More than skin deep

by Jan de Vries

My mother, who was almost ninety when she died, still had perfect skin. She always took care of it and although she had a lot of tension, worry and emotional upset during her life, she maintained bodily cleanliness and healthy spirit. Healthy skin was the visible evidence that her diet consisted of all the right foods. It is said that, apart from the stomach, the skin is misused more than any other part of the body. Often we are inclined to ignore the warning signs.

Frequently, we are careless when handling chemicals and often heedless of the contents of skin creams and cosmetics. The skin sends us all kinds of messages and warnings, sometimes in the form of an itch, while other times warning signs are perceived in the form of a blister or rash. Small itchy areas or skin rashes can be the start of major problems such as dermatitis or eczema.

These problems can be caused, especially in young people, by incorrect eating habits. It is also essential to protect the skin when handling any sort of chemicals. Gloves must be worn and care should be taken not to inhale any fumes. If a substance can cause an external reaction, one can only imagine what it might do to the lungs if inhaled.

Another source of skin irritation can be synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester. I have had to treat patients with some very nasty conditions because of allergies to these synthetic fabrics. Recently, a charming young girl came into my clinic with an extremely unpleasant, weeping and reddish skin condition. She was very upset and told me that she had been to doctors, specialists, healers and every time the diagnosis was simply an “unidentified skin disease”.

It took some detective work to get to the root of the problem. After numerous tests, I found that hairspray and the materials used in some of her clothing, had triggered this most unpleasant condition.

She now has beautiful skin and is a much happier person. I believe that every skin condition can be improved if treated correctly. It is important to look at our lifestyle and our habits. By process of elimination, we can often discover the cause.

Alfred Vogel's guide to leading a healthy and happy life

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