Diet, Cleansing and Health. Part 2 of 3
Ivor Hughes

The Skin:
The skin is the largest organ of the body. It is a masterpiece of creation. In good condition it is incredibly elastic. Consider how many times and how far the skin on every joint must have stretched in one year. The skin suits us to every purpose, it is the original wetsuit. robust yet delicate. It changes to meet many diverse purposes from the soles of our feet to delicate mucous membrane. Its sensory and tactile properties are phenomenal. It will meet mental cues with a blush and exterior cues with goose pimples or sebum and melanin. It also manufactures Vitamin 'D'. The hair and nails are appendages of the skin, and, in the same manner as skin, are an indicator of health or lack of it.

Basic Functions of the Skin:
(A) It acts as a protection for the body, by use of its own bacteria against foreign invaders.
(B) It assists regulation of body temperature by the evaporative effect of perspiration.
(C) It keeps the hair soft and supple and nourished with sebum.

(D) It protects itself from over exposure to UV rays by the production of melanin.
(E) It stores fat for when the body requires energy.

Glowing with Health.
Diagrams and explanations found in text books of Anatomy and Physiology, leave one with a sense of emptiness for what is missing. This is the sense of wonder at the sublime complexity and order of our bodies.

The reality is, that it is all happening at once, thousands of times per second. We are a shimmering pulsing energy field of flares and nova. Kirlian photography demonstrates the luminescence, that the exchange of energy manifests. When we see a person who is glowing, we may not see the colours, but we can sense that energy. We know that we are in the presence of health.. Instinctively we know the vitality rate of those we meet if that person is under par. It is their skin that proclaims health or lack of it.

The Skin as an Organ of Elimination.
From cradle to grave, 24 hours per day we are burning energy, to power a body function of one kind or another. Burning energy creates waste products that must be removed on a regular basis, in the same way that household waste must be disposed of. If it is not then in both cases disease is the result. The body has 4 main strategies that it employs in returning oxidation products and other waste to nature for recycling.

(1) Defecation.
(2) Urination.
(3) Respiration. (The lungs are source of hallitosis or bad breath)
(4) Transpiration and secretion. (Gas, Sweat and sebum)

The skin performs strategy 3 by exchanging gases with the outer and inner environment in the same way as the surface of a leaf. Strategy 4 is the major recycling route. Waste deposits from the lymph, (The liquid transport system for the blood cells) are bought to the outer surface of the body for recycling and are packaged by the sebum for disposal. The sebum is a miracle oil that conditions the skin and hair, and keeps both soft, supple and protected. They glow with health.

The Skin as an Organ of Protection.
In addition to keeping all the organs in one place as Lord Bad Egg would have it. The skin and its secretions are the first line protection for the organism as a whole. I have used the term 'miracle oil' for sebum. The pharmaceutical approach is, 'one oil for everyone'. Natures approach is that everyone has their own special oil. One that is suited exactly, to our own unique metabolism. Made by Nature especially for you. It is the sebum that is our cosmic ray filter.

The skin is constantly being replaced as the trillions of older cells die, form hard layers and then slough off. Were it not for our sebum, we would move around like a miniature snow storm. Dry or flaky skin and dandruff are symptoms of lack of sebum. Oily skin and black heads are a symptom of excess of sebum. These are internal causes. Causes that need to be attended to before we resort to palliative methods such as the outrageously priced and often dangerous and useless cosmetic products.

The Care of the Skin.
Accumulated Sebum may be removed from the skin in a number of ways.

