Posts Tagged ‘epidermis’

Solutions for Your Skin

November 13th, 2018

Your skin is the largest organ of your body. If you’re an average adult, you’ve got about eight pounds and 22 square feet of it. Skin is active, living tissue, and each of its three layers have jobs to do to protect the body and keep it healthy.

The outermost layer of the skin is the epidermis. It provides a waterproof barrier against germs, toxins and pollutants. This layer contains the cells that form the rough exterior surface of the skin that continuously sloughs off and regenerates. It also contains cells that alert your immune system to any infectious invaders.

Just below the epidermis is the dermis. This layer contains tough connective tissue, as well as hair follicles and sweat glands. It also contains collagen and elastin, the fibers that give skin its strength and elasticity. Blood vessels found here regulate body temperature, and nerves pick up sensations and relay the information to the brain.

The third layer is called the subcutis. It is made mostly of fat and connective tissue. The reserves of fat stored in this layer act a cushion to help protect your bones and muscles from bumps, bruises and falls.

Your skin gets its color from specialized cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes produce the pigment melanin. People who live in sunny climates have more melanin than people who live in climates with less sun exposures, so their skin is darker. Melanocytes reside in the epidermis.

People in all climates need to keep their skin vibrant and healthy so it can continue to perform its many jobs for the body. That means we have to take good care of our skin. Good skin care doesn’t have to be a complex process. It can be broken down to a few simple steps. Here are some tips you can follow:

Protect you skin from the sun. Too much sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems, and it increases your risk for skin cancer. To protect yourself, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 30. Avoid the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the sun’s ray are strongest. Wear protective clothing, such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and a wide-brimmed hat.


Eat a healthful diet. What you eat is as important as what you put on your skin. Your diet can improve your skin’s health from the inside out, so healthy skin begins with a healthful diet. Foods that have been found through research to be skin-healthy include mangoes, tomatoes, kale and soy. Also, cutting your alcohol consumption could lower your risk of developing non-melanoma skin cancer. Quitting smoking helps keep your skin healthy as well.


Keep your stress to a minimum. Scientists have identified some links between stress and some skin problems including itchy skin, scaly skin, hand rashes and flaky, oily or waxy patches on the scalp. If you’re struggling with stress and it’s affecting your skin, try stress reduction techniques such as tai chi, yoga or meditation.



Build a daily skin care routine. A daily routine can help you maintain overall skin health and improve specific concerns you may have, such as acne, scarring or dark spots. Start simply with a cleanser, serum, moisturizer and sunscreen. As you see how your skin reacts, you can add other products, such as an exfoliant, mask or spot treatment.



Keep your skin hydrated. Moisturizers revive the skin’s ability to repair and renew naturally. A good moisturizer will seal in moisture and keep the top layer of your skin hydrated. Choose one that has a humectant, which will attract moisture, an occlusive agent, which will retain moisture in the skin and an emollient, which will smooth out the spaces between the skin cells.

Take care of your skin so it can take care of you.

Skin Deep and Beyond

November 13th, 2017

Let me ask you this: How often do you think about the health of your skin? When you do, how often do you consider the skin that’s NOT on your face? After all, the skin is the largest organ in the human body, safeguarding everything underneath. Want to learn a little more about this protective organ and how to take better care of it? Read on.

Skin has many functions, including shielding our bodies from germs and the harsh elements outside. It also helps control the temperature inside the body and enables us to feel touch. It is composed of three main layers, the epidermis, or outermost layer; the dermis, the middle layer; and the hypodermis, the deeper tissues.

Because it is exposed, skin is susceptible to a variety of health problems, including the serious and potentially fatal cancer, melanoma. There are also a number of other disorders of the skin that are less serious (although often annoying and unsightly) such as acne. This scourge not only affects the face, but also the neck, back, shoulders and chest.

Eczema, which causes itchy, dry and red skin due to inflammation; seborrheic dermatitis, which leads to oily, waxy patches on the scalp (as well as other forms of dermatitis); and non-lethal types of cancer are other common skin disorders. There’s also psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that can cause rashes. In many cases, these rashes turn into thick, scaly plaques on the surface of the skin.

Some of these disorders, like many skin cancers, can be avoided by taking the appropriate preventive steps. Others, like acne and eczema, you can’t escape but you can control with the right skin care products and proper skin care routines. That leads us into the second half of our story: caring for your skin.

Keeping your skin hale and hearty is the focus of Healthy Skin Month, which is celebrated in November. Just look on the Internet and you’ll find numerous articles with tips on being good to your skin. There are a few suggestions many have in common, like “drink plenty of water” and “avoid taking hot, hot showers and baths.”

To make for a quicker read, I’ve put together a list of common tips for maintaining healthy skin, including some tips for winter skin care. More tips can be found in these articles. But to sum them up, here are a few highlights:

  • Don’t skimp on sleep. The cells of your skin use the nighttime hours to refresh and repair themselves. If you don’t sleep, your cells don’t get a chance to do their thing. Then your skin starts to show the wear-and-tear of constant exposure to the elements such as the sun and air pollution.
  • Get sweaty. Doing some form of aerobic exercise in the morning increases blood flow to your skin, which keeps it supplied with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to stay healthy and glowing.
  • Resist over-exfoliating. Exfoliating too often can lead to microscopic tears in the skin that can result in inflammation, redness, dryness and peeling. Many common exfoliating scrubs recommend you use them no more than twice a week.
  • Use softer soaps. Harsh bath soaps and laundry detergents can irritate the skin. Try softer soaps like fragrance-free or sensitive skin brands. The same holds true for deodorants. Try a sensitive skin or natural deodorant instead of scented versions.
  • Remember to humidify. Use a humidifier, especially in the winter months, to keep moisture in the air, which moisturizes the skin as well.
  • Avoid wet gloves and socks. If your gloves and socks get wet due to rain or snow, get them off. If you linger in these wet clothes, it can lead to itching, cracking and sores on the skin, even flare-ups of eczema.
  • Support your immune system. The typical winter ailments, colds and flu, can stress your skin to the max. Try to avoid these illnesses by taking preventive measures, such as consuming Vitamin C and getting your flu shot. Practice general good hygiene to avoid picking up or spreading cold and flu germs.

There are many more healthy skin tips out there, so don’t stop here. During National Healthy Skin Month, take some time and investigate more ways to keep your skin looking and feeling its best!

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