Fact: your skin in the largest organ of your body. Another fact: there’s a lot more to your skin than meets the eye. Being your body’s largest, most visible organ makes skin more complicated and interesting than we might give it credit for. It’s easy to take for granted and, if you’re lucky enough to have great skin, even easy to ignore.
But let’s give skin a little love and learn what makes it so special and so worth caring for. Here are a few healthy skin facts about that might change the way you look at your body’s biggest protector.
Your Skin Is Always Changing
You’re not the same person you were in the past and your skin has changed right along with you. According to Forefront Dermatology, you have fresh, new skin just about every 28 days. That skin accounts for about 15 percent of your body weight and the average person has roughly 300 million skin cells. That’s equivalent to the population of the entire United States in 2006! With all of these skin cells turning over every month or so, your body sheds the dead ones like crazy. You’re sloughing off 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells every minute. Those dead skin cells flaking off every person on the planet create an estimated billion tons of dust in the Earth’s atmosphere. Disgusting and fascinating.
To think of it one way, each month you’re given a fresh start with your skin. Use this turnover as an opportunity to take the best care of your skin that you can. Cleanse it gently, exfoliate to remove those dead skin cells before they have a chance to clog your pores and moisturize regularly to keep those new cells healthy and looking good.
You Are What You Eat
The food you consume becomes the building blocks of your body, so, in a way, you really are what you eat. In her column for the Miami Herald, dermatologist Dr. Leslie Baumann highlights a few of the ways that what you eat can manifest itself on your skin. Eliminating certain food groups, she says, can do a good deal of harm to your skin’s delicate balance. Nixing meat in particular can have some significant repercussions when it comes to visible signs of aging. “It’s important to realize that animal-based proteins are rich in nutrients the skin desperately needs,” she says. “For example, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish have been found to prevent inflammation, and inflammation plays a major role in the aging process.” Baumann suggests if you are eliminating fish from your diet for any reason, to supplement with flax seed, which is a great, vegetarian source of omega-3s.
The frequency and severity of instances of acne have also been shown to be linked to diet. A study out of Colorado State University concluded that, contrary to what dermatologists previously believed, diet can influence acne. The study, explained in an article from NBC News, suggests that refined carbohydrates ubiquitous in the modern American diet could be to blame for higher instances of acne. “A steady diet of such foods can trigger a ‘hormonal cascade’ that leads to acne,” according to the study’s author.
Your Skin Is Your Natural Armor
Believe it or not, your skin is your greatest protector. “It’s your first line of defense in protecting internal tissues from harmful germs,” according to the American Cancer Society. “When there’s a break in your skin, it’s easier for germs to get into your body and cause infection.” This makes caring for your personal armor even more important. Dry, cracked skin leaves openings in our armor for bacteria to get in and cause nasty infections. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, if you’re suffering from dry skin and notice red, sore spots on skin, you could have an infection.
Keep skin moisturized, especially in the dry winter months, to prevent dry skin and those infections that can come with it. Fulom’s Moisturizing Cream is thick and rich enough to soothe even the driest skin and gentle enough for use on all skin types without causing irritation.
For more skin facts, see Understanding Your Skin – Skin Facts.