(A) By the use of a flat bladed scraper. This was a preferred method in the bath houses of ancient Rome. It was first preceded by a good steam bath. The scraping was performed by a slave.
(B) We may remove sebum from the skin by the use of soaps and detergents, bubble baths and shower gels. The sebum is emulsified and washed off with the dead skin cells. This type of treatment is harsh to the skin. Soap manufacturers live off the slogan 'Gentle on Your Skin' or, that they contain some sort of magic moisturizing ingredient. So they might, but the job of soap is to emulsify and with emulsification of the sebum, it gets washed off, the magic ingredient get washed off at the same time. The rule is ..... 'not too often'.
(C) By the use of an absorbent substance such as 'Fullers Earth' or Kaolin in the form of a face pack. This is not only a messy business but it leaves particles in the pores and the sebaceous gland that surrounds a hair shaft. This then requires further processes to remove them lest they cause problems.
(D) By use of the cleansing creams, cold creams and the like. They are usually a water in oil emulsion and work by diluting and absorbing the sebum prior to being removed. The treatment is then usually followed by the application of an astringent lotion to tauten the skin and remove the last of the oil and sebum.

Body and Skin Bacteria.
The type of bacteria that live upon the waste products of your skin depends entirely upon what you eat. For example a greasy hamburger will produce a different type of waste to that of an apple. So in effect what we eat, determines whether we culture vultures or sparrows in bacterial terms.

Our personal bodyguard of bacteria live in tribes and families. They inhabit the warm moist regions of our bodies. In the event that space traveling foreign bacteria land, they are quickly dealt with by our bodyguard. However if our inner environment is polluted then the nature of the waste products will change. If our food is changed then the product of that food is changed. Simply put, burning wood or coal, has ash as a product, but the composition of the ash is different. A consequence of inner pollution, is that we host unwanted bacteria, which may prove harmful to us if our immune system is compromised.

If we persist in dousing our bodies, our children, our animals, our homes and our gardens with bactericides we are going to come to a sticky end, because we will have no bacteria to protect our families from the swiftly mutating bacteria, and the rising manifestations of disease that is now evident in all westernized countries.

If your body odour is offensive to you or others, then that is either a diseased condition or its precursor, alternatively something that you ate, that needs to get out. If you have been using bactericides and deodorants on your body then you have been slaughtering your personal bodyguard. When you have no bacteria to eat the piles of waste. The waste rots and smells. The odour of a healthy body is aphrodisiac to the opposite sex. Long before a baby can focus its eyes its sense of smell identifies its mother.

Our inner environment also hosts bacteria that are absolutely essential to our health. They are not only engaged in protection but also with digestion and the manufacture of a vitamin or a precursor. If one is troubled by "Thrush", or other types of fungal disease, it means we are cultivating the wrong type of bacteria. Change the bacterial environment and the bacteria will vacate. If we use anti-biotics then we must constantly replace the gut bacteria that is being killed by the anti-biotic. That is best done by consuming live organic yogurt.

If we cannot transpire (perspire) we die. Either from heat exhaustion or blood poisoning. Perspiration not only keeps the body cool by its evaporative effect but it also helps to transport the metabolic waste to the surface of the skin. The skin is an integral part of our immune system ,and secreted in the sweat is our own personal antibiotic. We may halt the process of perspiration by the use of an astringent, the pores pucker in the same way as the mouth. However the effect is short lasting because of the danger to the system. With a fanfare of trumpets enter the Deodorants. Either underarm or between the legs. The deodorants are designed to block sweat. As a class of product, they caused Carnage, Killem and Slaughter Cosmetics International, a few technical problems. The problem was, ..... How to keep a pore closed for more than 10 minutes without resorting to major surgery.

