Epidermal Suffocation

A lot of people seem to be looking up information on this idea. I’m seeing it pop up repeatedly on my search terms because I wrote a paragraph or two about James Bond and Bond movies. Most people know about this concept from the Bond movie, “Goldfinger”.

It is something the Medical World believed was possible at the time the movie was filmed. They thought that it was possible to suffocate if your skin was entirely covered with a substance air could not permeate.

The actress was wearing a small amount of clothing and the gold was put over that rather than the skin.  They also left a 6 inch patch of open skin on her belly.

The truth is that as long as you can breathe through your mouth and/or nose, using your lungs, you will not suffocate if your entire body is painted gold or covered in liquid latex. So long as nasal passages and mouth is left clear. If you block those, it doesn’t matter the condition of the skin, a person will suffocate.

The skin IS an organ. But it is not a third lung. It is a sensory organ, more like the eyes and nose and tongue and ears. There are some Eastern practices and holistic practices that do treat the skin like a third lung and it does ‘breathe’ to a limited extent, but is not the type of breathing that the actual lungs perform.

Constant covering of the skin in substances will block pores. The constant cleaning will be drying for the skin. For good skin health, doing this all the time might not be a good idea. But it won’t kill you.

The funny thing is that there is a beauty aide site out there that says using multiple products at the same time puts you at risk of epidermal suffocation. The site says this is because your body can’t absorb that many things at one time.

This is blatantly untrue. What will happen is that you may trigger a bad case of dermatitis. This is a red, bumpy rash that itches like crazy. It is an inflammation of the skin.

I triggered this one winter when I put all my lotions and oils out on a small table next to my tub/shower unit. I have terrible dry skin in the winter. It doesn’t matter how much water I drink. (Drinking lots of water is one of the best things you can do for your skin.) So I thought I would use these every time I showered. And I would randomly grab one or another when I started to get dry patches. The result was various products have reactions together that irritated my skin.

Since then, I can use any lotion during the summer months, but when the cold winter air hits, anything bothers my skin. The only thing that works is a bit of olive oil or baby oil in the bath when I take one and petroleum jelly on dry patches when I go to bed at night. The doctor told me the number one product for the skin is petroleum jelly.

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2 Responses to “Epidermal Suffocation”

  1. Yeah, I’d say the real danger is in overheating. Can’t stand the idea of being completely covered by a layer of polymer-based anything! Yick!

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