Introduction and background
Our body’s skin is a complex organ with several functions. It consists of three layers (the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis) which protect our body against injury and disease. It is important to know the functions of the skin and to care for it properly in order to protect our body from injuries and the penetration of diseases.
Humans lose millions of dead skin cells every day, but there is no need to panic, because our body is constantly generating new cells to replace the dead ones. In fact, the top layer of our skin is completely replaced every 30 days.
Three Main Functions of the Skin
The epidermis, or the outermost layer of the skin, serves as a protective shell. This is the layer that first absorbs any damage, thus needs to constantly be renewed. Waterproofing is one of the basic functions of the dermis, which enables our body to avoid the absorption of water when in water. It also works the other way around by keeping our body from losing too much water. When the epidermis is healthy, it also protects our body from the invasion of viruses, bacteria, infection, and other unwanted foreign substances. It also contains melanin, which helps in the filtration of harmful ultraviolet rays that cause skin cancer and wrinkles.
The layer of the skin under the epidermis is called the dermis. It is composed of soft tissues such as the elastin, fibrillin, and collagen that are responsible for making our skin firm and strong, yet flexible and elastic. The dermis is also the layer where sweat glands, hair follicles, and oil glands are found, which is important in the regulation of body heat, perspiration and evaporation.
Another critical function of the dermis is providing the sense of touch. Sensing is made possible by the nerve endings that can be found in the dermis, and they make it possible to experience five different sensations which include temperature, pressure, contact and pain.
Natural Ways to Maintain Healthy Skin
In the past, many people tried various experiments on their skin to promote health. Surprisingly, some of the methods they used can be extremely dangerous and can lead to serious skin conditions or problems. Luckily for us now, it has become better understood that some products can be damaging.
When washing the skin, it is best to gently scrub it because harsh washing may result in the damage of skin structures. Also, avoid using antibacterial soap that may remove the friendly bacteria on the skin. Minimize the use of soap and hot water, for they may cause dryness. You should avoid too much exposure of the skin to heat, as it may cause chronic dryness and extreme itchiness. An important factor in keeping skin healthy, is eating water-rich foods, foods rich in flavonoids and those rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Healthy skin is reflected by the intake of nutritious foods that lead to steady blood flow and circulation. Doctors and health experts nowadays are beginning to promote these natural ways of maintaining healthy skin through our daily lifestyles.