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Understanding the Skin That You Are In

Aug 17, 2007
If we think back to our childhood, one of the fondest memories that we do have is that of our smooth, supple and glowing skin. No matter how many lines wrinkles you have accumulated as you got older, you were born into this world with flawless skin.

So, the question is this: What is responsible for transforming that baby-smooth skin into the crinkly and aged skin that we have personally experienced or know others who have experienced this? Many of the answers lie in the nature of our skin.

Our skin works really hard for us, but the same effort or work is not done on our part. Believe it or not, we tend to take our skin for granted. Let me explain. The skin that we are born with is an organ believe it or not. It is an organ just like our hearts and our livers.

Like any critical organ, our skin performs a long list of tasks. Our skin regulates body temperature. It is the sensor of the body registering pressure, temperature and pain. It is a barrier against the natural and unnatural elements and serves as a protective screen against bacteria, viruses and other threats to our health. It is also the mirror of the body. What do you mean by a mirror you may ask?

When we are chronically exhausted or drained, poorly nourished, or physically or emotionally stressed we react in a certain way to deal with the situation. So does our skin also react in our response to the physical, mental and emotional condition. Premature aging is one of the consequences of failing to give our skin the care and attention that it needs.

What Is Behind the Skin You Are In?

Our skin is our first line of defense for our body. Because of this, it is easily damaged, both by external causes such as sunlight, air pollution, and internal factors like cigarette smoke or a diet that lacks nutrients, particularly anti-oxidant nutrients such as vitamin C and E.

In order for somebody to truly understand what their skin is up against; consider the nature of the skin. Our skin consists of three basic layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and a fat layer. The epidermis is the outer layer of our skin. The very outer surface of the epidermis, called the stratum cornuem, is a protective coating of dead skin cells that forms when fresh cells made in the deeper layer of our skin push their way to the surface.

When the layers are pushed to the surface, they flatten and die. This layer is thinner than a sheet of tissue paper. The stratum cornuem, is scaled off continually as new cells take its place. As we age, this scaling process slows down.

The epidermis also contains cells called melanocytes. These cells produce melanin. Melanin is what determines the color of your skin. Although we all have about the same amount of melanocytes, the actual tone of our skin depends on the unique amount and concentration of melanin.

The next layer is known as the dermis. The dermis lies underneath the epidermis and makes up 90 percent of the thickness of our skin. This layer is referred to by many people as the nerve center of the skin because it is where much of the important work of the skin is done.

The dermis contains nerve receptors which are sensitive to pressure (such as a kiss or a hug), temperature and pain; sweat glands, sebaceous glands (which produce skin-protective oil), hair follicles and finally blood vessels.

The swear glands and sebaceous glands in the dermis help produce the acid mantel of your skin. The acid mantel is a thick coating of oil and perspiration that helps protect the body from infections either bacterial or fungal. The acid mantel is an effective barrier.

Believe it or not, we often unintentionally strip the mantel away through the use of harsh soaps, which the natural balance of acidity and alkalinity (pH) of our skin.

The dermis also contains a crowded network of collagen and elastin. Collagen and elastin are two types of protein that give our skin its strength and elasticity. The final layer is known as the fat layer. The fat layer is found underneath the epidermis and dermis.

The fat layer serves to insulate and protect our inner organs and acts as a cushion that helps to keep the skin plump and smooth.
About the Author
Joseph Constant is the founder of A.R. Skincare, a company devoted to awareness of natural products using Premium Grade A Shea Butter. Please visit http://www.premium-grade-sheabutter.com/ARNewsletter.html to keep up to date with health and skincare tips.
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