We don’t realize that our skin is the largest living and breathing organ of our body. On my mother’s paternal side I had a great- grandmother who was near and dear to our family. She raised my mom for most of her childhood. I remember looking at pictures of my great grandmother when I was a young adult thinking when I grow up I definitely want her long lifespan and soft skin as well. She lived 101 years. She had multi-ethnic roots, having an African American father and a Cherokee Indian mother. As a child I remember spending time with her. I would sit and listen to her stories and watch her quilt. I was in awe of her knowledge and envious of the softness of her skin.
Our skin is the first line of defense and connection to the environment that surrounds us; both the positive and negative aspects of the environment. Our body’s immune system works to heal our skin from acne, minor cuts, scrapes, bruises and wounds and the changes in the temperature. It also responds to the type of foods we eat…fruits, vegetables, meats, calcium, oils and fats. Our skin needs extra care from us too.
It’s important for all of us to moisturize our skin from head to toe and front to back daily. Many of us who are moms can think of the time we spend bathing our babies and then placing a conditioning moisturizer onto their skin. Yet, do we spend this time for ourselves, take time to do it and have the right moisturizing lotion that works for our own skin type? This is an important question for everyone—women, men and children and especially pregnant women.
As an African American woman I find that this is a task I have to stay on top of regularly. I remember during my first pregnancy going through the phase of having itchy skin and I would moisturize my belly to reduce the scratching. There are many moisturizing products on the market. You have to find the right moisturizer for your skin. Your local pharmacist, primary care physician, OB-GYN or dermatologist can recommend skin moisturizers appropriate for you. If you have sensitive skin or certain skin allergies there are specific products you should research and experiment to find what will work for you. One tip that I can offer is researching products that are organic or have natural plant and tree oils, these seem to work well for me. I also avoid products that have high fragrances. I find in certain times of the season, such as the winter months, our skin gets very dry, brittle, rough and ashy; so daily moisturizing is extra important. Spending the time to protect your body’s largest organ will pay off—and for me I’m hoping it gives me the soft skin my great-grandmother had for 101 years.