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Skin is the body’s largest organ and protects everything that makes you. It encompasses associated organs and by-products of skin, such as hair, nails, glands, and specialized nerve endings. Skin is something only thought of when there is a problem, but how often do you think of your skin? Its functioning? Its benefits and purpose? Its functions are protecting our body against trauma, regulating body temperature, maintaining water and electrolyte balance, sensing painful and pleasant stimuli, and participating in Vitamin D production.
Our skin has three layers, and all serve a purpose. The epidermis is the outer layer, creating skin tone and providing a waterproof barrier. The dermis is the middle layer, containing sweat glands, connective tissue, hair follicles, blood vessels and nerves. The hypodermis is the innermost and thickest layer, made mostly of fat.
Aside from holding everything in, skin plays a crucial role in providing an airtight, watertight and flexible barrier between the outside world and the highly regulated systems within the body. It Protects us from infection and many viruses and bacteria we are exposed to daily. The skin protects us from the rays of the sun, especially ultraviolet light, which can damage cells. However, healthy skin produces vitamin D when exposed to the sun, and vitamin D is essential for many body functions.
We can not live without our skin. Total loss of it is too much for the body to survive. After a few hours, the veins literally can’t keep up with the fluids and calories needed to keep a person alive. The skin dies and regenerates during a normal desquamation process. New skin cells are produced deep in the epidermis layer and travel up to the surface. On average, a skin cycle is five to six weeks. At the age of 19-21, the process can take 14-21 days compared to a middle-aged adult, where it is estimated to be 28 days. As we grow older, this cycle slows to about 45-60 days in our 40’s and 50’s.
So, we must take care of the skin we’re in.
To encourage healthy skin growth, eating foods rich in vitamin C and amino acids can increase hyaluronic acid levels and collagen; these are both important for your skin. Foods such as oranges, red peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and strawberries are all rich in vitamin C and help to develop healthy skin.
Some simple lifestyle changes like exercise and increased hydration can keep the process working correctly. Skin creams that include exfoliating ingredients can also help eliminate excess dead skin. Some procedures can also encourage faster growth of new skin cells to speed up the regeneration process.
It is important to know and understand your skin type. There are seven skin types. Skin can range from normal, oily, dry/dehydrated, combination, acne-prone, sensitive and mature.
The most common, however, is the normal type. Your skin type can change over time due to environmental factors, age, hormones and other health-related issues. Just as certain foods can enhance healthy skin, depending on your skin type, some can also cause skin problems, so it’s very important you know your type and foods you should avoid or eat more of. For example, you should drink coconut water if you have oily skin. Coconut water is loaded with minerals, and coconut oil keeps the skin clear and hydrates it, thus maintaining the oil-water balance. Coconut water assists oily skin with clarity and flexibility and prevents oily outbursts on the skin. Water is also essential to your skin’s healthy appearance. If you don’t drink enough water, your skin can appear dry. Conversely, because your skin is not getting enough hydration, it may start overproducing sebum and oil to compensate for the lack of moisture.
The best solution is to drink plenty of water every day. Once you have identified your type, here are some natural remedies to assist in developing healthy skin and skin cells.
We often hear about being comfortable in your skin, and we hope this article also makes your skin more comfortable.
Words by Kaba Abdul-Fattaah.