The Business Solution.
The 3 times winner of the Nobel Prize for Hamburgers. Sir Iva Shiny Bonehead PhD BSc, MSc, LLB, Hbt, BEM, was looking at the bullet holes that peppered the wall, of his youngest daughters bedroom. As head of the CKSCI research team, he had spent a fruitless and sweaty week trying to solve the 'keep the pores closed problem'. He absent mindedly reached for his tube of Supa Dupa hole filler. Then lo! the openings bars of 'Thus Spake Zarathustra blossomed in a crescendo of sound within his grey matter. Sir Iva entered the halls of justice, mythology, science and history. So it was into hole blocking with a vengeance. Problem was that a lot of the stuff they popped into the holes wouldn't stay in place. Until someone figured that aluminum salts blocked the holes nicely. CKSCI spent oodles of boodle refuting the scurrilous rumor that Aluminum was linked to Alzheimer's disease

Hygiene of the Skin: When Is Clean Too Clean? By Dr. Elaine Larson.
Even with use of antiseptic preparations, which substantially reduce counts of hand flora, no reductions beyond an equilibrium level are attained. The numbers of organisms spread from the hands of nurses who washed frequently with an antimicrobial soap actually increased after a period of time; this increase is associated with declining skin health. In a recent survey, nurses with damaged hands were twice as likely to be colonized with S. hominis, S. aureus, gram-negative bacteria, enterococci, and Candida spp. and had a greater number of species colonizing the hands.

The trend in both the general public and among health-care professionals toward more frequent washing with detergents, soaps, and antimicrobial ingredients needs careful reassessment in light of the damage done to skin and resultant increased risk for harboring and transmitting infectious agents. More washing and scrubbing are unlikely to be better and may, in fact, be worse. The goal should be to identify skin hygiene practices that provide adequate protection from transmission of infecting agents while minimizing the risk for changing the ecology and health of the skin and increasing resistance in the skin flora.

Soaps and detergents have been described as the most damaging of all substances routinely applied to skin. Anionic and cationic detergents are more harmful than nonionic detergents, and increased concentrations of surfactant result in more rapid, severe damage. Each time the skin is washed, it undergoes profound changes, most of them transient. However, among persons in occupations such as health care in which frequent hand washing is required, long-term changes in the skin can result in chronic damage, irritant contact dermatitis and eczema, and concomitant changes in flora.

Water content, humidity, pH, intracellular lipids, and rates of shedding help retain the protective barrier properties of the skin. When the barrier is compromised (e.g., by hand hygiene practices such as scrubbing), skin dryness, irritation, cracking, and other problems may result. Although the palmar surface of the hand has twice as many cell layers and the cells are up to 30 times thicker than on the rest of the skin, palms are quite permeable to water.

Long-term changes in skin pH associated with hand washing may pose a concern since some of the antibacterial characteristics of skin are associated with its normally acidic pH. In one report, pH increased 0.6 to 1.8 units after hand washing with plain soap for 1 to 2 min and then gradually declined to baseline levels over a period of 45 min to 2 hr (50). Some soaps can be associated with long-standing changes in skin pH, reduction in fatty acids, and subsequent changes in resident flora such as propionibacter.

A myriad of antimicrobial soaps and skin care products have become commercially available. While antimicrobial drug-containing products are superior to plain soaps for reducing both transient pathogens and colonizing flora, widespread use of these agents has raised concerns about the emergence of bacterial strains resistant to antiseptic ingredients such as triclosan. Such resistance has been noted in England and Japan, and molecular mechanisms for the development of resistance have been proposed. Although in some settings exposure to antiseptics has occurred for years without the appearance of resistance, a recent study described mutants of Escherichia coli selected for resistance to one disinfectant that were also multiple-antibiotic resistant. Some evidence indicates that long-term use of topical antimicrobial agents may alter skin flora. The question remains whether antimicrobial soaps provide sufficient benefit in reducing transmission of infection without added risk or cost.

Dr. Elaine Larson is professor of pharmaceutical and therapeutic research, The School of Nursing, and professor of epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. She is editor of the American Journal of Infection Control and former chair of the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC) and member of CDC's National Center for Infectious Diseases Board of Scientific Counselors.

