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Body and Self > Anatomy & Physiology > Our Skin

niceskinUnderstanding Your Skin

Healthy Skin requires a healthy body.

The skin is the largest organ of our bodies and makes up about sixteen per cent of a person's weight. It performs many vital roles working as both a barrier to infections and a regulating influence between the outside world and the controlled environment within our bodies.

Throughout our life, the skin keeps growing and dead cells fall away to be replaced by new ones. In old age skin growth slows and the skin may become thinner and a less effective protection.

The Skin Structure.

The Skin consists of three principal layers and each layer plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin:

  • The Hypodermis (also known as the Subcutis) is the bottom or deepest layer of the skin and is made up of fatty tissue that supports the two layers of skin above it and serves foremost as the energy reservoir of the skin; here nutrients are stored and it provides insulation and shock absorption.
  • The dermis is the middle layer where the blood capillaries, hair follicles, sweat and oil glands are found. As we age, oil glands become less active, causing skin to become drier and more prone to the formation of fine lines.
  • áThe Epidermis is the outer layer of skin that most of us are concerned with. It is divided into 5 layers containing:
    • at the base, the mother cells that ensure continual regeneration of the skin through cell division (proliferation). Above lie the cells of the prickle cell layer (stratum spinosum).
    • Next come the granular, clear and horny layers. The horny layer consists of 15 - 20 cell layers that, together with the epidermal lipids, form the impermeable barrier or collagen* which performs two important functions:
      • Acting as a barrier to hinder the invasion of certain substances such as microorganisms, chemical irritants and allergens.
      • It minimizes transepidermal water loss and so is of great importance to the body.
      • Apart from the physical barrier protection of the skin there are specialised immune system cells throughout the layers. Some of these cells detect invasion by foreign proteins such as bacteria or viruses and other cells have the function of destroying and removing such material.
    • The cells in younger skin are replaced about every 15 -30 days and as we age, this process takes longer.
Problems Which Affect Our Skin:
    • Exposure to the sun and pollution

      Sun exposure and pollution damage the moisture barrier which causes the skin to lose elasticity. As a result fine lines and wrinkles will form. In addition, sun exposure can cause the skin to produce melanin which initially gives us a tan, however excess melanin may lead to the formation of skin spots and cancers.
    • But our skin needs some sun which is essential to create vitamin D. Avoid te strong heat of day and get some sun in the morning before it gets hot.

Age and Degeneration

Over time the freshness of youth fades away to be replaced by a look of maturity and wisdom.. well perhaps we wish..It is so often overlooked that the health of our skin is dependant on the good health of the underlying tissues. This means that having good muscle tone so that our skin is actually a reflection of our state of health and if your muscles are weak and flabby, the only way to limit those facial wrinkles is to have surgeries which so often result in that slightly artificial look, or the smooth face with a lizard neck.

How to care for your skin.

  • Avoid over exposure to the sun - but a little sun is good as the skin absorbs vitamin D directly from the sun which is our main source of this vitamin.
  • Minimize chemical contact - many soaps and cleansers can actually damage your skin and we recommend washing with warm water followed with a cold rinse to tone the underlying muscles.(Its also very refreshing)
  • Eat well and exercise as an unhealthy body will result in unhealthy skin.
  • Relax and learn to cope with stress without getting distressed as stress causes premature ageing.

Other Tips

  • Dry brush you entire body on waking to remove dead skin cells
  • Sweat; yes sweating washes out your pores and helps keep your skin healthy
  • Have regular massages and massage your own face gently but firmly every day.
  • Fresh leafy green salads provide essential oils and nutrients to keep your skin healthy.
  • Natural vegetable oils as used in massage that are rich in vitamin E & C are generally good as temporary skin softeners and conditioners.
  • Don't worry about a little dirt - it washes off.

Video - Skin Care Tips : Home Remedy for Skin Lightening

Fat distribution in men and women

The fat content of the subcutis is not the same in all body regions. Also men and women differ in the distribution of subcutaneous fat. An example is cellulite - it is characterized by a special arrangement of the subcutaneous fat tissue septa and predisposes to fat deposition on the hips, thighs and buttocks - which occurs mostly in women. Men on the other hand tend to store fat on the torso.


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All Information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended
to be used for any therapeutic purpose, neither is it intended to diagnose,
prevent, treat or cure any disease. Please consult a health care
professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions.
While attempts have been made to ensure the accuracy of this information,
The Health Information Network does not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions.

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