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Introducing Our New FAQ Section at Natural Beauty and Skincare
Many people are unaware of the fact that the skin is actually an organ – the largest organ in the body. As such, it is crucial to care for and protect the skin so that it continues to do all the important jobs that it does. Of course, the skin’s appearance is also a large part of how we look to the world so most of us do try to keep it looking good, too. In our ongoing FAQ series, we are going to tell you what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to maintaining youthful, healthy skin.
To begin our discussion, let’s talk about what skin really is and what the skin actually does for the body. The skin is made up of three distinct layers: epidermis, dermis and subcutis. The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin, thinner than a sheet of plastic wrap, but very tough. It is made of the same keratin protein that hair and nails are made from. The dermis is the next layer and it’s thicker than the epidermis. The dermis is where collagen and elastin fibers are and those fibers are what gives skin the elasticity and firmness that it has. Nerves, blood vessels, hair follicles and glands are all contained within the dermis. The innermost layer, the subcutis, is actually a layer of fat which kind of acts as a cushion, as well as insulation.
The skin, with all of the layers, serves many important functions for the body. It is a waterproof shield that also acts as insulation against temperature extremes, chemicals and dangerous UV rays. Not only does it keep a lot of bad stuff out, it also holds in the moisture that the body actually needs to survive. The epidermis is constantly creating new cells which work their way to the surface of the skin, die and eventually flake off. This outer layer of dead cells is thicker in some parts, such as on the bottom of the foot, than it is in other places, like the face. That adds more protection to the thicker areas.
While the skin is waterproof as to keeping us from actually acting like a sponge during a rainstorm, it does have pores and some permeability but the majority of skin care products that we put on the outside of our skin reach only as far as the dermis. Products must be specially made in order to absorb that deep because quite a few do not penetrate even through the epidermis. You will find that especially true with cheap moisturizers and lotions. If they were truly penetrating to the dermis, you would not have dry feeling skin a few hours after using it.
Not only is it vital to keep the skin in good condition in order to serve the body’s purpose, it is also very needful when one wants to maintain a more youthful appearance. As we age, the skin is often the first place we see any signs of aging. The skin begins to be less firm and fine lines or wrinkles begin to form. Often the skin will appear coarser and duller than it did in our youth. Luckily, science has come a long way in being able to counter the effects of aging and skincare today reflects these breakthroughs. When we care for ourselves properly, we truly can maintain younger, healthier looking skin far longer than people could in the past.