis is constantly renewing itself, the live cells changing into dead, hard, flattened cells. Melanocytes and Langerhans cells are other important cells found in the epidermis.
- Dermis The dermis consists of connective tissue and is much thicker than the epidermis. It is responsible for the skin’s pliability, mechanical resistance and regulation of the body temperature. The dermis supplies the avascular epidermis with nutrients by means of its vascular network. It contains sense organs for touch, pressure, pain and temperature as well as blood vessels, nerve fibres, sebaceous and sweat glands and hair follicles.
- Subcutaneous layer The subcutaneous layer below the dermis consists of loose connective tissue and much fat. It acts as a protective cushion and helps to insulate the body by monitoring heat gain and loss.
Skin performs the following functions:
- Protection: It is an anatomical barrier from pathogens and damage between the internal and external environment in bodily defense.
- Sensation: Skin transmits to the brain information about surroundings through itsof nerve endings that jump to heat and cold, touch, pressure, vibration and tissue injury.
- Thermoregulation: Eccrine (sweat) glands and dilated blood vessels aid heat loss, while constricted vessels greatly reduce cutaneous blood flow and conserve heat.
- Control of evaporation: The skin provides a relatively dry and semi-impermeable barrier to reduce fluid loss.
- Storage and synthesis: It acts as a storage center for lipids and water and helps in the synthesis of vitamin D.
- Absorption: Oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide can diffuse into the epidermis in small amounts; some animals use their skin as their sole respiration organ.
- Water resistance: The skin acts as a water resistant barrier, so essential nutrients aren’t washed out of the body. The nutrients and oils that help hydrate the skin are covered by the outer skin layer, the epidermis. This is helped in part by the sebaceous glands that releases sebum, an oily liquid.
- Immunity: The skin plays an important role within the immune system – by protecting the body from disease causing pathogens.
- Excretion: Skin helps in removal of certain types of waste materials from the body.
Facial as well as other areas of the body skin can suffer because of age, exposure to normal toxins and a host of other factors. Also, some skin flaws are the result of genetics, viruses and other causes. Some common skin problems include:
- Acne One of the most common facial skin problems for adolescents is acne. As sebaceous glands present in dermis become overactive and produce excess oil, follicles become plugged, resulting in blackheads and whiteheads. These plugged follicles can then become inflamed, causing pimples, nodules and cysts.
- Age Spots Age spots are brownish patches that appear on the skin as a person ages, due to either sun damage or genetics. Sometimes known as liver spots, these benign patches resemble large freckles and usually appear on the face, neck, hands, feet or legs.
- Moles Moles are raised, round, usually dark brown spots on the skin that may be present at birth or develop over time. Most moles are harmless, but they may pose some cosmetic skin problems.
- Warts Warts are benign growths that are caused by a virus. Although warts are generally raised, rough and skin-coloured, they can manifest in many forms and hues. Warts can appear almost anywhere on the body and can be an unsightly and sometimes painful skin problem.
- Dry Skin Exposure to harmful detergents, chemical-based soaps, frequent cleaning of hands and face, ointments, drugs, powder, perfumes and cold air in the winter season can aggravate dry skin. Prolonged diseases like kidney and liver problems also cause dry skin. Excess bathing is the main cause of dry skin as all protective natural oil gets destroyed. Water deficiency also causes dry skin or dehydration of the skin.
- Eczema Eczema is a term for a group of medical conditions that cause the skin to become inflammed or irritated. The most common type of eczema is known as atopic dermatitis or atopic eczema. Atopic refers to a group of diseases with an often inherited tendency to develop other allergic conditions, such as asthma and hay fever. Eczema affects about 6% of infants and about 3% of adults and children.
- Seborrheic Dermatitis Seborrheic dermatitis, which causes oily, waxy patches to develop on the scalp, is distinct from other forms of dermatitis. It can affect babies, typically in the first six months of their lives in the form of “cradle cap” – a flaky, dandruff-like condition on the scalp. After the symptoms clear up, it rarely appears again until puberty.
- Skin Cancer Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common types of skin cancer. But 75 percent of skin cancer deaths are from melanoma, the third most common form.
- Psoriasis Psoriasis is a chronic auto-immune and disfiguring genetic disease. It is a build-up of excess skin tissue that looks red and thick and is covered with silvery scales. It first appears on the elbows and knees, but can spread to other parts of the limbs and even the trunk.
- Sun Damage Long-term exposure to the sun is the single biggest factor contributing to visible signs of aging and other facial skin problems. Sun damage can lead to uneven pigmentation, deep wrinkles, leathery skin and skin cancer.
