Skin Deep: Understanding Your Skin
One should really have a healthy respect for their skin. The truth is, your skin does far more than serve as a fancy covering to make you look good. In fact, the list of job responsibilities it handles is actually quite impressive.
The Master Multi-Tasker: The way our skin looks is a direct reflection of what is happening externally and internally. It would be nice if we lived in a stress-free world, eating only pure, organic foods―but come on, life is hectic! The old adage, “we are what we eat” is more true today than ever. It’s a fact: what we eat and how we feel show up on our skin as it’s a complete reflection of what’s happening internally.
The skin is the body’s largest organ and research proves it capable of absorbing up to 60% of the ingredients in the products we apply.
Your skin is an organ of elimination, just like your kidneys, liver, and colon: Just as FYI….The lymphatic system is the part of your circulatory system that rids your body of toxins and waste. If your system becomes overloaded and polluted with toxins, your body can’t efficiently filter impurities, and skin rebels in the form of a dull, sallow, tired-looking complexion―often accompanied by fine lines, wrinkles, acne, blackheads, enlarged pores and/or the dreaded oil slick. When lymphatic circulation slows down, so does cellular turnover, which accelerates aging!
Discover the crucial roles that our skin plays:
As a water conservationist:
On average, about 55% of a woman’s total body weight is water. This means that a 130 pound woman is made up of almost 36 quarts of water. What keeps all this moisture from evaporating and escaping into the air around you is your skin. The outer layer of your skin, although it’s thinner than a single coat of paint, is as water-tight as a plastic sheet of equal thickness. In fact, your skin is 1000 times more impermeable than the membrane of any other living organism.
As a bodyguard:
Not only does your skin shield your insides from ultraviolet radiation and other forms of physical damage, it also carries a powerful defense system that seeks out and destroys any foreign invaders that manage to get through. When you consider that every square inch of your skin can be covered with millions of micro-organisms, you can understand how vital this is.
As a communicator:
Your skin is constantly sending you the latest news from the outside world. About 45 miles of nerves connected to heat and touch sensors located in your skin are always busy relaying vital information about your physical environment.
As a maintenance worker:
When the outside temperature gets too hot, your skin is in charge of regulating your interior thermostat. It automatically turns on the sprinkler system by activating close to 200 sweat glands per square inch. This helps cools you down because the perspiration evaporating on the skin surface lowers your body temperature. When the mercury dips too low, a tiny muscle at the base of every hair on your skin contracts and makes the hair stand up. This helps trap a layer of air on the surface that insulates you from the cold.
As a waste management specialist:
Sweating does more than help regulate your body temperature. It actually takes out your garbage as well. Every day your body loses about two and a half quarts of water. A lot of this comes from your sweat glands that work overtime to rid your body of unwanted byproducts like urea and ammonia that are dissolved in your perspiration.
As a vitamin manufacturer:
Your skin houses all the necessary equipment to produce vitamin D from sunlight. Just 20-30 minutes of summer sun can help generate 10,000 IU of vitamin D that your body needs to activate over 2000 genes responsible for controlling everything from bone growth to immune function.
But there are other qualities besides versatility that make your skin truly unique. For instance, it’s sheer size alone sets it apart. Your skin generally weighs about 12% to 15% of your total body weight. That means a 150 lb. person is wrapped in roughly 20 pounds of skin. Speaking in terms of area, the average person’s skin covers approximately 18 square feet. By comparison, the second largest organ is their liver, weighing in at a little over 3 pounds.
In addition, your skin is also a dynamic organ. By dynamic I mean that it’s constantly changing. It’s always renewing itself from the bottom up. Your skin sheds somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000 cells every minute and replaces them with other cells that rise to the surface.
The overall structure of your stratum corneum is often compared to a wall made of bricks and mortar. In this analogy, your corneocytes are the bricks. Generally speaking, you’ll find anywhere from 12 to 16 layers of these dead skin cells stacked one on top of the other just like bricks in a wall.
Undoubtedly, the main purpose of your stratum corneum is to restrict the movement of water in and out of your body. However, the amazingly tough, multi-layer construction of your skin’s outer layer is also pretty effective at preventing harmful chemicals and other caustic solutions from penetrating your skin. Unfortunately, this protective barrier also inhibits the passage of natural therapeutic ingredients and other healing agents that can help nourish and restore your skin. This problem can be resolved by stripping away the tired, old skin cells of your outer layer in a process called exfoliation.
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