Organs Of Protection And Detoxification
The Skin

The skin is the largest detoxification organ of the body and is composed of two main strata - the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the external layer of the skin and is composed of four thin epithelial cell layers. The inner layer of the skin is called the dermis and it is made up of connective tissues.

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The epidermis
The epidermis or the external layer of the skin is about 1 mm in thickness and made up of cells that are closely packed. This layer mainly serves to protect the skin. However, the thickness of the epidermis' top stratum varies in different body areas and it is also pigmented. The thickness of this layer determines whether the chemicals can enter the skin easily as well as the pace at which these chemicals are absorbed by the body. The palm of the hand is, however, an exception. Although the thickness of this layer of the epidermis is more thick compared to the other parts of our body, it can easily absorb various chemicals.
The basal skin cell layer is composed of new cells, which completely replace the epidermis at least once every month. The epidermis also contains melanocyte cells that produce a pigment called melanin, which is responsible for the complexion of one's skin. In addition, melanin cells also work to protect the body from harm caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays, skin cancer as well as sunburn. Melanin possesses the aptitude to absorb visible light, ultraviolet rays and also eliminates free radicals, which are detrimental for our health.
The cells of the epidermis make lipids as well as keratin, a form of protein. Lipids like fatty acids and cholesterol are useful in protecting the skin from cracking and water loss. In addition, epidermis can also make vitamin D with assistance from sunlight. Vitamin D is a vital nutriment that helps to sustain the levels of calcium and phosphate in the body. These two are essential for bone development as well as their repair.
The dermis
The dermis lies below the epidermis and is also thicker compared to the latter. Proteins like collagen and elastin constitute the dermis. These particular forms of protein not only make the skin supple, but also strengthen it. However, different from the epidermis, the dermis receives proper supplies of blood and lymph. In addition, the dermis also contains nerve cells.
The dermis also encloses the sebaceous glands, sweat glands like eccrine and apocrine as well as hair follicles. As the eccrine sweat glands are spread over the surface of the body they aid in controlling the body temperature. On the other hand, the apocrine sweat glands open inward to the hair follicles and they give up cells while releasing various secretions. The dermis releases a lipid mixture called sebum, which possesses antibacterial as well as antifungal qualities. Sebum is useful in other ways too as it facilitates the body in excreting small amounts of toxic substances that are lipid-soluble.

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How toxins enter the skin

The ability of different toxins to penetrate the skin varies and their absorption is also influenced by numerous factors. To some extent the toxins should be water soluble in order to be absorbed by the body. It is important to note that toxins that are either only soluble in water or in lipids are not absorbed into the body very easily. On the contrary, it has been found that oily solutions are generally able to break through the skin without much difficulty, as the skin soaks up lipids very easily. However, the substances that are soluble in water penetrate the skin readily when it is wet. Similarly, the skin becomes more permeable when the environmental temperature is high. Besides, compared to unharmed skin, chemicals are able to enter the skin more easily when it is damaged or cracked. In addition, a number of toxins are directly absorbed into the body via the hair follicles present in our skin.

Solvents or thinners too can penetrate the skin very easily, as they are lipid soluble. In addition, caustic chemicals like alkaline and acidic solutions too can break through the skin without difficulty. When any chemical goes into the epidermis, it subsequently enters upon the dermis. As the blood circulation in the dermis is high, it promptly carries the substance into our bloodstream.

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Protective devices

Like the sebum, the naturally occurring microbial flora found on the skin surface also serves to prevent infections. While the sebum works to put off assaults by microbes from the external surroundings like bacteria, it is unable to prevent the toxic substances from penetrating the skin and being absorbed by the body. In addition, the cells that compose the epidermis also possess the aptitude to make an assortment of lipids, which also provide the type of protection provided by the sebum, but are unable to prevent the absorption of toxins. Even the hair on our skin has protective actions, provided it is able to put off the toxins invading the skin.

In addition to the various defensive mechanisms of the skin, a number of people also employ physical barriers in an endeavour to protect the skin from coming in contact with toxic substances. Creams are one such physical barrier that prevents the skin's exposure to toxins, but generally they are unable to block the absorption of toxins. Although using rubber gloves may help in protecting the skin from toxic substances, there are a number of microorganisms as well as chemicals that can even break through these gloves and invade the skin. In such situations, gloves made of thin plastic are effective in thwarting toxic substances from coming in contact with the skin. Nevertheless, once any chemical enters the glove, there are possibilities that it will be absorbed by the skin quite easily.

