Do you lavish care and attention on your skin? Do you feed and nourish it? There are so many people who take their skin for granted and give it only the minimal amount of care. to keep your skin in tip top shape means that not only do you have to keep it clean and nourished on the outside, but you also have to feed it from the inside by proper diet and exercise.
To a large extent the quality of a person’s skin reflects the amount of care and attention that they have lavished on it over the years. Of course there are many lifestyle factors which can affect your skin. Among these are smoking, alcohol and environmental pollution, and of course the sun.
Did you know that the thinnest layer of skin is in your eyelids and the thickest on your heels? It is actually comprised of two main parts, the epidermis which is the visible layer and the dermis which is underneath. the dermis is much thicker than the epidermis. Underneath the dermis is a layer of fat called the subcutaneous layer.
Strictly speaking this is not part of the skin. It contains the blood vessels that serve the skin and is a storage facility for excess fat.
if we take a look at the epidermis we can see that there are four main types of cell. each of these play a crucial role in keeping your skin healthy.
These make up nearly 90% of the epidermal cells. They produce a protein called keratin, this toughens your skin and protects it from damage and foreign invaders. at the same time keratinocytes produce a special waterproof sealant for your skin.
These produce the pigment melanin which is responsible for giving your skin its color. In addition to this it also provides protection from the UV rays of the sun. Your inherited genes determine the quantity and distribution of the melanocytes.
Have you ever wondered why some people have freckles? An uneven distribution of melanocytes will result in freckles. On the other hand if you have a high number of melanocytes this produces dark skin which is very easily tanned.
These provide defence against any foreign invaders that enter your skin. they also provide help to the other cells of your immune system to recognise a threat, this allows your immune system to be ready to counteract any potential threats.
These are to be found in the lowest layer of the epidermis where they are attatched to sensory nerve endings giving you the sensation of touch.
How it works
Depending on the thickness of your skin the epidermis is made up of a number of layers. The very bottom layer has stem cells whose job it is to produce new keratinocytes, these are gradually pushed up towards the surface of your skin. During this process they accumalate so much keratin that they are unable to function properly and begin to die. Therefore in a normal healthy person the top layer of the epidermis consists of dead skin cells which are constantly being replaced.
Directly beneath the epidermis lies the dermis. This is an extremely tough flexible layer of tissue. It is home to a large number of blood vessels,, fibres, nerve endings, hair folicles, glands and many specialised cells.
The dermis main components are interlaced fibres of collagen and elastin. The collagen helps to give your skin strength and the elastin returns your skin to its proper shape when it is stretched.
In addition your dermis has a large network of capillaries. These perform two major functions, to supply nutrients and to remove the waste. Every cell is surrounded by a special fluid called tissue fluid which is produced by the glucose and oxygen in your blood as it moves through the blood vessels. The cells absorb the nutrients from the tissue fluid and then dump their waste into the fluid where it is returned to the bloodstream.
This system works extremely well in the dermis, however what happens in the epidermis where there aren't any blood vessels? The epidermal cells rely entirely on the tissue fluid for their nourishment and the removal of waste material.
Managing the health of your skin
The condition of your skin plays an extremely important part in your self-image. This is why every year billions of dollars are spent on creams, lotions and other topical products in an effort to restore our youthful appearance.
While these products do have an important role to play you should not forget that your body needs to be provided with the proper nutrients. The mistake many people make is to ignore the nutritonal requirements of their skin. This means that any product they apply to their skin becomes a waste of money. The secret is to use proper nutrition combined with appropriate skin care this will give you complete skin health.