As golf season winds down and winter woes return to the northern U.S., don’t forget to take care of one of the most important organs in your body: your skin. Golfers in particular can face harsh elements during their days on the links so it is especially important to pay close attention to skin during golf months and off-season as well.
Human skin does a lot more than simply keep your insides from falling out, a common thought many believed as children. Your skin also prevents outside elements from getting into your body haphazardly, which is why you must be very selective as to what you put on your skin. Lotions, creams, ointments, sunscreen, and make-up are all loaded with chemicals and additives. These will enter your body through skin layers and end up who-knows-where. Read labels carefully and consider this: if you shop at Dollar stores, most of the lotions and other beauty and skin products are made in China, a government which doesn’t sufficiently control detrimental additives and toxins – and yes, lead – used in the production of goods they export. I don’t use them and would never recommend doing so, no matter how little they cost.
SKIN FACTS: skin regulates body temperature. Blood vessels constrict or dilate depending upon what you need. Skin also helps absorb nitrogen and carbon dioxide and blocks out things like….water! Interesting, because the skin is very porous. Imagine if your body let in water each time you went swimming or took a bath? We’d all look like Jabba the Hut. Skin constantly builds up new cells, thus the cause for flaking, and it takes about 30 days for the new cells to be born then flake away from the top layer. Your skin also alerts you to invasive bacteria, viruses, or infections. Examine your skin often and if you see something strange that doesn’t go away in a week or two, get it checked.
DID YOU KNOW: the average adult’s skin weighs 9 lbs., spans 21 square feet, and contains 11 miles of blood vessels? And that you release about 3 gallons of sweat on a hot day? Skin is pretty amazing. Two more factoids: One resort in Barcelona allows customers to get an implanted ‘debit card’ under their skin so they can then party without $$ concerns until the cash runs out; Harvard and Brown University have very old, rare books that are clad in the stripped skin from executed criminals or the poor. Wow, thank goodness that practice is gone!
The best way to take care of your skin involves exercise (of course!), eating right, and proper moisturizing practices. Showering is good but an occasional soaking bath helps to exfoliate the dead skin, rejuvenate the tissues, and with an added bit of sea salts, draws toxins out. Post-bath treatments of Aloe Vera, soy and yeast extracts found in lotions help firm your skin with collagen production and elastin. Consuming raw foods like tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, safflower oil, coconut, olives, carrots, papaya, almonds and other nuts, and flaxseed are all beneficial; cooked foods like sweet potatoes, canned tuna, and green tea will improve skin appearance. Dark chocolate reduces roughness and provides added sun protection…..certainly a welcome fact to many!
Last but not least, don’t forget WATER. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to consume this colorless elixir not only for the health of your outward covering, but also for what goes on inside your body. There’s a reason our bodies are made up mostly of water. Divide your weight in half: that’s the number of ounces you should drink daily…i.e. 150lbs. = 75 ounces. Maybe golfers are not so appreciative of water hazards on the golf course, but for everyday existence, we can’t do without it.
Picture ID: this is a cross section of healthy skin taken with scanning electron micrograph technology. Who knew how beautiful it could be, close-up?