There’s so much information about facial skin creams and the skin on our face that we often forget about our body. The skin on our body is just as important but it’s often ignored and overlooked.
It’s essential to know what the skin actually is, what it’s made up of and its functions. The skin is the body’s largest organ and covers an average of 20 square feet. Along with its role as a protective barrier, the skin helps us maintain the right internal temperature and allows us to sense the feeling through nerve endings. Skin is a complex organ – an average square inch of skin contains 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, and more than 1,000 nerve endings. Even though it’s only a few millimeters thick, skin is around one-seventh of our body weight. Despite being just a few millimeters thick, skin makes up around one-seventh of our body weight.
Skin is made up of three layers:
- The epidermis – this layer mainly makes new skin cells, gives skin its color and protects the body. It is the most outside layer that acts as a waterproof barrier. Dead cells are shed continuously from the epidermis as new ones take their place – over 500 million skin cells shed everyday. New cells are made in the lower layers of the epidermis. In around 4 weeks, they make their way to the surface, become hard, and replace the dead cells after they shed. The epidermis doesn’t contain any blood vessels. Melanin in the epidermis protects the skin from harmful UV rays.
The epidermis is subdivided into five layers:
- stratum corneum
- stratum lucidum
- stratum granulosum
- stratum spinosum
- stratum germinativum
- The dermis – it produces sweat and oil, provides sensations and blood to the skin and hair. It’s mostly made up of protective tissue and gives the skin strength and elasticity. The dermis holds hair follicles, blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels. It is also holds a number of glands, including sweat glands and sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, an oil that lubricates hair.
The dermis is further split into two layers:
- Papillary region: this layer is made of loose connective tissue, it has finger-like projections that push into the epidermis. These projections give the dermis a bumpy surface and are responsible for the patterns we have on our fingertips.
- Reticular region: it’s made of dense, irregularly organized connective tissue. Protein fibers in the reticular region give skin its strength and elasticity.
- The hypodermis – this layer attaches the dermis to the body, stores fat and controls body temperature. It also provides the skin with nerves and blood supply. The hypodermis is mostly made of fat, connective tissue, and elastin.
The main functions of the skin include:
- Working as a barrier – protecting against water loss as well as physical and chemical injury
- Controls water loss
- Helping us fight off bugs, allergens, toxins and carcinogens via the parts of our immune system that exist in our skin
- Regulating our temperature by dilating and constricting our blood vessels near the skin surface, controlling the transfer of heat out of the body. Temperature is also regulated by evaporative cooling due to sweat production and by the insulating effect of erect hairs on the skin surface. Heat loss is also affected by the insulating layer of subcutaneous fat
- Protecting us from UV radiation by producing melanin
- Giving us the sense of touch _ providing interaction with physical surroundings, allowing all fine and gross motor activities and allowing pleasurable and sexual stimulation
- The production of Vitamin D, which helps prevent many diseases including osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, obesity and neurological diseases
- Wound healing
- Beauty and physical attraction – the quality and condition of the skin greatly contributes to the perception of health, wellness, youth and beauty.
It’s super important to take care of the skin, not only aesthetically, but also for various health reasons.
Cleanser and Body Wash
The most basic step – you’ve got to keep your body clean. Body wash is commonly used by everyone everyday. It’s important to look at the ingredients of the wash you use. It is best to find products that help to solve skin issues. There are many different types of body wash – hydrating, exfoliating, and anti-acne which is great for tackling bacne.
Exfoliating your body is beneficial for a variety of reasons. Exfoliation helps to slough off dead skin, free ingrown hairs, and helps to keep your skin feeling super soft. There are a few different ways to exfoliate. You can use a body scrub like many do or you can use some time of skin glove.
Moisturizing your body is just as important as moisturizing your face. A lot of us get lazy since moisturizing your whole body can be tiresome and take up some time. A good option would be to use an in-shower moisturizer. It saves a lot of time and sinks into rather quickly. A traditional body cream is more moisturizing, though and is great for in between showers or just when you want to take a moment to relax. There are many options to choose from – lightweight moisturizers, heavy creams or even oils for those with very dry skin.
Allow the skin to repair. When it comes to shaving, you must always be very gentle and careful with your skin. It’s easy to cut yourself somehow or to be too aggressive and irritate the skin or get razor bumps. Always use shaving cream or some type of soap.
Never forget about sunscreen! You want to avoid premature wrinkles and future issues with skin or even skin cancer.
If you seem to have problems with dry skin or breakouts, you should get to the root of the problem as quickly as possible.
- Always check your products. If you have sensitive skin, your body wash or lotion could be too harsh or contain harmful chemicals that you’re skin is reacting to. Stop using these products to see if you can pinpoint the issue. If it’s super severe, try to see a dermatologist. Even other products you use in the shower, like shampoo and conditioner, can be causing irritation. Always rinse your skin thoroughly!
- Control your actions – if you notice breakout after the gym or intense workouts, you should do something about it. Acne from sweating is completely normal, but always shower right after and change your sheets frequently. If this is the problem, it can be easily controlled.
- Flaky skin – treating this type of skin issue isn’t easy. Heavy-duty moisturizers are the best option since they penetrate deep into the skin. You can also include a hydrating body wash into your routine.
- Body breakouts – acne and breakouts aren’t just found on the face. Body acne is actually very common and can be avoided.
Tips for healthy skin
Drink a lot of water. For nice skin, your body requires sufficient amounts of liquid. Make sure that you drink enough water, i.e. approximately 8 glasses per day. If you find it hard to drink only water, have a glass of water when you wake up, tea for breakfast, mineral water throughout the day, herbal tea at night. This way you can easily meet all of your daily water requirements.
Get enough sleep. Your body and skin need to regenerate. Get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night for radiant, healthy skin.
Eat healthy. Well-balanced, nutrient-packed foods are great for the skin. Always remember to eat your vegetables and fruits throughout the day. This really helps maintain beautiful skin.
Showers. A shower is actually better for your skin than a bath, which tends to dehydrate the skin. Make sure that the water is lukewarm, rather than hot. It is also okay to take a bath from time to time. However, try not to stay in the water for too long.
Gentle products. It’s important to use delicate, soap-free skincare products for cleansing the skin. If you use something that is harsh, it will irritate the skin, it will become very dry and feel uncomfortable.
Normal healthy skin has many important roles and should be treated with care and respect. Many people only start focusing on the skin once there is an abnormality or at least a perceived problem. Take action before it’s too late! The key to proper skin care is consistency and routine. A basic regime of daily protection from excessive UV radiation, protection from excessive irritation and drying and aiding of the skin’s barrier properties will result in noticeable improvement in almost all skin.