(and gives our primary immune defense system a fighting chance.)
During this COVID-19 pandemic we are all trying to do our best to prevent the spread of infection by maintaining social distancing and constantly washing our hands. Dry skin abounds as a result, and in this article, I want to explain why moisturized skin is also equally important to our health.
First of all, hooray for those of us doing our part to fight the devastating impact of this virus by adhering to these guidelines. (And kudos to our mom, a nurse working with dialysis patients, many with COVID-19.)
At A Girl's Gotta Spa! proper skin care is at the apex of our mission, not just for beauty, but for health!
As a nurse myself, and AGGS team member, I couldn’t help but notice the magnitude and severity of people’s chapped and dry skin in the market places.
When I saw this, my spidy senses began to tingle! You might be thinking, “Courtney, really? Dry skin is what’s turning up your tentacles during this pandemic?!”
My answer is, absolutely and with emphasis! Before you shrug me off too quick, here is why:
- Our skin is the largest organ on the body
- Our skin is our PRIMARY barrier to prevent the entrance of nasty pathogens
- Our skin is not only a barrier it IS an active and complex immune system organ
- Our skin is a surveillance system
- Our skin is noted by Dr. Salmon, Armstrong, and Ansel as “The frontline of immune protection against environmental toxins and microbes.”
Understand that dry skin creates enough rivets and divots in the skin to create areas where outside pathogens can collect and grow in addition to the norm.
For instance if I took dirt and rubbed it over a smooth surface, it might be smeared but it would be rather easy to shake and wash off, right? Now imagine I rub that same dirt over a surface with crevices of varying degrees of deepness. The dirt isn’t only smeared on the top it collects thicker and more compact in those crevices, right?
Well, think of moisturized skin as the smooth surface and dry skin as the one with crevices, and think of the dirt as bacteria and other pathogens.
To rid our skin of carrying around the virus and passing it along to others, or from others to ourselves, repeat handwashing (the best defense) and hand sanitizer with 60%+ alcohol (when washing your hands aren't possible) are necessary. But they also lead to very dry, chapped skin.
Dry skin is dehydrated skin, which means the organ is depleted of the ability to fight its best fight. This happens by allowing the introduction of additional pathogens to fight (shown above) and results in depletion of the skins natural ability to regenerate.
Without moisture the skin cannot adequately relay the message to build new skin. In addition, dry skin can lead to the break down of our primary barrier, and, if severe enough, cause an inflammatory response, which then predisposes the body to a weakened ability to fight any secondary intruders, so to speak.
Think of it like this, you’re about to enter a war, you have your weapons, your biggest strongest weapons, but you have no protective gear and you're completely dehydrated, how strong are you going to be?
What do you think your odds of winning are? Maybe you could fight off a few of the enemies with those powerful weapons, but if you have to run, how long will you last? If you get injured, how fast will you heal when already impaired?
I hope this is painting the visual and helping you connect the dots of why my spidy senses went off, and more importantly why such a strong need for the education and connection of properly moisturized skin is equally as important as washing our hands and maintaining social distancing when it comes to protecting our health, others health (concerning transmission), and conditioning our skin so it can do its best job as a barrier and defender to outside pathogens!
A Girl's Gotta Spa! has natural beauty products perfect for keeping skin hydrated.
- Citrus Body Scrub and Lavender Body Scrub: Each scrub both exfoliates and moisturizes skin, and works great on very dry hands.
- Sulfate-Free Body Wash: You may not think of a body wash for your hands, but when you need a cleanser that soothes instead of stings, our aloe-based body wash is a great alternative.
- Moisturizing Body Lotion: With shea and cocoa butter, and olive oil, our body lotion quickly absorbs into hands keeping them hydrated and soft.
Whether you use our products or not, please make sure you are applying moisturizer to your skin regularly, as it is an easy way to help protect yourself - pandemic or not.
Has this article helped you? If so, we'd love for you to share it with others!
References on Proper Skin Care and Immune Health, How it Connects:
- CDC: Show Me the Science When and How to Use Hand Sanitizer
- Mayo Clinic: Dry Skin
- Proksch E., Brandner J. M., Jensen J.-M. (2008). The skin: an indispensable barrier. Exp. Dermatol. 17, 1063–1072. 10.1111/j.1600- 0625.2008.00786.x
- PMC: The skin as an immune organ (Drs. Salmon, Armstrong, and Ansel)
- DovePress: The regenerative potential of skin and the immune system
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.