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The Importance of Skin Health to Prevent Allergies

The skin is the main immune barrier and protects the body from chemicals and compounds that might wreak havoc should they enter the bloodstream. There are some common reasons our skin protection can fail, as I’ll discuss here. The importance of skin health is at the core of preventing unwanted chemicals from setting off our immune system.

Protecting the Integrity of Skin

One of the main ways we develop food or chemical allergies as we get older is from the initial contact with that allergy on our skin.

The skin has to be healthy and intact to protect dust, viruses, bacteria, and synthetic chemicals from entering the body. Once these substances enter the bloodstream, the immune system goes into full attack mode, which creates all of the undesired allergy symptoms most of us suffer from in the future.

Therefore, we need to protect the integrity of the skin to prevent allergies. Here are the 6 most effective ways to improve skin health and highlight the importance of skin health when it comes to preventing allergies.

1. Soap & Showers

Most people worry about smelling bad, so they shower regularly and use harsh soaps and shampoos to get rid of that last possible BO. Sure, you’ll smell fresh & breezy, but your skin may not.

Natural soaps are better and can still be scented with natural extracts. But they aren’t perfect. Hot showers combined with any soap & shampoo can remove the protective layers of the skin.

As physicians, we also wash our hands a lot which further breaks down the protection. Hand sanitizers are the major culprits. Working with a good dermatologist or derm aesthetician you can come up with a safer routine that will better protect your skin and keep you from being stinky.

2. Dry Skin

Dry skin happens from too much coffee, alcohol, and sugar. Combine that with sitting in front of a fan or A/C and the skin not secreting enough natural oils to keep the dermis intact.

The dermis is an important part of skin health, and to preserve it, we need to maintain skin moisture by focusing on a diet with adequate fats and oils and avoiding desiccating agents.

The importance of skin health in those who already suffer from other skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema is vital. Fortunately, it can also help improve those symptoms.

3. Laundry Detergents

Laundry detergents are engineered to stick to your clothes even on the hot water cycle. These chemicals, however, tend to leech slowly into the skin. Natural or environmentally safe detergents are definitely safer options, and whenever possible, use less.

If you suffer from sensitive skin, consider using less detergent to maintain the health of your skin and prevent future allergic reactions. You can also add natural oils like lavender or patchouli extract to give your clothes a fresh tuneup.

4. Swimming

Some of my patients are avid swimmers. Whether in the ocean or a chlorinated pool, the skin can actually get a little dry from the long water exposure.

I recommend my patients moisturize before and after longer swimming sessions to protect the integrity of the skin. Whenever possible, rinse the pool or ocean water off as soon as you finish swimming.

5. Synthetic Clothing

Certain clothing materials can make you sweat or dry you out too much. These days, there are lots of natural materials you can experiment with and even synthetic options that allow your skin to breathe better.

Remember, your skin includes your scalp, hands, and feet. Any of these areas can be common sources for antigens to enter the bloodstream and create inflammation.

6. Synthetic Moisturizers

When choosing a moisturizer, the natural ones are better options. Shea butter, coconut oil, and even olive oil have been used for centuries and are much better than petroleum-based moisturizers like Vaseline.

If you prefer something from a commercial retailer, look for ceramides which are found in products like Paula’s Choice, Dr. Jart+, and CeraVe.

Intestinal Protection

Finally, a word on protecting the lining of the intestines. Anything that makes its way into the mouth and passes through the body will have significant contact with the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. It’s important to have a healthy, intact intestinal barrier to prevent these substances from overwhelming the bloodstream.

Preservatives and emulsifiers can be problematic for some of us. If you can minimize the exposure, that’s a huge step forward. Fortunately, there are many safer alternatives to chemical preservatives, and emulsifiers really serve no important purpose and make their way into chocolate, bread, sauces, mayonnaise, mustard, and a lot of other processed foods.

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