The very mention of the word immunity forces us to think of vaccines, white blood cells, platelets and infectious diseases. However, the body's first line of defence is the skin. Anything that enters the body has to pass through our skin or the mucous membranes. So by improving the skin's immunity, the body can be better protected from diseases, while also reducing the visible signs of aging.
Scientifically, aging could be explained as a decline in an individual's ability to respond and defend himself against the various internal and external factors that cause aging like stress, environmental damage and internal disorders. We are all aware of the fact that with age our body's defence mechanisms slow down. So we easily fall prey to various diseases and infections.
Skin care beyond lotions and potions
We have not been able to completely master the reversal of the natural clock of aging. But with newer advances in biotechnology, we have been able to develop growth factors and peptides that show immense promise in enhancing skin immunity. Young skin readily generates collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycans. In aging skin, the quantity of active fibroblasts is greatly reduced which means that synthesis of collagen and elastin decreases. By utilising the benefits of this new technology, we can stimulate the skin's ability to regenerate faster.
The latest concept of skin care includes an amalgamation of topical applications, nutritional elements and lifestyle programmes. Skin is our body's largest organ and responds best to a holistic approach to maximise its full potential. Providing inclusive care means addressing skin inside-out. An inclusive approach involves emotional health and lifestyle changes that reduce stress and isolation. The underlying goal is to boost skin immunity and its defence mechanisms. Various external and internal factors cause injury to free radicals which further causes functional cell death. When this cell damage is prevented, they are strong and can prevent the onslaught of diseases and aging.
Skin - a defence mechanism
When we are young and skin immunity is good, the skin is resilient even under great assault from microbes, chemicals, and other environmental agents. It bounces back and wards-off the infection. You could walk through a medical ward teeming with all sorts of microbes, bacteria and viruses and come out unaffected. This means there is a sophisticated defence system at work, keeping your skin and other systems at bay from diseases as well as aging.
When our immunity is working at optimum levels, the body has a biological defence that wards off infection, diseases and other unwanted invasions. When assaulted, the skin falls prey to infection.
The top layer of skin called keratin creates an effective barrier to prevent foreign matter from entering while maintaining structural lipids in the skin, minimising moisture loss.
Boost skin immunity
Just as our body's immune system protects us, fends off diseases and keeps us healthy, skin immunity gives our skin its amazing power to fight off things that age us like the sun's UV rays, pollution and stress. Skin's immunity gives skin the power to repair and regenerate, and to remain flawless and wrinkle-free. As skin gets older, its immunity starts to slow down. As a result, skin loses its glow and miraculous wrinkle-resisting power. So the bottom line is to boost skin immunity. One of the most important factors in generating improved health is eliminating toxins and replenishing it with healthy foods.
Consider these steps to improve skin immunity:
- Vegetables and fruits are loaded with anti-oxidants which deal with free radicals. So make sure that you include 3-4 portions of nutritious fresh vegetables at each meal..
- Protect your skin from external threats and prevent excess moisture loss
- When skin immunity is weakened, it is more prone to allergy/rash. So replenish the protective layer of skin by applying the right skin products and following a skin care regime.
- Keeping the tummy fit and bowel clean helps a lot in avoiding skin allergies.
- Sunscreens help a lot in delaying photoaging which further help in boosting skin immunity and keep skin younger and wrinkle-free.
- Use a mild soap or a face wash to clean your skin.
- Pamper your skin occasionally with facials and massages. But take care to go light on the cosmetics and chemicals
- Regular use of scrubs helps to remove dead cells from your skin.
- Use of herbs like aloe vera and neem helps to cleanse the skin.
- Use steam to cleanse your face once a week
- Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily.
- Ensure that you get enough sleep; at least 6-8 hours daily and on a regular basis.
- Go for walks whenever possible. This will ensure you receive plenty of beneficial oxygen needed to cleanse your system.
We now know that the importance of skin immunity cannot be underestimated. We take our skin for granted and don't spend much time thinking about its functions and their importance. We must realise that beauty and skin care go hand in hand, especially for those who want to look their best with confidence.
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