Protecting the Skin Microbiome

Skin layers
It’s estimated that approximately 1000 different species of bacteria are included in the 1 billion microorganisms that live on each square centimeter of our skin.  It is now becoming quite clear that the skin microbiome (collective set of microorganisms and their genetic material) modulates skin diseases, influences metabolic processes and is important for skin immunity.  The diversity of the skin microbiome is influenced by various factors including transient microbes, genetic predispositions, location and environmental characteristics.

 

In 2007, the National Institute of Health provided funding for a Microbiome Project Consortium to characterize the human microbial communities present at specific body locations including skin.  Recent advances in the molecular analysis of skin microbes revealed a greater diversity of skin bacteria than had been found previously using culture-based methods that were limited by the difficulties of growing certain species in the laboratory.  It is now known that the microenvironment of skin characterized by sebum, moisture and hair follicles is highly associated with a bacterial community that is either commensal (does no harm) or symbiotic (mutually beneficial).  In fact, many beneficial bacteria protect our skin from dangerous pathogens.

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Aging, Glycine, and Epigenetics

What if you could alter your DNA to improve your chances of living a long and healthy life through simple dietary choices?  We frequently hear the debate about nature versus nurture that asks the question if we are more a product of our genetic code or the environment that we live in.  When DNA was first discovered and the science of genetics began, it was thought that a person’s genetic code functioned somewhat independently of the environment.  Basically, you are what your genetic code says you are and nothing can change that.  This concept holds true for many traits such as the color of your eyes and hair, but as we understand more about genetics, we are beginning to learn that our environment and diet may have more effects on our genes than first thought.

 

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The Importance of Skin Minerals

Skin layers

Many minerals are recognized in the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010), as being essential for human health and well being, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and selenium1.Although, it is well established that the dietary intake of minerals is essential for general health, there is also increasing evidence for the importance of minerals in skin health2.

 

Interestingly, a significant amount of these essential minerals can be found in spas, medicinal clays (as well as a large amounts of trace minerals), mud baths and mineral water baths that have been used for centuries in skin health and healing.

The use of minerals for medicinal purposes has been recorded since the times of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks when mineral-rich earths were used for their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.   Hippocrates and Aristotle produced classifications of medicinal earths, which were mostly clays.  In modern times, the minerals used for therapeutic purposes are also from clay materials due to the cost and difficulty of synthetic mineral production3.  In addition, clay minerals are probably commonly used because they are the “most abundant components of the surface mineral world4.

Viniferamine® SkinMineralZ is the only skin care product to combine the amazing healing power of three mineral-rich clays with zinc oxide and carboxymethylcellulose.   SkinMineralZ corrects skin mineral deficiencies associated with poor healing and helps remove toxins and contaminants from skin.  Viniferamine® SkinMineralZ-ST™ is “skin toned” so it blends with skin color to provide a contemporary approach to wellness, individual privacy and skin healing dignity.

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The Spark of Life: Sulfur

Strike a match, and you see the tip of the match quickly ignite in a burst of energy. Blow the match out and you quickly recognize a very distinct and familiar odor. That specific odor comes from the element sulfur, that is responsible for the ability of matches to ignite. But did you know that the same element is also vital for many of the biochemical processes in the human body? Without sulfur, the “spark of life” would not be possible. It is the sixth most abundant macro-mineral found in breast milk, and as a percentage of body weight it is the third most abundant mineral found in adults.1

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Helping Reduce Biofilms and Chronic Wounds

Skin layers

Approximately 1-2% of people develop chronic wounds in their lifetime.  It’s estimated that in the United States, around 6.5 million patients experience chronic wounds resulting in close to $25 billion dollars spent annually for their treatment.Chronic wounds are wounds that have failed to proceed through the normal wound repair (healing) process for 3 months or more.  Typical chronic wounds include diabetic foot ulcers, venous leg ulcers, pressure ulcers and ulcers resulting from peripheral vascular disease.  Chronic wounds are extremely complex and have a multitude of potential influencing factors including changes in pH, defective extracellular matrix (ECM) synthesis, chronic inflammation and increased protease production, as well as biofilm formation.  In fact, in a recent study, 60% of the chronic wounds examined contained biofilms. Continue reading

Insomnia, Antihistamines, and Alzheimer’s Disease

Insomnia and other sleep disorders are serious problems that are estimated to directly affect 50% of the American population to some extent.  Sleep disorders have become such an issue that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified insufficient sleep as a public health epidemic.1  People that do not get adequate sleep are more likely to experience trouble concentrating, memory problems, decreased work productivity, and traffic accidents.2–4  Inadequate sleep can also put you at a higher risk of developing chronic diseases including high blood pressure, Type-2 diabetes, depression, obesity, and cancer.1,2

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Reducing Edema-Associated Skin Complications

Skin layers

Skin problems associated with edema (swelling) are common and difficult to treat.  In addition, the diagnosis of lymphedema or phlebolymphedema often signals substantial changes in an individual’s quality of life.  Physical complications and changes in appearance may lead to embarrassment and withdrawal from normal everyday activities.There are two main causes of lymphedema: the removal of lymph nodes during the diagnosis and treatment of cancer, and chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).  Lymphedema associated with cancer is caused by either the removal of lymph nodes during cancer surgery or damage to lymph nodes during radiation therapy.  This loss or damage can reduce or stop the normal flow of lymphatic fluid through the lymphatic system.

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Security for Your Brain

Anybody that has traveled by airplane on multiple occasions has likely experienced an exceptionally long line at the security checkpoint.  These lines can be frustrating, but we tolerate the inconvenience because we know it is a necessary process to maintain safety and security.  Take a moment to consider the fact that your brain actually has its own biological security screening.  Your brain restricts the types of chemical compounds that are able to move from your blood stream into your brain to help protect it.

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Reducing Xerosis (Abnormally Dry Skin)

Skin layers

Xerosis or abnormally dry skin is a common skin problem especially among older individuals.  With normal (or intrinsic) skin aging, as opposed to skin aged by the sun, skin becomes thinner, has a decreased amount of blood flow and lipids, and collagen in the skin becomes fragmented resulting in drier, more colorless skin with fine wrinkles.

In contrast, photoaging (or extrinsic aging) caused by UV radiation is characterized by the accumulation of abnormal elastin in the skin and the disintegration of collagen resulting in deep wrinkles, hyperpigmentation (age or liver spots) and a leathery appearance of the skin.

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