Your Skin Is a Superhero: How to Support Your Body’s Biggest Organ

Your heart, lungs and kidneys are the first organs that come to your mind when you think about them.

You might not be aware of the largest and most visible organ in your body, the skin.

The skin is more than just pretty. It protects your body from foreign organisms and regulates body temperature.

It is more than what you see every day in the mirror. A healthy skin can help you live a healthier life.

Continue reading to discover the secrets of your skin’s superpowers and learn how you can take care of it.

 

What is the skin really doing?

Barry Goldman, MD is a New York-based private dermatologist who is affiliated with Cornell Medical Center.

It serves many purposes.

Goldman states, “It’s part a team organs that work together.”

Kemunto Mokaya (Dr. Kemmy”) is a board-certified dermatologist who also wrote ” Live & Look Younger.” “It is an important and vital organ system that has many functions.”

The skin is a superorgan for its ability:

  • Immunity
  • Protect and cover internal organ parts and functions
  • Release sweat
  • vitamin D synthesize
  • Make melanin
  • Touch allows us to distinguish between textures, temperatures and other details.

Protects us against invaders

The epidermis is the top layer of skin. It protects our bodies from harmful external forces like viruses.

Goldman says that healthy skin is essential to prevent pathogens gaining a foothold. A broken skin barrier can allow bacteria and viruses to penetrate the skin deeper and cause infection.

Even if pathogens infect the skin, this superorgan will continue to fight.

A 2020 review found that skin cells cooperate and create immune signals to aid the body in fighting off and attacking pathogens.

Goldman states that White blood cell constantly circulate through skin and conduct immune surveillance.

Also, the skin contains epidermal KeratinocytesTrusted source, which are cells that produce proteins and peptides with antibacterial and antifungal properties.

The sebaceous oil secretes an additional layer of protection against foreign substances. It also keeps skin soft.

Covers the muscles, bones and internal organs.

The protective qualities of the skin don’t stop at immunity.

Goldman states that the third layer of skin (the subcutis or hypodermis) is made of fat, which acts as a shock absorber.

Trauma is when the body suffers from injury . This fat acts as a thick cushion to absorb the shock and keep our internal bodies safe.

Sweat it out

Sweat doesn’t just signify a good workout.

Mokaya states that sweat helps cool the skin and keep the body from overheating.

Two types of glands are responsible for sweatingTrusted Source. The majority of the body’s eccrine glands are visible and extend onto the skin’s surface. The hair follicle is accessible through the Apocrine glands. They can be found on the scalp and armpits.

The question of whether the body can ” sweat off toxins” remains a matter of debate.

A 2016 studyTrusted source showed that heavy metal levels were lower among people who exercise regularly.

A 2011 studyTrusted source showed that sweat could be used to remove Bisphenol A (BPA) which is a chemical commonly found in plastics.

A 2019 reviewTrusted Source still calls for better-controlled studies to determine if sweat plays any meaningful role in eliminating toxins from the body.

Vitamin D is synthesized

Mokaya says that vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed the sun. Vitamin D has multiple functions in the body.

A 2015 ReviewTrusted Source suggested it might be helpful with:

  • Bone health
  • protection against skin cancers
  • immune function
  • psoriasis management
  • Atopic Dermatitis has a lower risk and severity

Contains melanin

Goldman points out that the epidermis is rich in melanin a pigment that affects a person’s skin tone. Your skin will become darker if you have more melanin.

Your skin’s color is not the only thing that melanin does. Goldman claims that it protects your skin from the UV rays of the sun. These rays are responsible:

  • sunburn
  • skin cancer
  • Premature Aging
  • lower collagen manufacturing
  • reduced skin elasticity

Touch is affected

Imagine if you could not pet your dog, snuggle a friend, or feel the warmth from a blanket. We can feel the pleasure and pain of touch thanks to our skin.

Mokaya states that skin is able to sense and recognize pain, pressure and discomfort. It can detect temperature and texture, as well as decipher textures.

This is done by tiny, but very powerful touch receptors in the skin such as:

  • Thermoreceptors which help to determine the temperature
  • nociceptors are devices that tell you when something is hurting, such as a wound.
  • mechanoreceptors are used to detect pressure.

How to take care of your super-hero skin

There are many skin care products on the market. It can be overwhelming to look through a list of “must-haves” skin care products.

Experts say there are simple ways you can care for your skin. You might be surprised to learn that there are other ways to care for your skin than the beauty aisle.

Take care of yourself from the inside.

Dermatologists say that you are what your body eats, at least when it is concerned with skin care.

Mokaya recommends foods rich in:

  • Antioxidants include dark leafy greens like spinach and kale and berries that counter free radicals and other environmental damage
  • Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats like salmon, walnuts and chia seeds, to help strengthen the skin’s oil barrier
  • probiotics like yogurt and prebiotics found in high fibre items such as fruit and vegetables to improve the skin’s barrier

Mokaya recommended avoiding processed sugary foods whenever possible.

