Recently I read this article, Moisturizing skin may cut dementia risk, UC researchers say.
I have never really taken care of my skin. I never got acne, just the occasional pimple. I washed my face at least once a day with Phisoderm or Cetaphil, gentle cleansers.
I didn’t moisturize regularly, and applied sunscreen only when I planned to spend the day out doing some activity, like skiing or going to the beach.
But this article made me think about my skin as an organ. According to researchers, it is our largest organ, roughly 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms) and 22 square feet (2 square meters).
Could it be affecting or partially responsible for my MS? How could it not?
I poked around in the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed* search: [(skin[Text Word]) AND multiple sclerosis[MeSH Terms]], but didn’t see anything relevant. Mind you, I’m not a scientist or expert in medicine. Caveat Emptor!
*PubMed comprises more than 29 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.
I read that one study determined that exposure to sunlight did not increase your chances of developing the disease and another discussed vitamin D supplementation guidelines.
I did see at lot of discussion about MS and sympathetic skin response (SSR) as diagnostic test. The SSR test measures whether the sympathetic nerves of the skin are working.
Apparently in a lot of MSers, the response is absent in one or both limbs, for example. In healthy subjects the response is always there. This is interesting, but not something I think I could fix!
Next I tried an internet search. Again I found nothing MS specific, although there are some warnings on various drugs about possible skin cancer. Meaning that some subjects began showing skin cancer during or after the trial.
There is no way to tell if the skin cancer was already “on board” before the trial started. Or if the drug made them more sensitive to the sun.
National Geographic does report that of the skin’s three layers, the “epidermis harbors defensive Langerhans cells, which alert the body’s immune system to viruses and other infectious agents.” (More on Lagerhans cells)
So there is some involvement there!
Yet again I find interesting (to me) information, but nothing conclusive. Just a vague hypothesis: I think I should be taking care of my skin better. But who knows what that means?
For now, I will just accept prevailing theory until proven otherwise. So I resolve to craft a regular, daily, non-negotiable skin care routine, something like this:
Wash my face once a day, every night. Don’t over wash and risk drying out the skin, causing it to produce more oil.
Wash my feet every night before bed, slather with lotion
Slather body lotion daily – moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
Use sunscreen daily or at least before venturing outside anywhere
Ask your GP to include a regular skin cancer check in your annual, or see a dermatologist. Some doctors recommend every year!
Drink lots of water
All this is based on my gut feeling about the right thing to do for me. Your results may vary! 🙂