When I was much younger I used to suffer all the time from skin rashes . . . from the simple heat rash variety to some pretty annoying allergic reactions with accompanying hives. As a teenager living in the foothills near San Diego, California I had my first brush-up with Poison Oak and that episode left me with a complete rash from the soles of my feet to the top of my scalp. We visited a 'witch doctor' in Escondido who gave me a shot of poison oak extract and advised my parents to scrub my body daily with lava soap. I suffered through two weeks of agonizing itching, soreness and dehydration as my skin weeped and glued bed sheets to my body. My mother told me years later that they really thought I was going to die . . . such was the condition I was in . . . and yet, they trusted the doctor . . . who were they to tell him otherwise?. The only positive outcome of that episode is that now I appear to be essentially immune to reactions from the poison oak varieties . . . not that I tempt fate by wandering through thickets of poison oak just for the heck of it (nude or otherwise.)
Year later I discovered that I was allergic to Neomycin after suffering the classic signs of a traveling rash that itched like crazy and then produced a case of monster hives on my chest.
Forward a little bit after that and I was visiting doctors to deal with prickly heat rashes that perfectly matched the outline of my underwear . . . later to learn that I was now somewhat sensitive to good-ole friendly laundry bleach . . . a product that has been banned from my washing machine ever since.
Soooooo . . . what has this got to do with nudism and naturism? Glad you asked.
A couple of days ago I got home from work and stripped as soon as I was in the door (first item to come off, the watch . . . I never feel nude if I'm still wearing a watch) . . . heading for some sun in the backyard. While sitting there soaking in the rays I contemplated my feet . . . very often not free when I hike nude because of the necessity to be prudent and protect the feet tasked with getting me safely home. A picture should do to illustrate:
|After day of having to wear shoes|
How pitiful they looked! Red, sore, hot . . . the weave of socks deeply imprinted within the skin for hours to come. Contrast that with the healthier skin of an upper thigh that sees a lot of sunlight and fresh air:
|The skin of my upper thigh is vibrant and responsive . . . it feels alive!|
Days later I got to thinking about aspects of driving nude and just why I do it. There is one part of my body that is extremely sensitive to the 'kiss' of sunlight and breeze upon it (no, it's not that) and that is a band of skin roughly analogous to the lower waistline . . . specifically a band a couple of inches wide running from the protuberance of hip bone to hip bone. Doesn't matter that everything else could be covered by a teeshirt or a towel across the lap . . . this band of skin responds sensuously to any light breezes or the warming rays of sunlight upon it. It is also unfortunate that the seat belt also runs across this area and I have a habit of adjusting the belt higher just to keep the skin underneath exposed and free.
It would be my educated guess that, like my poor feet and the shoes we must wear, this area suffers from the predilection in our society towards skin-squashing elastic briefs and trousers and belts that do a major disservice to the aliveness of the skin beneath. We do not allow it to breath, we trap the sweat up against it for long hours at a time . . . we slowly poison our own skin.
I tan reasonably easy . . . not a deep tan, just a good coloration reflecting my Mediterranean heritage. However there is one part of my body that never seems to take on a tan very easily and . . . you guessed it . . . it is that one band of skin running from hip to hip. I have to wonder if all those years of tight jeans have actually crippled the ability of that skin beneath to respond as it was designed to do so.
Skin rashes are what got me into nudism in the first place . . . under orders from a wise old Dr. Marcus, MD-style practitioner who suggested I find a quiet, secluded spot in my backyard and catch some rays on my skin to help clear up my 'pelvic' rashes . . . which meant nude, of course. And that therapy worked marvelously . . . better than any stinky cream or ointment available at exorbitant prices at the pharmacy. On top of that very painless medical therapy it is also very pleasant and calming. If only all medical procedures were this enjoyable! Now I free the largest sensory organ of my body every chance I can get to give it a dose of fresh air and natural sunlight as possible.
If there was ever an argument for NOT wearing clothes, the health of the skin is got to be near the top of the list.
Interesting read on Clothing Dermatitis and Clothing-Related Skin Conditions