Maintaining healthy skin

It may sound strange, but your skin is actually the largest organ you possess.

Skin does not remain consistent across your body; it is dynamic and different areas have different levels of toughness, elasticity, thickness and texture depending on its function.

Why do our bodies need skin?

Skin serves a number of different functions.

Firstly, it is a waterproof wrapping that covers all our important internal components.

Secondly, it is a cooling system. When we sweat through our skin, that is actually the process of our bodies discarding excess heat.

Thirdly, skin is an important mechanism in defending against bacteria and other harmful organisms.

Finally, skin serves as a sensory organ that gives us information about pleasure, pain, pressure and temperature.

So as you can see, the skin is an incredibly versatile and integral part of our bodies.

How is skin made up?

The skin you can see is known as the epidermis. This is tougher skin that is used to contact, sunlight, temperature changes and the elements. It is made up of a number of sheets of skin cells, and the bottom sheet is where new epidermal cells are produced.

Over time the outermost skin cells die, and newer cells replace them from beneath.

Beneath the epidermis is the dermis, which is comprised of elastic fibres (known as elastin) and protein fibres (collagen). These fibres offer suppleness and strength. The dermis is actually where glands (including sweat glands), blood vessels, hair follicles and nerves are located.

How do I protect my skin?

You can create vibrant, healthy skin by controlling your diet and other environmental factors.

Avoid smoking. Nicotine in cigarettes cause skin discolouration and can sometimes also lead to acne.

Keep stress free. When we stress we release toxins through our skin and these can make the skin oily, dry or otherwise unpleasant.

Keep oily products off your skin. Oil will clog your skin pores and can cause acne. If you need to use moisturiser or other beauty products, try to find water-based equivalents.

Make sure your diet is rich in vitamins A and E. Your skin will naturally lose its firmness as you age, but these vitamins can help ward off this deterioration.

Eat a balanced diet that is full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Cut out fatty and oily foods.

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