Skin Explained

Skin Explained
KNOW YOUR SKIN

Body organs are not all internal. There is one which we wear on the outside the skin. This fleshy covering does a lot more than make us look presentable. Your skin acts as an indicator for how your body is doing. Your skin appearance reveals how you feel and if you are taking care of yourself. Radiant, glowing skin makes us feel confident and beautiful. This organ deserves special attention. It is important to take care of it and to protect the skin during different stages of our lives. Good skin is a reflection of inner health. The secret is to understand how your skin functions, and to take care of it properly.

STRUCTURE

Skin is made up of three layers.  The outermost is the epidermis. This consists mainly of cells called keratinocytes, made from the tough protein keratin (also the material in hair and nails). This layer harbors the defensive Langerhans cells. In skin infections, the local Langerhans cells take up and process microbial antigens to become fully functional antigen-presenting cells.

The epidermis is bonded to a deeper skin layer below known as the dermis, which gives the organ its strength and elasticity with the help of the collagen and elastin fibres.

The skin’s base layer is the subcutis, which includes a seam of fat laid down as a fuel reserve in case of food shortage. It also works as insulation and cushions us from knocks and falls.

SKIN TYPES

There are five common skin types: normal, oily, dry, combination and sensitive. Blotting a clean tissue on your face in the morning is an easy way to find out your skin type.

Normal skin – Normal skin is neither too dry nor too oily. This type of skin has good combination and there will not be any trace of sebum or oil on the tissue. Normal skin is soft with a smooth and even skin tone.

Oily skin – An oily skin type will leave blots of facial oil on the tissue, particularly from the cheeks, nose and forehead. This type of skin has overactive sebaceous glands, producing more oil than necessary. Oily skin can be caused by hereditary factors, diet, hormone levels, pregnancy, unsuitable cosmetics and stress, leading to acne flare ups and enlarged pores. It is vital to thoroughly clean the skin regularly with gentle, soap-free cleansers.

Dry skin – A dry skin type has a low level of sebum and does not maintain oil easily. Dry skin is often flaky and feels tight after being wiped. Gentle cleansing and a rich protective moisturizer for dry skin is essential to control that tight, uncomfortable feeling. It may be necessary to adjust your dry skin moisturizer for the changing seasons.

Combination skin – With a combination skin type oil is produced around the ‘T-zone’ of the nose and forehead but not on the cheeks, mouth and eye areas. The best skin care for combination skin will involve treating each region differently.

Sensitive skin – Having a sensitive skin type can mean different things to different people. It can be caused by skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema or allergies. Sensitive skin can become inflamed and irritated easily. It is important to choose the right skin care for sensitive skin because many cleansers and moisturizers contain ingredients that can cause an adverse reaction.

COMMON CONCERNS

Good skin care practices can help to maintain firm, smooth, and healthy skin. Eventually, though, time and sun exposure take a toll on the skin’s appearance. Some of the common skin concerns are:

ACNE

Acne is a skin disorder that causes pimples when the passageway that connects the skin’s pores to the oil glands becomes clogged. Acne, which appears most often on the face, neck, shoulders, chest and back, can come in many forms. Whiteheads and blackheads are the most commonly known; nodular and cystic acne are more severe because they form deep in the skin and can cause scars.

AGING

Your skin changes as you age. You might notice wrinkles, age spots and dryness. Your skin also becomes thinner and loses fat, making it less plump and smooth. It might take longer to heal, too. Evidence of increasing age includes wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin.

DEHYDRATED SKIN

Dehydrated skin is a skin condition, meaning it is temporary and more easily treatable than dry skin. Often caused by external elements, such as weather or harsh soaps, dehydrated skin is simply moisture-deficient skin with low, depleted water content. Dehydrated skin commonly feels flaky, less supple, taught and itchy and can be caused by over exfoliating, poor diet, stripping cleansers and also sun exposure.

HYPERPIGMENTATION

Hyperpigmentation is characterized by a darkening of an area of skin caused by the overproduction of a pigment in the skin known as melanin. It is relatively common and usually harmless, but for cosmetic reasons, it is a nuisance to those who have it.

FACTORS AFFECTING SKIN

Maintaining the beauty and youthfulness of our face tends to be a daily preoccupation for many women and men. Skin, particularly your face is in constant contact with the external environment and is also significantly affected by internal factors like your health and lifestyle.

SUNRAYS : Through UV exposure DNA in the cells of our skin is damaged. UV is the major cause of pigmentation. The most noticeable sun-induced pigment change is a freckle or solar lentigo(small brownish spots on the skin). Moreover for the Indian skin type, another major problem is uneven skin tone and tanning(which is often a result of exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun).

AGE : Our age is something that we cannot change. Therefore in order to care for your skin, you need to be aware of the inevitable changes that will occur to it over time.

STRESS : Adrenal gland secretes hormones which stimulates increased oil production from the sebaceous glands.

DIET : Diets poor in nutrients results in dehydration, malnutrition, skin, hair and nail loss and increased susceptibility to infections.

POLLUTION : Pollution is problematic for your skin for several reasons. Dust can clog pores and increase bacteria on the face, both of which lead to acne or spots. Invisible chemical pollutants in the air can interfere with your skin’s natural protection system, breaking down the natural skin’s oils that normally trap moisture in your skin and keep it supple.

IMPORTANCE OF REGULAR SKIN CARE

Beauty and skin care go hand in hand, especially for those who want to show off their best with confidence. Starting good skin habits at a young age will contribute to younger looking skin in our not so young years later on.

Good eating habits of healthy organic foods too contribute to more beautiful younger looking skin.

Formulate your individual skin care routine by identifying what kind of skin you have. Is it dry or oily, light or dark, wrinkled or smooth, or somewhere in between? Ingredients in each skin care product should be tailored to meet the needs of your particular skin type.

A good skin care routine isn’t just about looking good for the day. Its also about setting yourself up for beautiful and healthy skin for life. Taking the proper steps to promote both short- and long-term skin health is just as important as washing your face.

Cleansing: No matter what your skin type, you will most likely only need to wash your face in the morning and before bed. Since the skin loses its natural lubrication when it is over-washed, its best to keep extra washing to a minimum. Bar soap can be harsh and drying to the skin, so use a cleanser specifically formulated for the face.

Toning: Toning the skin helps remove any residual cleanser or make-up that may have been left behind. A toner also helps restore the natural pH level of the skin, leaves your skin clean, clear and ready to be hydrated.

Moisturizing: Moisturizer is a must for dry skin. The drier the skin, the more moisturizing ingredients your moisturizer should contain. Some ingredients to look for are: Glycerin, Hyaluronic acid, Dimethicone. Another ingredient to try is olive oil. It is a natural moisturizer because it contains oleic acid, a powerful emollient. If you don’t have acne, you can try applying olive oil to your face as an at-home moisturizer.

Protection: These five skin protection tips can keep your skin looking and feeling great, by guarding against a slew of skin woes.

  1. Limit sun exposure
  2. Stay hydrated
  3. Know your skin type
  4. Use gentle skincare
  5. Take health precautions against infections which may lead to skin infections

Beautiful skin does not take much to get back, but just a few good products and good habits of commitment. It does not take long to start treating your skin with kindness and in return, softness and beauty will be yours to show off. A little effort will go along ways and the glow will be there to show!