- Under-Eye Circles Darkened skin beneath the eyes is a common skin problem caused by factors such as heredity, lack of sleep, allergies, diet and sun exposure.
- Wrinkles Lines and wrinkles appear where skin naturally folds and crease, becoming more and more permanent as time goes on. Sun exposure, smoking and extreme dieting can hasten this effect, making skin look older than it is.
The main causes of skin problems are;
- Auto-immune disorders
- Heredity and Ageing
- Sun Exposure
- Lack of facial or skin hygiene
- Overuse of cosmetics and toiletries
Anything that irritates or clogs the skin can cause symptoms such as redness, swelling and itchy skin. Rashes and hives are other signs of skin conditions. Some are quick and easy to treat, while others are chronic or more difficult to get rid of.
Apart from regular bath, some other external good exfoliating cleansing methods can be practised easily for a healthy skin.
- Papaya (Papita) paste
- Papaya – 1⁄2 piece of medium size
- Avocado – one
- Banana – One
Use avocado, banana and papaya to make the paste. Apply a paste on your face. Let it dry for 15 minutes. Then, using warm water, wash your face. This paste is very useful for dry skin and clearing scars.
- Egg yolk paste
- Egg – one
- Milk powder – 1-2 teaspoon
- Honey – one teaspoon
Make a paste using egg yolk, milk powder and honey. Apply this paste on the face, neck and other dry areas ofskinand let it dry for 10-15 minutes. Wash your face using cold water.
- Cucumber (Kheera)
- One large cumcumber
Apply a paste made of cucumber on face and other dry skin area. This moisturises skin naturally and makes it supple and soft.
- Honey (Shahad)
- Honey – 10 gms
- Rose water – 20 mil
Take a honey and mix it with rose water. Apply on face, neck and other dry skin areas. This mixture cleanses the skin, tones it and keeps it glowing.
- Almond (Badaam)
- Almond Oil – 10 ml
Face massage using almond oil. It nourishes the skin and protects it from wrinkles and other age related skin issues.
- Lime Juice – 5 to10 ml
- Avocado – 10 to 15 ml
Take one teaspoon lime juice and one teaspoon avocado, mix it well and apply on face and let it dry for 10-20 minutes. This will clean the skin and make it soft, radiant and glowing.
- Fresh Apple – 2 large size or 3 medium size
Grate the apples and apply the paste on the skin. Keep it for 20 minutes and then wash the face using cold water. Apple face pack nourishes skin, makes it glowing and removes dryness of the skin.
If Liver and Kidney Cleanse are carried out along with above mentioned external cleanses, the results are miraculous. However, to get even better results, the following may be practiced along with Liver and Kidney Cleanse:-
- Drink juice made up of green vegetables to cleanse, nourish and tone skin tissue from the inside. Make juice using one cucumber with skin, one bunch fresh parsley, 100 grams alfalfa sprouts and four sprigs of fresh mint.
- Mud Therapy is an ancient healing procedure where the skin is covered in mud for a shorter or longer period. The mud causes sweating, can slim and tone the body, hydrate or firm the skin, or relax and soothe the muscles by flushing out toxins from the body. A layer of mud is applied to the skin and then is washed using warm water. (For details see page …… of Chapter 2, Kidney Cleanse).
- Lepanam is a procedure by which medicated paste (turmeric, sandalwood paste etc) is applied either locally or all over the body based on the patient’s condition. It can be used in a variety of conditions, especially skin disorders, pain management and improving skin complexion. It has to be removed, once the paste has dried. The thickness of the paste depends on the need of a particular condition. It should be avoided in patient’s sensitive to heat and having a sensitive skin.
Dos and Don’ts:
- Strong soaps and detergents can strip oil from your skin. Instead, choose mild cleansers.
- Uncontrolled stress can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. To encourage healthy skin and a healthy state of mind; take steps to manage your stress. Set reasonable limits, scale back your to-do list and make time to do the things you enjoy.
- To protect and lubricate your skin, apply shaving cream, lotion or gel before shaving. For the closest shave, use a clean, sharp razor. Shave in the direction the hair grows not against it. To cleanse the genital hair, follow the guidance provided in Hair Cleanse.
As they say, your skin reflects your health. With the above, your radiant, glowing skin will reflect your inner health and attract others towards you. Note: The other cleanses mentioned in my book Cleansing Therapy: ‘Cure Yourself’ such as Liver Cleanse, Kidney Cleanse, Acidity Cleanse etc, will definitely improve the health of your skin.