The liver, lungs, kidneys, heart, bladder, and stomach are the organs that people think of in regards to bodily organs. These organs are integral components to your overall health, but so is the body’s largest and most visible organ: the skin. Aside from looking great, the skin plays a crucial role in protecting the body from harmful organisms. The skin helps to regulate body temperature, provide immunity, synthesize vitamin D, and more, which is why this article aims to teach people how to care for it.
What Does The Skin Do?
The skin is the body’s largest organ, accounting for about 15% of your body weight. The skin and its derivatives (hair, nails, sweat, and oil glands) comprises the integumentary system. One of the skin’s primary functions is protecting the body from external factors, including chemicals, bacteria, and temperature. In fact, the skin contains secretions that can kill bacteria and the melanin in skin helps defend against ultraviolet light, which can damage skin cells.
Skin Releases Sweat
Sweat doesn’t just indicate that you had a hard workout; rather, it works to cook the skin and prevent the body from overheating. The body sweats through two types of glands: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. The former glands cover most of the body and open onto the skin’s surface, while the latter glands open into the hair follicle and are found in the armpits, groin, and scalp. Sweat may also assist the body with the elimination of toxins, as experts believe that sweating reduces the presence of heavy metals in the body.
Skin Contains Melanin
The outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, contains melanin, which is a pigment that determines a person’s skin color. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin is, but it does a lot more than determine the color of your skin. Melanin also works to protect the skin against UV rays from the sun. These rays can cause premature aging, sunburn, reduced skin elasticity, reduced collagen production, and skin cancer.
Skin Synthesizes Vitamin D
Upon exposure to the sun, the skin produces vitamin D, which is a nutrient that plays many roles in the body. A 2015 review of studies found that vitamin D may help improve immune function, bone health, and increase protection against skin cancers.
Skin Protects You From Invaders
As we mentioned earlier in the articles, the epidermis is the front line defense against external bacteria, viruses, and pathogens. A 2020 review found that skin cells assemble and organize immune signals to help protect against pathogens that attack the body. When the skin barrier is healthy, it can prevent pathogens from penetrating deep into the skin and causing infection. A compromised skin barrier can increase your risk of developing skin conditions, or it may accelerate the signs of aging.
How To Care For Your Skin
There are many things you can do to protect your skin as you age. The first mistake is to think the only way to care for it is by lathering it with creams and “must-have” products. Skin care products are a dime a dozen, not to mention overwhelming. Health experts say that you also want to encourage healthier skin from the inside out.
Eating The Right Foods
This is the first step towards healthier skin because the statement, “You are what you eat,” holds true. Focus on foods that are rich in antioxidants, including various fruits and vegetables, especially berries and leafy greens like spinach and kale. Additionally, eat probiotic-rich foods because balancing your microbiome can help improve the skin barrier function. These foods include yogurt, kimchi, fermented vegetables, miso, and kefir. Finally, get your fill of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which come from chia seeds, salmon, walnuts, almonds, avocados, and more.
The Skin Needs The Right Routine
Once you settle on a few basic products, you can develop a simple yet effective skin care routine. Healthy skin doesn’t necessarily result from using five oils, three serums, two cleansers, and four moisturizers. Expert dermatologists say that all you really need is a good cleanser that suits your skin type, a moisturizer that suits your skin type, and a broad-spectrum sunscreen. The key is to find products that suit your skin type and needs!
Self-Care Activities Support The Skin
It may come as a surprise to you, but self-care plays a role in the health of your skin. And no, self-care is not simply a day at the spa receiving massages and facials. Self-care practices that benefit the skin include sleeping, going outside, and getting exercise. The skin regenerates during sleep, so make sure to get your seven to eight hours per night. Venturing outside can reduce stress and allow your skin to breathe. Additionally, indoor environments can compromise your skin, drying it out more often than not. Finally, exercise works to increase blood flow to all of your organs, including the skin. Delivering blood and oxygen to the skin can help revitalize it and make it appear more youthful.