Principles of Skin Healing

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The skin, the body's largest organ, provides a host of functions, including protecting the body from overheating and injuries, storing water and healing itself through cell reproduction. Because it covers the body's exterior, skin is exposed to dirt, injuries and wear-and-tear.

While a dermatologists' role is to aid in the treatment and healing of the skin, you can encourage healing of the skin every day through proper internal and external care.

Eat Right

Diet can assist the healing process with skin problems such as acne and other blemishes. WebMD, a medical research website that provides preliminary diagnoses of symptoms expressed by individuals, supports this notion. According to WebMD, Samantha Heller, a clinical nutritionist at New York University Medical Center, contends that "the healthier the foods you consume, the better your skin will look." Among the foods that enhance skin's condition and appearance are low-fat dairy products, fruits, green tea and salmon. Conversely, cookies, crisps, fried foods, doughnuts, white breads and soda can be detrimental. However, a report published in the December 2002 issue of Archives of Dermatology linked skin problems such as acne to dairy products and grain. Because of this disparity, doctors sometimes recommend that individuals with skin problems undergo food allergy tests.

Bathe Daily

A number of skin maladies, wounds, burns and scars, cannot heal effectively without proper cleansing. Bathing daily, whether a shower or bath, allows the pores to open, releasing toxins from the skin. Use white washcloths, as the dye from coloured washcloths can irritate damaged areas of the skin. Lukewarm water is best; hot water can burn, and cold water causes pores to close. Water that's too hot or too cold also can cause ruptured skin capillaries. Avoid soaps with deodorants.

Use Chemicals Cautiously

A number of chemicals help treat dryness, eczema or acne. However, misusing these substances can further agitate your skin, resulting in the skin not healing or taking longer to heal.

Also, take care with sunscreen and hydroxy acids. Excessive use of sunscreen blocks all skin exposure to the sun and can result in a lack of vitamin D, which is important to the skin's natural evolutionary and healing process. Similarly, overusing hydroxy acids can cause the skin to exfoliate abnormally, resulting in increased cell division in the lower levels of the skin. Consequently, the skin is slower to heal and respond to adversity.

Use soaps and shower gels moderately in order to avoid flaking, irritation and itching. Generally, decrease use of these products as you age to reduce the potential for wrinkles.