Understanding Your Skin
What Is Skin and How Does it Work?
Believe it or not our skin is our body’s largest organ which covers every single surface of the body. It is possible for every woman to have perfect skin regardless of age, race or colouring, as long as she knows how it functions and how to look after it.
The skin is made up of two main layers; these are called the epidermis and the dermis…
This is the top layer of skin which you can see. Its’ function is to protect the body from infection and seal in moisture. It is built up of several layers of living cells which are then topped up by sheets of dead cells. The skin is constantly growing and producing new cells at the base. The dead cells eventually flake away, thus meaning that every time a new layer of skin forms, this is the chance to have a soft, glowing complexion.
The lower levels of skin cells are fed by the blood supply from underneath, whereas the upper dead cells require only water to ensure they are kept plump and smooth. The epidermis is responsible for your colouring as it holds the skins’ pigment. The thickness of your skin varies, and is much thinner around the eye area.
The dermis is the layer which lies underneath the epidermis, and is composed of living cells only. It consists of bundles of tough fibres which give elasticity, firmness and strength. There are also blood vessels which feed vital nutrients to these areas.
Unlike the epidermis which can repair itself, the dermis, if injured will be permanently damaged.
The dermis contains two specialised organs, firstly…
Sebaceous Glands which are tiny organs that opens into hair follicles on the surface of your skin. They produce your skins natural lubricant, an oily secretion called sebum. These glands are mostly concentrated on your scalp and face, particularly around the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. This explains why these areas are oilier than others.
Sweat Glands are found all over your body and they help to regulate your body’s temperature The temperature of your skin drops as the sweat evaporates on the skins’ surface. .
So what are the main functions of your skin?
1) It acts as a thermostat, retaining heat or cooling you down with sweat.
2) It acts as a waste disposal. Certain waste is expelled from your body during the day through your skin.
3) It provides you with a sense of touch which in turn helps you communicate with the outside world.
4) It offers protection from potentially harmful things.
1) Your skin can cleanse, heal and renew itself. The effectiveness of this depends on how well you look after your skin.
2) Skin is a barometer of your emotions. When you are embarrassed it becomes red (blushing) and equally shows signs of stress.
3) The condition of your skin is an overall sign of your health. The skin shows signs of poor diet, lack of sleep and stress.
4) Smoking and alcohol consumption cause premature ageing of the skin (wrinkles).
Author Heidi McGowan