Before getting into skin care as deeply as I now find myself, I was a massage therapist. I owned a very busy, very full massage therapy practice. As you can imagine, I have seen a very wide range of skin health and conditions. Skin care became something that I spoke with my clients about a lot and ended up doing a lot of research in, in order to better serve them. It started becoming a hobby of mine, to find skin care gems and pass them along, then see how my clients did with them and adjust so one solution could help more than just one person. This started to become a hobby and I absolutely loved everything about it.
I knew that going into a skin care hobby and having people try things I hadn't seen results on yet, I would need to vastly increase my knowledge of what skin actually is. Fascinating stuff, really. I feel that in order to really understand skin CARE, a person really needs to understand what they are caring FOR. I'll break it down for you as simply as I can.
Skin is the biggest organ of the body, and the most visible. The skin is connected directly to a few other organs and assists with detoxification, homeostasis and a few other things. In other words, it’s really important! In order to really understand why I am so passionate about taking care of your skin, I think it’s pretty important to understand what this amazing organ does. I’ll try to break it down very simply for you, using more common words, instead of all the medical terminology so it is more easily understood.
The skin is composed of 3 main layers: the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous layer (closest to the inside of the body). The epidermis is continuously being regenerated. As the epidermal cells die, they need to be sloughed off to make room for new, healthy skin cells.
The dermis is the inner layer. It contains sweat glands which produce sweat that travels to pores and play a very important role in temperature regulation and detoxification. The dermis also contains hair follicles which are essentially pits that hair grows from. Hair also plays a role in temperature regulation.
Then we have the sebaceous glands, which are also in the dermis. This is where the oil that naturally gets produced by your skin gets created. These oils are important in maintaining a healthy epidermis, trapping and preventing bad bacteria from entering the pores, thus entering the body and are part of a communication network to the immune system to keep your body healthy. Just these two layers alone are enough to understand why the skin is so important. However, there is a third layer that usually gets forgotten about.
This third layer, called the subcutaneous layer, is composed of connective tissue (fascia) and fat (an insulator). The subcutaneous layer is directly connected to nerves, hair roots, capillaries, veins and arteries, giving the skin direct access to your blood flow. This layer is extremely important to keep in mind when we talk about toxic ingredients that most commercial skin care products contain.
Some of the main functions of the skin include:
Providing a protective barrier against mechanical, thermal and physical injury and hazardous substances
Prevention of dehydration
Reduces harmful effects of UV radiation
Acts as a sensory organ for many senses such as touch, temperature, texture, etc.
Helps regulate temperature
Detects infection so the immune system can mobilize to heal the area
Produces vitamin D in the presence of sunlight
As you can see, the skin is super multi-functional and essential to maintaining a healthy body. When we put substances on the skin containing chemicals, we also need to think about what those chemicals would do if they were inside our body. Remember, the skin is directly connected to our blood stream. What we put on our skin matters just as much as what we put in our body. We need to take care that we are using clean, chemical-free ingredients that actually help regenerate the skin cells to maintain the proper cell structure so it can continue to do its job. Just as we wouldn’t be binge drinking when we are trying to do a liver detox, we should not be using plastic-based, chemical-based products on our skin when we are trying to be healthy.
I hope you were able to read through this easily and follow along! I am always open to questions and love to help people understand this subject more thoroughly. This is obviously a topic I care deeply about and am very passionate about. I wanted to have this as it’s own post so I can refer people to it in later posts about the components of skin and why it’s so important.