The skin is an amazing thing
It is our body’s largest organ—the protective cloak that guards us from injury, bacteria and temperature extremes. It regulates our temperature, helps communicate our emotions (special hello to all the blushers out there) and enables us to feel touch, warmth and cold. It is a unique part of our bodies.
The global skincare industry is well aware of all of this. Billions of dollars changes hands every year through the production, promotion and sale of products and potions that promise everything from younger looking skin to ‘miracle cures’ for all manner of skin conditions.
What are you really putting on your skin?
We probably all use skin care of some kind, and with the arrival of summer, many of us become more aware of our skin.
We feel the kiss of the sun and reach for the sunscreen, in an effort to protect ourselves from sunburn and skin damage. We soothe our skins with moisturisers and creams and wash away the day’s sand and salt water with foaming handfuls of shampoo and creamy conditioners.
But how many of us scan that long list of fine-print ingredients on our skin and hair care products? And even if we do, how many of us can interpret all the long, hyphenated words and numbers we find there?
Your skin is the gateway to your health.
On average, an adult human skin has a surprisingly large surface area of between one-and-a-half to two square metres (16-21 square feet). An average square inch (6.5 cm²) of skin contains around 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes, and more than 1,000 nerve endings.
There are three components to the skin:
- The epidermis: This is our visible, protective cloak—the outermost layer of our skin, which creates our skin tone, enables us to feel physical sensations and keeps us waterproof.
- The dermis: Located beneath the epidermis, the dermis contains our sweat glands, hair follicles and connective tissue.
- The hypodermis: This deeper, subcutaneous tissue is comprised primarily of connective tissue and fat.
Our skin may protect us, but it is not an impervious shield.
While our body supplies blood to deliver nutrients to the skin through an intricate network of blood vessels—this is a two way street. Much of what we place on our skin is absorbed into the bloodstream (why else would pharmaceutical companies have developed nicotine and contraceptive patches?)
This means that all those long, hyphenated words and numbers on the side of your moisturiser bottle have an open invitation to your body as soon as you apply the first squirt of cream.
Most people have an understanding of the relationship between eating nourishing wholefoods and maintaining good health and wellbeing. What we place on our skin is just as important.
Unfortunately, many modern skin care preparations contain synthetic, petroleum-based ingredients, which are then absorbed into our bodies via the bloodstream.
Nourish your skin and your body
Skin care is not a new concept.
Traditional and ancient cultures also developed and used skin care products, but unlike our laboratory-produced modern equivalent, traditional preparations were based on natural, organic ingredients.
Animal fats were often the foundation for traditional skin care preparations, and chief among these was tallow—a slowly rendered fat, sourced from cows. Tallow is rich in skin-nourishing nutrients, including:
- Vitamin E which acts as a protective topical antioxidant
- Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) containing potent anti-inflammatory properties
- Palmitic and palmitoleic acids which are known to have significant antimicrobial action
The benefit of tallow-based skincare products is largely dependent on the quality of the raw fats it contains. Organic, grass-fed tallow is rich in nutrients and free from pesticides, hormones and antibiotics.
Once commonly used, animal-fat based skin care preparations lost popularity at around the same time that animal foods began to disappear from our diets, and such products are now almost impossible to source through regular commercial channels.
However, at GPA Wholefoods we offer a range of skin care products made from high-quality, chemical-free and tallow-based ingredients:
Vintage Traditions produces a range of body balms made from rich, emollient blends of 100% grass-fed tallow and extra-virgin olive oil. These products are packed with skin-nourishing nutrients, including Vitamin E, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and palmitic and palmitoleic acids.
- You can find the range here.
Dr Ron’s Ultra Aesthetics is a gentle, nutrient-dense range of hair and skin care products, formulated using pure essential oils and botanical extracts. These products are free from sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), propylene glycol, alcohol and parabens and contain beneficial alpha lipoic acid, ASC III complex, DMAE, CoEnzyme Q10 and topically absorbable forms of vitamins A and C.
- You can find the range here.
Caring for ourselves and optimising our health means making good decisions about everything we put in our bodies—including what we absorb through our skin.
Our skin is a truly amazing organ. Nourishing it with pure, high-nutrient skin care products can not only help to keep our outer layer healthy, but can promote improved wellbeing for our entire body.