Weighing in at about 16% of your total body weight and taking the title as largest organ, your skin is an amazingly intricate system that needs a little more credit!
Taking on the hefty task of serving you throughout all stages of life, happy functioning of the skin is incredibly vital to your good health (let alone your aesthetics and self-esteem), so knowing how to fine tune your partnership will serve you both well.
Please take a moment to get acquainted with your greatest environmental protector and gain insight into what and why we do what we do for you as Beauty Therapists!
Forming a semi-permeable lipid barrier that keeps your "insides" carefully separated from the "outside" (the two are not meant to mix!), your skin prevents invasion of nasty pathogens, fends off chemical and mechanical assaults, is a sensory communication pathway, helps with Vitamin D synthesis and keeps a close watch over the regulation of water and solute loss. Consider how the internal effects of daily exposure to pollutants, air-con and chemicals as well as food choices and lack of exercise would build up over a day, a week, months and years.
Any issues that arise with skin cell communications, metabolism, proliferation and also lipid composition will result in altered skin barrier function - quickly leading to a skin that displays signs of being unhappy; redness, itchiness, pimples, infections, dullness, slow healing, pigmentation, ageing, reactivity and sensitivity. I’m sure that every person reading this has encountered at least one of these concerns before, and I’m also quite sure that it has helped you realise that life is a lot nicer when your skin is happier!
There are three main parts to your skin - the epidermis (which is avascular, meaning no interwoven blood supply), dermis (very vascular) and subcutaneous (your lipid insulation). Each part has specific structures and functions and all 3 need to be working well together to achieve harmony. Disharmony creates a domino-like cascade of cells that are just not able to interact correctly and do their jobs right!
|It may be important at this point to also familiarise you with the basic outline of a eukaryotic (animal) cell. We are literally composed of trillions of cells.
All eukaryotic cells have an exterior plasma membrane, cytoskeleton, nucleus, genetic material encoded in DNA, Ribosomes that manufacture proteins (that are all coded for by your DNA strands) which complete numerous tasks both inside and outside the cell, and a watery inner cell ‘gel’ cytoplasm that contains organelles.
Organelles are membrane-bound structures that complete specific tasks, such as the Mitochondria (otherwise known as the energy producing powerhouse of your cell), plus many more. It is the exterior plasma membrane that controls what gets in and out of cells- messages could be hormones or chemical cell signals, plus many nutrients flowing in and out via active or passive diffusion. There are a number of proteins embedded in the plasma membrane that assist the cell to communicate effectively in its environment, and the healthy lipid structure of the membrane is vital to support these proteins – an unhealthy cell membrane equals an unhealthy cell! Free radicals love attacking plasma membranes, which is why anti-oxidants are just so important in skincare and nutrition.
Liked this article? You will love the next article that's all about your Epidermis.
This article was written by Pia Kynoch,
Owner & Principal Therapist at:
Verve Beauty & Paramedical Skin Wellness.