Our skin is our largest organ. It covers our body from head to foot through varying thickness, size and strength, it is our greatest defence, designed to protect us from the environment. There are simple ways to assist and care for our skin, that all people should be aware of to better defend ourselves and this vital organ against a threatening environment.
Warning Climate change is often mooted as the issue of our times, its hazards are well publicised and the effects commonly seen. Blistering heat, worsening cold and rising floods have huge potential to effect the quality of lives of so many, but none more so than those with least defences; the infant, the elderly and the homeless.
Action Doing nothing is not an option! Rapid climate change is a possibility and none should say ‘that’s all we can do as Dermatologists!’ Our influence must extend to all animal and plant life. Exploration societies’ and Armed Forces’ literature, on coping with extremes of climate, should be read. Climate change literature on management of hazards from sun burn and skin cancer to water immersion includes a long history of interventions and acclimatisation skills to build upon.
We must be bringing superior coping mechanisms and simple solutions to those who so require it in extremes that are progressively worsening. Uncomplicated measures can be adopted from wearing several thin layers rather than one thick layer which traps warm air close to the body. Likewise, in excessive heat plan outdoor activities in the early morning, plan ahead to map shaded areas and meeting places with air conditioning. Natural fibres, an umbrella and equipping yourself with sufficient water fit for drinking all ensure maximum relief from harsh sun conditions.
Insulation and ventilation play key roles in the survival of extreme conditions and to the benefit of skin care in basic terms. Obvious though these solutions may seem to us, they are fundamental tactics in ensuring a greater method of preventing long term conditions and should be made obvious to the community as a whole.