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The Way to Beautiful Skin

Your skin is a wonderful measuring system of body and spirit. Sickness, sadness, worry-all are mirrored in a very poor complexion. however, once you are healthy, glad in person and professionally, and have a lust always, your face shows it. once individuals tell you, “You look great!” it’s most likely a tribute to your lustrous, spirited complexion.
To have great skin, be happy. Sound too simple? It isn’t—your state of mind has an enormous influence on the condition of your skin. A positive mindset promotes the healthy functioning of nerves and hormones, which in turn ensures good circulation and the production of natural chemicals for all parts of the body, including the skin. Achieving a positive frame of mind requires reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and balancing your nutritional and exercise habits.
By the way, when was the last time you took good care of your skin? Ever go to bed with your makeup still on, or without washing your face? Ever stay up all night, or oversleep? Do you smoke, or tend to have one drink too many at the bar? Do you spend a lot of time in rooms loaded with stale air? Expose yourself to sudden chill or heat? Neglect to wash your skin after a workout?
It’s hard living in today’s fast-paced society without having your skin take a beating. The trick is to eliminate “skin enemies” whenever possible and to “train” your skin to be strong enough to withstand foes like extreme temperature and stale, smoky air, without obstructing the natural breathing of the skin.
But, first, let’s get down to basics.

What is skin?

The skin is the body’s largest organ. We tend to take it for granted—we scrape it, stretch it, expose it to the elements, and still expect it to hold up without much help. How vitally important is skin? Let’s look at the six major functions it performs:

1. A window on the emotions

Japanese people are often considered inscrutable and poker-faced, but needless to say, given the right situation, they are as capable of expressing emotions as anyone else. Feelings are expressed by a rush of blood—to the face, when flustered or embarrassed, away from the face, when angry or afraid—and by contractions of the facial skin. Women often try to hold back a smile or other expressions, in the belief that this will stave off the wrinkling process. This is foolish and may even give your face a mask-like appearance. Natural expressiveness is an important human trait, one that distinguishes our personalities. Instead of giving up smiling, a more sensible approach is disciplining yourself to a good skin-maintenance routine. (On the other hand, you should try to avoid habitual frowning, pursing of the lips, or any other nervous tics that can etch deep lines in your face over time.)

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2. Nature’s armor

Skin wraps the entire body and internal organs, providing a shield against various irritations. This natural armor takes a considerable amount of punishment— it’s the only thing between you and bacteria, ultraviolet rays, chemicals, vast temperature fluctuations, poisonous substances, and sudden blows to the body. Cosmetics, if used properly, act as a kind of skin-on-the-skin.

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3. A thermostat

The skin does 80 percent of the job of regulating body temperature. In cold environments, the blood vessels and pores constrict to conserve heat. Subcutaneous fat—a layer of fat beneath the surface of the skin— also keeps the body warm. And when it’s hot, the blood vessels expand to induce sweating and help the body shed heat. Sweat glands are generally concentrated in the palms, soles of the feet, and forehead. In addition to sweat, a minute amount of moisture—insensible perspiration—is constantly being released both from the surface of the skin and by exhaled water vapor. The water lost via insensible perspiration can amount to as much as 1.5 pints (700 milliliters) a day.

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4. In with the good, out with the bad

Only certain kinds of substances can be absorbed by the skin, so understanding its role in absorbing nutrients and excreting wastes is critical to the correct application of cosmetics. Excretion is performed by two types of glands: pores, which expel oil, and sweat glands, which give off perspiration. The pores are also capable of absorbing substances, but ONLY those that are liposoluble, or non-water soluble, that is, dissolvable in fat solvents and alcohol. Note: Rubbing lemon juice on the skin or applying other water-soluble substances is a waste of time if deep-down skin health is your goal, because these liquids cannot be absorbed, and work only on the surface of the skin.

In the prime of your youth—when you’re around 22 or 23—your skin has already hit middle age. Until then, your skin is preserved naturally by a film of oil and sweat. Even after washing with soap, the skin quickly produces a new filmy layer, a kind of natural skin cream. But after your early 20s, your skin can’t manufacture enough moisture by itself, and has to be assisted by lotions and creams with a surface active agent, or emulsifier, which assists your skin with the absorption process.

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To avoid an allergic reaction or irritation, care is required in choosing skin preparations. And if your skin is already in good shape (not too dry, not too oily), you must be especially careful not to pile on heavy creams that may disturb your skin’s natural balance. The trick is to add only what is needed, leaving all the unnecessary extras where they belong—in the jar. Your goal should be to help your skin maintain its peak condition naturally, not to make it dependent on synthetic helpers.

Caring for your skin is like tending to a pair of your favorite leather shoes. With proper maintenance, they will get better with age. But expose them to the elements, neglect to clean them properly, forget to buff them once in a while, and soon that lovely, smooth pair of shoes will look like bargain-basement junk. Spare your face from a similar fate.

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5. A transmitter of sensations

Skin transmits a plethora of outside stimuli, anything from heat and cold, to pain and itching, to the central nervous system. The softness of a cashmere sweater, the coolness of silk against your body— all are conveyed via the skin.

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6. It breathes, too

Cutaneous respiration—when your skin “breathes”— resembles pulmonary respiration. What most of us think of as the process of breathing occurs when the lungs take in oxygen and expire carbon dioxide. Your capillaries also take in oxygen, but expel carbon dioxide in far greater proportion. This process is unique to human beings.

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