Research suggestsTrusted Source an association between high-sugar diets, acne, and a 2021 study showedTrusted Source that processed foods are associated with atopic dermatology.

How your skin should be healthy

There are many skin care products available. Mokaya recommends limiting your skin care routine to a handful of essential products.

She believes everyone should invest in:

  • A good cleansing oil that suits you and your skin needs
  • Choose the moisturizer which suits your skin type.
  • a broad-spectrum sunscreen

Unexpected self-care actions that support skin health

Self-care is an important part of skin care. This doesn’t just mean spending a day at a spa.

Experts offer some suggestions for at-home activities to boost your superhero organs, such as:

  • Exercise Mokaya and the American Academy of Dermatology both believe that exercise improves blood flow to all parts of the body, including the skin. To prevent breakouts and clear pores, the AAD recommends that you use a cleanser with salicylic acid or benzoyl oxide after a sweat session.
  • Sleep:Mokaya claims that sleep is the best way to regenerate your skin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults between 18 and 60 years should get at least 7 hours sleep per night. Source.
  • Get outside:Goldman points out that the air inside is often dryer, especially during cooler months. According to a 2017 study, going outside can help reduce stress and trigger acne.

 

Even more tips for supporting your skin

Your skin does a lot to support your body, and keep you healthy. These tips will help you keep your skin in top shape.

De-clutter your vanity drawer

You might want to go through your skin products if you haven’t done so in a while.

Goldman recommends checking expiration dates as expired products may cause skin irritation and loss of effectiveness.

Mokaya suggests that you adopt a “less is more” approach. Mokaya advises that you don’t fix what’s broken, regardless of the new trend on social media.

She says that less is more when it comes to skin care. A consistent routine of products that work together and are properly layered often gives better results than trying to mix and match products.

Showers are a great place to get warm

Although a long, steamy-hot shower can feel luxurious, Goldman suggests that your skin doesn’t like it.

Goldman states that while hot water can feel great in the moment it damages your skin’s natural moisture factors.

Goldman recommends that you use lukewarm water. Goldman suggests that water be kept at the same temperature as your body, between 95 and 99degF (35.2degC and 35.72degC), and no more than 105degF (40.5degC).

He says, “If your skin appears very red after you get out of the bath, it is likely that the water temperature has been too high.”

Choose the right sunscreen

There are many sunscreens on the market. Goldman states that it is essential to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

These are the AAD’s recommendations:

  • Use waterproof sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. A sunscreen with an SPF 30 will block 97% of the sun’s UV rays.
  • Use approximately 1 oz. For adults, apply about 1 oz.
  • To go outside, wait 15 minutes after you submit your application.
  • Apply every 2 hours, or after you have been swimming or sweating.

For safe sun success, dress

Even with sunscreen, you won’t be able block 100% of the sun’s UV rays. Goldman suggests that you add additional layers to your clothing for protection.

He suggests:

  • a hat
  • sunglasses
  • UPF50+ clothing

Find out your skin type

Mokaya suggests that you tailor your product selections to your skin type.

These are the most commonly recognized skin types:

  • Oily (greasy).
  • Dry (flaky).
  • Sensitive (irritates easily).
  • Combination (flaky, greasy)

Different ingredients best suit specific skin types.

Take, for example:

  • Benzoylperoxide is a good option for acne-prone or oily skin.
  • Sensitive skin will be happy to use fragrance-free products to avoid irritation.
  • For dry skin, oil- or cream-based products may be beneficial.

A dermatologist can help identify your skin type, and recommend products.

Take a vitamin D supplement

Vitamin D is naturally produced by the sun.

Daniel Glass, a UK-based dermatologist at The Dermatology Clinic London says that a supplement can be helpful if you are deficient.

A simple blood test can check your levels.

A 2015 reviewTrusted Source stated that vitamin D supplementation should always be considered first-line for proper levels. However, more research is needed to determine its effects on the skin.

Reduce smoking

Skin health can also be affected by smoking cigarettes

A 2019 studyTrustedSource found that smokers’ skin is less elastic and has more visible creases than non-smokers’. Research starting in 2021Trusted Source links some skin cancers and smoking.

It could also be linked to skin conditions like:

  • psoriasis
  • hidradenitis suppurativa
  • chronic dermatoses
  • Alopecia
  • lupus erythematosus
  • Polymorphous light eruption

The CDC offers resourcesTrusted Source that can be used to quit smoking, such as quitlines and apps.

De-stress

Mokaya believes that stress can cause inflammation, which can have a variety of effects on the skin, such as:

  • premature aging
  • Acne
  • eczema flare-ups

Her favorite de-stressing activities include:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation and focused breathing
  • exercise
  • Enjoy scenic walks with a friend or partner
  • Listening to music

Talk to a therapist if you are having trouble controlling stress.

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