Charmaine D’s main focus is always Natural Skin Hygiene, and as a naturopath works with the skin using the principles of corneotherapy.

What does this mean? To put it simply, it is the care of the Stratum Corneum, the outer layer of the skin and our first line of defence for the body, with topical therapies using products that mimic skin structure and function.

It is an innovative and progressive way of thinking, using the core principles of correction and restoration of the stratum corneum and barrier defence systems, while keeping the epidermis intact at all costs. It is otherwise known as the outside-in approach to skin repair.

Charmaine D takes your skin seriously and uses a naturopathic approach to treating your skin and your skin’s conditions. Through her use of corneotherapy she can facilitate your skincare needs.

The skin microbiome consists of both normal and indigenous microbes which are present on body surfaces that are covered by epithelial cells and are exposed to the external environment (gastrointestinal and respiratory tract, vagina, skin and so on). When exposed to an infection the skin is the first line of defence, both a physical and immunological barrier.

Along with the gut, the skin is one of the most immune-surveyed sites in the body.

Natural hygiene sees skin conditions as disrupting the skin’s protective barrier and begins an acute offset process, representing nature’s healing efforts to repair itself. The vitality of the skin’s microbiome and the inflammation cascade begins. For example, with skin eruptions can mean there is something hostile to life and health in the organism which nature (our natural hygiene) is trying to remove or overcome. Therefore, very acute disease is the result of a healing effort of nature.

Now let’s look at the application of cold water on the skin, the first and temporary effect when you practice contrast showers (hot/cold showering) which will be discussed further in part two.

The cold sends blood to the interior, but in order to compensate for the local depletion, our natural body response will be to send greater quantities of blood back to the surface. This results in increased warmth and better surface circulation.

When the body is submerged in cold water, there is an increase in white blood cells, which is what helps the body to fight off infections. This is a great example of nature cure and a naturopathic principle as it is done correctly and for the purpose of keeping the body’s immune system in a really strong, resilient place.

Studies have shown that people who took a cold shower for only 30 seconds for 30 days in a row were 30% less likely to have sick days from work or school compared to those who had warm showers.

To practice this correctly and safely, it is best to alternate between hot/cold water only once.

After your usual hot shower, turn the tap to full cold for the last 30 seconds. It is then important to come back to your natural warmth by drying off and quickly putting on your dressing gown and ugg boots.

Below I will discuss how this practice may be taken to extremes and how, if treated as such, may not be the right practice for you. Also, I will explain the healing crisis that can occur by the disruption of your skin’s microbiome due to extreme cold. A lack of protection may mean your body’s first line of defence, your skin, may lose its function, temporarily or permanently. Although not entirely against it, I wonder if perhaps we are taking the suggestion of thermogenesis too far? Especially when taking it to the extreme with ice plunges.

There are many great health reasons to start cold or ice plunging, especially for inflammatory conditions. However, I am concerned about the effects it may have on skin and how the skin reacts to being exposed to such cold conditions.

My goal is to weigh up both the risks and benefits with skin preservation always at the forefront of thought and always ensuring there will be no negative long term effects. The long term effects of new treatments is hard to understand as the treatments themselves haven’t been around long enough to analyse any effect long term. Therefore, I will continue to look at risks and benefits throughout my studies and research, but for now I want to show you what cold can do to the skin if not controlled.

On a positive note, for short periods of time, cold temperatures cause a change in the hormone secretion norepinephrine which regulates attention, improves focus and energy. But how long should one stay cold? And how quickly should they warm up? And is there any real proof about the long term exposure this could have?

It is claimed that cold water does not strip away the protective layer of oil on our skin, temporarily restricts blood flow to tighten pores, and in turn creates a more toned complexion. But I’m not convinced. Are these claims made by the same people who claim cutting out plants from our diet and replacing them with animal products (including organs) will lead to better health?

Here are some of what the skin goes through when over-exposed to cold temperatures.

Hypothermia, frostbite, vasoconstriction will occur to the blood capilleries, reduced blood flow to the skin in order to preserve body heat, thereby leaving the skin more vulnerable to the cold. If the skin is exposed to temperatures below 15 degrees celsius the skin’s metabolism will slow down by the vasoconstriction an oxygen surplus develops in the tissues causing it to go read and giving you that rosy-cheeked feeling of warmth and tingling. Further exposure to the cold will continue to reduce the skin’s temperature. As it falls below 0 degrees celsius, it freezes solid and a white, waxy pallor occurs in the tissue. Mast cells degranulate and chemical mediators of inflammation are released. Because the responsive tissues are frozen, there is no effect to combat this process. From here, a cascade of complicated shifts occur in intracellular fluids, changing the organelles and causing damage, leading to a stopping of blood circulation as the fluids freeze.

Circulation will return as the thawing of the skin occurs, but the lasting results will be vasodilation edema, burning tingling pain and blistering as the injured cells release the chemical mediators.

So ultimately, contrast showers have the ability to boost your immunity and keep your skin and hair healthy. It is another example of natural hygiene and one that can be so easily added to our daily life to keep our body in an alkaline state. For the majority of us, adding contrast showering, eating fruit until lunchtime to aid with digestion and practising sleep hygiene are the pillar stones in a healthy, resilient body and immune system.

A 30 second cold shower every day, that is all you need for the therapeutic benefits. You don’t need cryotherapy to achieve this and it will keep your skin safe and healthy.

Charmaine D is here for you and is committed to helping you move through your ailments and forward into the rest of your life. 

Book in and see how she can help you!