The skin is an organ, and it is the largest one we have. But, having healthy skin is about more than appearance, it is an indication of what is happening inside. As the seasons shift, the skin also has to adapt too.
The Sweat Factor
As temperatures start rising, the body naturally starts to produce more sweat. For some, this can be the start of a heat rash. This irritating, itchy and angry red rash is common in summer months as the result of increased sweat output, blocked sweat glands, and friction.
Children, in particular, are more likely to experience heat rash as their sweat glands are still developing. This is often worse in the evening, with the added warmth of bed and bed sheets further aggravating hot and itchy skin.
Cooling compresses can reduce discomfort, while light clothing and increased water intake keep the body cool, acting as a signal that extra sweat isn’t needed. Kiwiherb’s Bedtime Bliss is a calming option to help resettle young ones in the late hours, with herbs that will also support rash clearance.
Topically, the Chamomile, Calendula and Koromiko in Kiwiherb’s Organic Baby Balm can help to reduce itching and soothe inflammation. Kiwiherb’s Organic Calendula Healing Balm is another choice for older children and adults to counter the discomfort of heat rash.
Excessive sweat can also impact the pH and sebum production of the facial skin, increasing pimple or acne development in warmer months. Regular washing with gentle cleansers can help facial skin, with fragrance-free soaps for the rest of the body.
Vitamin D from the sun is like a nice big endorphin hug from Mother Nature. It is crucial for skin health, bone integrity, immunity, digestive health and energy. However, if you are head to toe in sunblock from the moment you step outside, the body can’t absorb it as efficiently.
While sunblock does play a role in keeping skin healthy, utilising shade and dressing for the elements is just as important. Up to ten minutes of direct sun exposure in summer is typically long enough to soak up Vitamin D while avoiding sunburn. Being aware of personal skin tolerance and avoiding peak sun times are also common-sense measures to indicate how long in the sun is too long.
The choice of sunblock does matter. Products that are put on the skin are partially absorbed and can enter the bloodstream, so quality products and ingredients are important.
It’s also good to remember that an overcast sky still delivers sun exposure and harmful UV rays.
For times when ‘fun in the sun’ gets a bit out of hand, Kiwiherb’s Skin Restore Cream can offer defence against sun-induced skin damage. The combination of Hoheria, Green tea, and Grape seed with Kiwifruit extract helps to improve moisture and provides antioxidants for dry, inflamed skin.
Trust Your Gut
Skin health isn’t just skin deep. Rather, the function of the digestive system is crucial to skin appearance and function. This becomes even more important with the change of seasons and hypersensitivity skin reactions. There is even a skin-gut pathway, communicating messages to each other and interconnected with one another. Ideally, working together in synergy.
Itchy skin and hives are among the raft of hayfever symptoms. The gut microbiome plays an important role in managing these symptoms by communicating with immune cells. Histamine is one of the products released by immune cells in response to pollens or allergens and is responsible for increased itching and congested, runny noses and watery eyes.
The variety and presence of healthy microbes within the gut are like a conductor, establishing how strong this response will be. Microbes also impact gut junctions.
The intestines are like a winding road for food to travel down, and the junctions of the intestines are the road barriers. If the junctions are not close enough together due to food intolerances, poor microbiome, stress and food choices - then partially digested food can move off the track. Just as we don’t want the car ending up in a ditch, we don’t want food moving out of the intestinal tract and into blood circulation.
If this does happen, it is often referred to as ‘leaky gut’. This contributes to increased sensitivity to seasonal changes and skin conditions such as eczema.
Probiotics can be helpful to improve beneficial bacteria levels, while zinc and vitamin C are important for maintaining gut junctions and managing histamine releases. Nourishing the biome that exists on the skin is just as important. Limiting anti-bacterial gels and wearing gloves when using disinfectant products can help.
Topical support is important to soothe symptoms. Kiwiherb’s Kawakawa Soothing Balm can reduce inflammation and the likelihood of infection from excessive itching or skin cracking. For younger children and babies, Kiwiherb Organic Baby Balm is ideal for eczema or nappy rash.
The De-tour Route
The skin is also one of the body’s elimination organs. Anything unused by the body that isn’t sorted out by the kidneys, liver, and bowel, can end up being removed through the skin.
Helping the liver and bowel can be as simple as cutting back on high-sugar foods and processed fats. Ensuring there is plenty of dietary fibre and a variety of fruits and vegetables keeps bowels moving regularly to prevent hormone or toxin re-absorption.
Food is also one of the best ways to treat your skin. Omega 3 fatty acids, iodine, zinc, selenium, vitamin A, C and E can help to improve skin appearance and resilience. Hydration is also key, and water should be the primary fluid, particularly important in the summer months.
The skin is a living, breathing, waterproof coat of armour that shields the body from the outside world. Our skin contains beneficial bacteria that is essential for our health much like our gut microbiome. Changes in the seasons can trigger changes in the skin and also our inner health. This can be helped by including adequate food choices, hydration, and some gentle herbal support.
- Liu C, Jiang W, Yang F, Cheng Y, Guo Y, Yao W, Zhao Y, Qian H. The combination of microbiome and metabolome to analyze the cross-cooperation mechanism of Echinacea purpurea polysaccharide with the gut microbiota in vitro and in vivo. Food & Function [Internet]. 2022 Oct 3[Cited 2022]; 13(19):10069-10082. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36093868/