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The skin possesses the aptitude to metabolize or process sever substances, including drugs, steroid hormones and even a number of xenobiotics, as it encloses the enzyme known as cytochrome P-450. In effect, the skin changes these compounds into simpler forms that are soluble in water and can subsequently be eliminated from the body. These toxic substances are excreted in the sweat in small amounts through the minute skin pores. Some amount of these toxins is also excreted by means of the sebaceous glands.

The very first part of the detoxification or the body's cleansing process includes getting rid of soaps, lotions and cosmetics that enclose a number of toxic chemicals collectively called parabens. These toxic substances are responsible for the estrogenic activity (actions that are similar to those of estrogens) in the body and if used by successive generations, they may eventually result in the development of breast cancer or also cause birth defects. Estrogenic activity may result in feminization in males, thereby reducing their sperm count. In the case of women, it may cause problems related to the reproductive system, such as prolapsed uterus and cervix and even infertility. In fact, soaps, conditioners, shampoos and other items of personal care contain several thousand such substances that you would not like your body to be exposed to if you are aware of the harm caused by them. Hence, it is important that you should begin your detoxification program by eliminating the parabens. Moreover, it is important that while choosing your cosmetics and cleansers you should ensure that you only buy those that contain organic substances.

The detoxification method known as dry skin brushing is extremely important to support the various different detoxification organs, such as the kidneys, liver and the organs that comprise the digestive system. Often dead skin cells, as well as the waste substances excreted through the skin pores, may accumulate and congest the skin, making it difficult for it to carry out a thorough detoxification of the body. Although we perspire when we undertake any activity or participate in sports, we are not able to excrete toxins and waste materials through the skin as it is blocked from before, forcing the waste and toxins to remain trapped inside the dermis. On many occasions, this may result in acne, skin rashes, hives and other unwanted and disgusting effects. Hence, dry skin brushing is vital. It is advisable that while dry skin brushing you should use any natural brush and always ensure that your skin is dry before undertaking this detoxification method. In addition, dry skin brushing should be done in a manner that it leads towards the heart and lymphatic glands. Doing this will augment the circulation of lymph, which not only perks up the immune system, but also facilitates the detoxification of the body.

Sweating or perspiring is also an excellent means to reduce the body's toxic burdens and detoxify it. A great way to eliminate the toxic substances from the body is to undertake physical activities that make you sweat a lot. Similarly, a dry sauna is another excellent way to get rid of toxins and waste materials from the body. Provided you have a dry sauna facility at hand, you should ensure that you drink plenty of water or coconut water, which contains loads of potassium, to hydrate your body prior to sitting in a dry sauna to undertake the thermal depuration (cleansing) program, which allows you to purify your body be sweating profusely. Sweat usually contains a variety of toxic substances, including pesticides and heavy metals. In addition to detoxifying the body by employing heat, dry saunas are helpful in other ways too. Dry sauna facilitates in breaking down fatty build up in the body more rapidly and excreting the toxins, which are usually stored in such fatty deposits, from the body in a better manner.

It is recommended that you install water purification mechanisms on the shower head in your bathroom or get a water filter at your residence, as it will help to remove unwanted elements like chlorine, fluoride, aluminum, arsenic and pesticides from the water supplied by your municipal corporation and make it more suitable for use. Even activated charcoal can take away a portion of the toxic substances. However, it is not able to remove the entire toxins, as activated charcoal only attracts specific substances. Provided it is affordable, you should try to get a complete house filter that will cleanse the entire water supply to your home. Alternatively, you may buy a relatively small filtering unit that is actually effective.

Putting the guidelines provided here into practice is a wonderful way to start detoxifying your body and enabling your skin to do the remaining job. Apart from the tips mentioned above, you should practice deep breathing to slow down your brainpower, spend some quality time in nature, and also make some additional time from your schedule for meditation or contemplation, as this will help you to decrease the production of stress hormones in the body, thereby reducing the burden of the detoxifying mechanisms of your body. It is important to note that stress is also a toxin, which people often tend to ignore.


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