Beauty is skin deep.

Beauty is skin deep. Oh, really?

While this statement is subjectively true, our anatomy does have it, that the skin consists of two key layers – the epidermis and the dermis.

The epidermis forms the top layer. With a mere 1 millimeter thickness, it consists of sublayers whereby new skins cells from the base move upwards and gradually reach the top layer. This takes place over a perpetual cycle of 4 to 6 weeks.

So, technically speaking, the surface cells on our skin are at least 4 weeks old. The epidermis also holds melanin, a hormone that protects the body from the sun’s harsh rays, as well as immunity cells that form the first line of defence against external attack and damage.

The epidermis sits on the dermis, a network of connective tissues, sweat glands, nerve endings, hair follicles, sebaceous glands and blood vessels. It takes just one millimeter of poke, scrap, blade, to break into our skin and draw blood.

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I now risk running under your skin (pun intended). Why is the point of knowing these?

Our skin is the biggest organ of our body. With thicknesses ranging from 0.5mm (eyelids) to 4mm (soles and palms), it shoulders the heavy responsibility of protecting the body from harmful microorganism intrusion and excessive outflow of vital body fluids. The nerve endings allow us to feel and respond to pain, extreme heat or cold, pressure. The blood vessels dilate and constrict accordingly to help keep us warm or cool us down in extreme temperatures. The sweat glands produce perspiration which helps to flush out toxins. From the sun, our skin absorbs vitamin D which works with our internal calcium and phosphate for healthy bones.

Having healthy skin contributes to our overall health. Vice versa, how we eat and rest, and what we do to our body, have a great impact on our skin health. Hence, an all-rounded approach prevails in treating our skin well.

We already know that our skin is in a constant state of cell renewal. Good circulation supports that. Water, nutrition, rest make up the equation.

For a start, we can remind ourselves to stay hydrated. Our body needs water to absorb food nutrients, build new cells, and drain out toxins.

Wherever possible, we should take food as fresh as it is. This is a huge challenge given the fact that, processed and refined foods, sugar and excessive fats are everywhere to overload our systems. My workaround is a cheat day while being good on most days. So far, it has been serving me well.

Proper rest and healthy sleep habits already should be a part of us. Without them, our body cannot recharge and our skin suffers.

There is no doubt that our inner health exerts influences on our physical outlook. While we are still opinionated over the skin-deep statement, it is definitely no joke to say that upkeeping our skin health is no skin off our nose.

Sources

  • Hess, Cathay Thomas. Clinical guide to skin and wound care. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 2013
  • Bergamotto, Lori. Skin: The bare facts. Zest Books.2009
  • Japonski, Nina G. Skin: A natural history. University of California Press. 2006
  • Caster, Shannon. Skin. The Rosen Publishing Group. 2010

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