A resounding theme in 2020 has been the lungs and respiration. From the international respiratory virus pandemic to George Flloyd and his last words, “I can’t breathe,” to the horrific fires all over the western United States. Interestingly grief and sadness are emotions often associated with the lungs.
The lungs and skin are intimately related in many facets of medicine. They are the only two organs that are directly exposed to atmospheric oxygen!
Does the skin breathe? Yes, it does! One of the main functions of our skin is respiration. It has been known since 1851 that atmospheric oxygen is taken up by the human epidermis. There are various cells in the skin that uptake oxygen and expel carbon dioxide.
The skin cells require oxygen that they receive both from the atmosphere around them and the lower layers of the skin. Of course, because we are not amphibians, the contribution to total respiration is negligible. It is not the same action as when we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide. There is a robust connection between the lungs and the skin. They are the only two organs that are directly exposed to atmospheric oxygen!
Generally, the liver and the entire digestive system are intimately related to various acute skin issues. Traditional Chinese, Ayurvedic, and Western herbal medicines all regard a powerful connection between the lungs and the skin. Additionally, a study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that the amount of pollution women were exposed to correlated with the depth of wrinkles! We know that pollution and smoking damage the skin and weaken the lungs, and put us at risk for illness. Working to reduce our carbon footprint is one hugely important thing we can do to help restore the air, but on a more immediate basis, there are things we can do to support our lungs right now.
Western herbs for lung support:
Thyme: A natural expectorant meaning it breaks up congestion and treats coughs, this herb is antimicrobial and helps to fight off infection. Thyme tea with honey is fantastic! (contraindicated during pregnancy)
Elecampane: Part of the sunflower family, this beautiful tall flowering plant is a favorite of many! This is a very strong expectorant helping to relieve mucus and congestion and soothing for coughs. This makes a lovely tea or can me infused into honey! (contraindicated during pregnancy and breast feeding)
Yerba Mansa: is one that can be used during pregnancy and is fantastic for cold and flu season. This beautiful herb can help to reduce congestion and inflammation in the mucus membranes! This can be prepared as a tea or a tincture for lung support!
My favorite essential oils to diffuse for lung support:
Ravintsara: I can’t talk about this essential oil enough. Inhaling it completely clears the respiratory tract. It is powerfully antiviral and decongestant.
Rosemary: breaks up congestion as well as reduces inflammation. Bonus: rosemary is also known to boost brain power! I diffuse this often while I am working!
What are you doing to support your lungs and to support your skin? Share in the comments!
Restorative Fire Cider Recipe Fire Cider is a fold herbal remedy popularized by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, but has been made for generations as a general health tonic, and is especially helpful to boost immunity during cold and flu season. It helps to warm the body, aids digestion, lowers blood sugar, boosts metabolism, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and more!
Help- I Have Mask-ne, Raw, Dry, and Sensitive Skin!
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CBD (cannabidiol) is taking the skincare world by storm. It's like the new vitamin C! Just like vitamin C, CBD is chalk full of benefits for the skin.
CBD is a lipid-based molecule in the Cannabis plant called a phytocannabinoid. Cannabis has over 100 phytocannabinoids, each having their own therapeutic value. Phytocannabinoids communicate with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), one of our body's major systems which regulates and promotes balance or homeostasis within every function of the body including sleep, reproduction, memory, and more!
The skin is a dynamic organ; there is a lot going on in there! It is producing oil to protect and lubricate the skin. The skin is producing melanin to protect from injury. Skin cells have a life cycle, it starts when they form in the bottom layer of the epidermis. These cells morph while they migrate to the surface of the epidermis. Skin cells start as fat, plump, juicy cells on the bottom layer and eventually turn into flat, crunchy cornflake cells on the top layer. This process of morphing and migrating, life cycle of a skin cell takes 28 days in healthy skin. Collagen and elastin are being synthesized, and more! The endocannabinoid system is responsible for regulating all of this. Remember, CBD communicates with the endocannabinoid system to promote balance!
Here are my 5 reasons topical CBD will save your skin!
1. Support of Vibrant Aging (I HATE the term anti-aging): CBD is anti-inflammatory, and inflammation is a pre-cursor to aging. CBD has a high antioxidant value, higher than vitamins A, C, and E. This means it helps to protect from free radical damage like the sun, pollution, poor diet, etc. CBD also helps to balance the lifecycle of the skin cell, which slows with age; resulting in dull lackluster skin. CBD also promotes balance of oil production which slows with age, drying the skin out and making it look less vibrant with more visible lines. Another sign of premature aging is dark spots that can be caused by the sun, medications, acne scarring, or injury among other things. CBD regulates melanin production, helping to brighten the skin.
2. Heals and Prevents Acne: CBD is anti-bacterial, but not only that, CBD selectively destroys pathogenic bacteria while leaving non-pathogenic bacteria (supporting the micro-biome of the skin). CBD regulates oil production which is helpful for both dry acne and oily acne.
3. Manages Pigmentation: CBD regulates melanogenesis, the process of pigment production in the skin. In addition, pigment production is a result of inflammation or perceived injury by the skin, because CBD is anti-inflammatory it fights this inflammation.
4. Assists Healing of Eczema and Psoriasis: The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD properties of CBD are beneficial for both eczema and psoriasis. In addition, both psoriasis and eczema may be triggered by an overgrowth of staphylococcus bacterium. The oil regulating properties of CBD help heal the impaired barrier on the surface of the skin.
5. Balances Combination and Oily Skin, while Moisturizing Dry Skin: All due to the regulation of oil production!!
These are just a few reasons CBD skincare is the bomb! I exclusively use ColorUp professional CBD skincare because they are the best skincare I've EVER used (CBD or not)!!! Not only will you find organic Colorado hemp CBD, but a plethora of other cosmeceutical ingredients that pack a heavy punch for beautiful, glowing skin. Follow me to the CBD skincare shop!
Emily Davis is the owner of Stratum Aesthetics and has been a licensed esthetician since 2007. She is a holistic esthetician specializing in cannabis skin care.