Healthy Food for Healthy Skin.
We may never know, the when, of the origins of the beautiful art. For it is obviously a very ancient practice. When we look at the rich heritage of body painting and piercing in all of its incredible cultural diversity. We can also understand that as an art it contains strong elements of psychology. For example the body and face painting of the warrior cultures. The tattoo arts of the Polynesians and the henna hand paintings of the Indo Arabic traditions. The legendary Cleopatra and Sheba spent large sums of palace revenue on the then exotica and erotica of the eastern world. They understood very clearly the value of perfumes and face paints and the psychology behind them. They are mood altering, this is verified by the modern practice of aromatherapy.

The Outer Body Cleanse.
Beauty can either be skin deep, as in the excessive use of antibacterial detergents, dandruff shampoo, face paints, foundation creams and other hole blocker's. Or it can be something that radiates from within, the sparkle in the eye, the sheen of the hair. The supple skin, this is real beauty. This depends on what type of food you eat and how it has been treated before you eat it.

The 'Sauna' of the Finns. The 'Steam Bath' of the Turks. The 'Sweat Lodge' of the North American Indians, all of these cultural practices indicate the importance of cleansing via the skin, of toxins and excess sebum. The Western Domestic equivalent is the long soak in a hot bath. Do not use bubble bath concoctions they are detergents and are harsh on the skin.

Infuse a half dozen herbal tea bags in 1 pint of water and pour it into a warm bath. Either Chamomile, Linden or Elder flowers. Do not combine them, try them out individually. After a stressful day, relaxing can be difficult. Have a nice picture on the wall at the end of the bath, that you can explore whilst the herb water goes to work on you. A 30 minutes soak should be sufficient. Straight from the bath, go to a warm shower. With a long handled stiff brush or a loofah briskly brush the skin all over. Keep rinsing the brush or loofah otherwise it will become clogged with dead skin cells, toxins and excess sebum. Now start to turn down the temperature of the water, and continue to gently brush the skin. Minimum 2 minutes in cold water. Dry yourself briskly and apply your favourite astringent floral water. To finish off, sit comfortably in a straight backed chair both feet flat on the ground, neck and back straight, hands laid back of hand in the palm. Now commence the following breathing exercise;

Close the eyes and breathe in slowly and deeply through the nose to the count of 5, then hold the breath for a count of 5. Then slowly breathe out through the mouth. Then hold again for a count of 5. Repeat! This will oxygenate your blood and assist in the detoxification. Minimum 5 minutes or longer if you wish. It is simple but very effective and very important. At a later stage you may wish to go onto an advanced technique of alternate nostril breathing.

By those simple procedures you have bought about a number of changes which reflect on both mental and physical levels. they can be summarized as follows;

(1) The pores have been opened by the use of warmth. Toxins are released and deposited along with the sebum and dead skin cells onto the surface of the skin. The herb tea will also have an effect upon your stress levels.
(2) The shower and the brush or loofah removes the debris and toxins from the skin. The cold shower and the brushing of the skin stimulates the skin capillaries just below the surface. In addition the lymphatic system is also stimulated, which assists in the removal of toxins from inside to outside. the skin will glow.
(3) The application of the floral water is astringent, and the open pores will close, and the skin will tauten. It is invigorating for the skin. But not in excess.
(4) The breathing exercise oxygenates the blood stream this is essential if we wish to clean out the blood stream. Your blood is your river of life. It is either polluted or it is clean. Rivers and waterways by analogy perform the same function on a larger scale as the blood within.

It is important that you remember, that whenever you commence a cleansing process lodged toxins are released into the blood stream for removal by the organs of elimination. If you are heavily polluted this may give rise to symptoms such as a headache or tiredness as the toxins circulate in the blood stream. Drink plenty of clean water this will flush the toxins relatively quickly and the headache will disappear. If you use a pain killer you will have just wasted your time. The pills interfere with the working of the body, and once again you will have closed your ears to the wisdom of the body. This bodywork will be rendered useless if you neglect your diet.

The matter of diet will be covered in part 3. which follows soon. Also see the Dr Benjamin articles in the self help section of the site library.

Part 1 here.        Part 3 here