You’ve probably heard that your skin is more than just a pretty covering.
Your skin is the largest organ of the human body and is comprised of a vast network of supporting materials, nourishing capillaries, and communicating nerve endings. It protects you against exposure to dangerous things in the environment, repels water, and also keeps you from losing too much water to the outside. It also protects everything that lies underneath it like blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and other organs.
It protects you from infections and germs.
You consider your skin care in a broad sense. You ponder what cleanser will do the best job of getting your face clean. You question what moisturizer will give you the most effective anti-acne results.
But do you ever really stop to think about just how your skin functions and why these decisions are so important?
Your skin weighs approximately 6 pounds in total and is made up of several different components:
You have a lot of skin cells! There are about 19 million cells in every inch of your body.
There are three main layers to the skin, each having its own unique job.
- Epidermis: The outer layer, is the thinnest layer of the skin, but is the part most responsible for protecting you from the environment around you. Different types of cells live here: keratinocytes, melanocytes, and langerhans cells.
- Dermis: The middle layer, has a lot to do. Fibroblast cells live here. This is a very complex layer, housing a combination of blood vessels, hair follicles, nerves, and sebaceous (oil) glands. Collagen and elastin, two proteins that offer the skin support and elasticity, are also located here. So when you start to see wrinkles, you have the dermis to blame. Here is where your hair originates and where you sense pain, touch, and temperature.
- Subcutis or Basal: The inner, fatty layer, plays host to sweat glands, fat, and loose connective tissue. It’s responsible for conserving your body’s heat and protecting your inner organs. When this tissue gets thinner as you age, your skin starts to sag.
Let’s take a quick look at what the different types of cells do:
Keratinocytes produce the protein keratin, which is the main component of the epidermis.
Melanocytes produce skin’s pigment, called melanin.
Langerhans cells prevent foreign substances from getting into your skin.
Fibroblasts synthesize collagen and elastin.
Taking good care of your skin is absolutely essential to maintaining the health and vitality of this protective organ.
How Does Skin Regenerate
Your skin is constantly changing all throughout your life. As old cells die, new ones are created to take their place in an ever-revolving door. Your skin will completely regenerate itself about once every 27 days. Only your liver can compete with that.
Without the ability to regenerate so quickly, the protective barrier function and many other important functions of your skin would be lost.
Each different layer of skin regenerates in response to injury using a different process. When you’re concerned about anti-aging skin care or acne treatment, you’re mainly concerned with the epidermal layer.
In order to keep things “fresh” your body is always making new skin cells and getting rid of older ones. It gets rid of 30,000-40,000 old skin cells every day.
- New skin cells in the epidermis are formed in the bottom layer (the one closest to the dermis).
- When they’re first formed, they are alive, fat, and square.
- They get pushed upwards as more new cells are formed beneath them.
- Over the course of about 27 days, they continue being pushed towards the outside, getting squished and flattened as they go.
- They also die along the way. These dead cells protect your skin from the sun, infection, and injury.
- When they reach the top, they flake off.
What You Do Affects Your Skin’s Regeneration
Healthy skin is constantly regenerating at a rate of millions of cells per day. You can only imagine how poor lifestyle, diet, and bad skin care choices can hinder this important process. What you eat, how you live, and how well you take care of your skin has a big effect on how healthy your skin is.
- Feed Your Cells so they can do their job! Remember the list of things that go into making a skin cell?
Water * Protein * Lipids * Vitamins * Minerals
Those have to come from somewhere! While your body is pretty magical at making things happen and taking care of itself, it can’t produce anything out of thin air. That means you have to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to ensure that you’re getting what you need.
Vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (especially B3, or niacin) are imperative for cell growth. So are the minerals copper, zinc, and selenium. You can find them in a variety of lean meats, poultry, fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
Drinking plenty of water is also necessary.
- Get Plenty of Sleep. Your body needs at least seven hours of sleep every night. Your skin actually does its best work while you’re catching your zzz’s. That’s when most of the regeneration, healing, and repair processes take place. Sleep deprivation also leads to a weakened immune system, which can lead to multiple skin problems.
- Take Care of Your Skin From the Outside. If the dead skin cells don’t slough off, they begin to form layers, making your skin look dull and have an uneven tone. You can help new cells rise to the surface faster by exfoliating gently. You’re not looking to damage the skin, just help the process along. Follow a good skin care regimen consisting of cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and moisturizing.
You can also treat your skin to a little pampering, by using products that help to protect it from external damage and aid in the wound-healing process. SciaEssentials’ DELTA-5 is a unique blend of oil pressed from nature’s best conifer seeds, bringing with it the powerful effects of sciadonic acid, proven to relieve inflammation, aid healing, and strengthen the skin’s barrier.