2nd July 2015 | Author:
How Well Do You Know Your Skin?
Most of our organs are highly protected and shielded inside of our bodies, however there is one that we wear on the outside of our body, skin. Skin is our largest organ; it can span over 2 square meters and accounts for around 16 percent of your total body weight.
What Does Skin Do?
The basic function of our skin is to protect our body from damage, infection and drying out. Without skin we would evaporate! It acts as a shield against high and low temperatures, chemicals, and even harmful sun rays. Unfortunately, we do not do as much as we could to protect our skin. We’re going to tell you how.
How Does Skin Work?
The skin is made up of three layers:
- The epidermis – the outermost layer of skin where skin is replaced continuously
- The dermis – where hair follicles and glands with sweat ducts are
- The subcutis – the base layer which includes a seam of fat which acts as a fuel reserve
Each layer serves a very important purpose, they each help to provide us with protection and comfort. Therefore it is vital that we keep our skin healthy! Skin is also a passageway to remove toxins and chemical waste from our bodies, the pores in our skin expel waste and other pollutants in our body. The skin which is shed from the epidermal layer helps to remove pathogens which may colonise in the skin; skin has to be kept in excellent condition for it to be able to function properly. The skin also helps to regulate the body’s temperature, this can help us to avoid over heating or freezing by maintaining a consistent internal temperature regardless of the temperature outside.
Skin ailments are becoming more common, here are a few skin conditions you may come across:
Acne is one of the most common skin conditions, it causes spots to develop on your skin when the hair follicles in your become blocked. These become plugged when excess sebum (the oily substance which coats hair) mixes with dead skin cells. A whitehead is created when the plugged follicles is close to the surface of the skin, a blackhead is formed when the plugged follicle is open to the skin. If your acne is not severe, you can treat it using over-the-counter gels and creams which contain benzoyl peroxide like Panoxyl Aquagel.
One in five children and one in twelve adults in the UK have eczema, it is when areas of your skin become inflamed, itchy or incredibly dry. Eczema has many different forms which all vary from person to person and react differently depending on the skin type. Healthy skin produces natural oils and fats which create a barrier for the skin, these oils help to retain moisture and help prevent bacteria and infections from entering the body. Eczema affects bodies which may not produce as much of these natural oils and fats, leaving them with gaps on their skin, where they are not protected. While there is no cure for eczema, treatments like emollients and topical corticosteroids can help to ease the symptoms. Brands like Aveeno specialise in using active natural ingredients to treat skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, you can find their range of products here: Aveeno Products
MooGoo are another brand who have specially designed a product to cater for those who suffer from eczema, psoriasis, infant eczema, seborrheic dermatitis & fungal and yeast based skin conditions. Completely organic, MooGoo’s Irritable Skin Balm contains natural anti-inflammatory ingredients and soothing natural oils. This product has most recently gone viral on Facebook after customer, Aleesha posted about her experience using the balm! To read her review, follow this link.
Psoriasis is a skin condition which causes red, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales, these patches appear usually on elbows, knees, scalp or the lower back. The severity of psoriasis changes from person to person, this condition can develop at any age. Psoriasis occurs when your skin cells are replaced more frequently than usual; unfortunately, it has not yet been discovered as to why this happens. Normally, new skin cells are produced in the base skin layer, subcutis, and gradually move up to the top layer, this is where they flake off and die. This process usually takes three to four weeks. People who have psoriasis experience the same process, but it takes only three to seven days. This means that skin which is not fully mature is rapidly built on the top layer of skin, resulting in flaky, red patches.
Rosacea is a condition which is not commonly known, it is a skin condition which mostly affects the face. The symptoms start with flushing, where the skin turns red for short periods of time, this can develop to:
- Burning and stinging sensations
- Permanent redness
- Spots (papules and pustules)
- Small blood vessels in the skin becoming visible
Rosacea is another condition where the cause is unknown, unfortunately there is not enough evidence to verify the cause, you can find other factors which may cause Rosacea here. Treatments for Rosacea include the Dermalex Rosacea repair cream, which helps restore the skin barrier function.
After all that your skin does to protect you, how can you protect it? Follow these five easy steps!
Protect your skin from the sun. As you may be aware, sunlight includes UV (ultraviolet) rays which are the main cause of skin cancer and the aging of skin. Always use a sun cream, especially for babies, and ensure that any sun cream you use always has SPF 15 or over. Don’t forget that the sun helps your body to create vitamin D, so ensure you get enough sun (but stay protected!)
Smoking is thought to break down and reduce collagen production. Collagen is a fibrous protein which makes up a third (30%) of the protein in the body, it is most commonly found in skin, bones and tissue and provides support, strength and elasticity for the body. Collagen is used to replace and restore the dead skin cells that the epidermis layer sheds. As we get older, collagen naturally degrades, however if you are a smoker, you may find that the formation of wrinkles happens sooner. If you are looking to stop smoking for good, our Online Doctor provides a Stop Smoking service which can triple your chances of quitting smoking for good!
Alcohol naturally dehydrates your body, this can make your skin look old, tired and dull. When drinking alcohol, drink the recommended units allowed for your gender to avoid drying out your skin. It is important to drink 2 litres of water a day to rehydrate your body and skin!
Cleaning & Moisturising
Washing away the daily grime and sweat from your body is necessary, it helps to clear your skin and can help to avoid infections. When buying soaps for your body, make sure to buy mild soaps and oils as to not wash away the natural oils our skin develops to keep our skin healthy. If you wear makeup, always take it off before going to bed, and follow that up with cleaning and moisturising your skin. Moisturising your body and face can help prevent skin from drying. If you have dry skin, do not use alcohol based products as they can serve to dry your skin out further. Should you have oily skin, you should buy water based products instead of oil bases products.
Our final tip on keeping your skin healthy is to sleep! Sleep loss often leads to your skin looking sallow and lacklustre and leaving you with dark circles under your puffy eyes. This is because if you do not get enough sleep, the body releases a stress hormone which can lead to breaking down skin collagen. Time to get more zzz’s!