When we start thinking about our skin, it really is creepy weird.
Humans shed 200 million skin cells every hour, which equates to approximately half our body weight throughout a lifetime. With all this flaking taking place, scientists have always wondered how the skin’s integrity endures, and how it is so adept at maintaining equilibrium… i.e. water in / water out. A 2016 study from the Imperial College London , in collaboration with Keio University Japan, found, after analyzing mouse skin cells, the epidermal cells are “a flattened version of a tetrakaidekahedron – a 14-sided 3D solid made out of six rectangular and eight hexagonal sides – the best shape for packing equal-sized objects together to fill space with minimal surface area.” Isn’t Mother Nature just so stunning?!
The skin, our largest organ, is designed to protect our bodies from disease and exposure. Why is the skin an organ? Because it is one of the major biological systems in the human body with an interrelated function that helps keep us alive. In the typical adult, skin weighs between 8 and 9 pounds (3.8 kilograms), stretches 20 to 22 square feet (2 meters), and has 3 layers; epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. The epidermis, the outer layer, is our first line of defence, keeping us water resistant and giving our skin colour through melanin. The dermis contains nerve endings, sweat glands, oil glands, hair follicles, and small blood vessels, this is where the deep defence against pathogens occurs. The hypodermis is mainly comprised of fat cells to keep us warm and cushion our organs, this layer of the skin also connects the top two layers to the muscles and tissue below.
Healthy skin has 6 excellent functions:
- Protects us from the elements, microbes etc.…
- Absorbs humidity and nutrients.
- Excretes toxins from sweat glands.
- Secretes sebum, an oily wax that keeps skin supple and mildly acidic 4.5-5.5ph.
- Regulates temperature – sweat cools body, fatty layer keeps us warm.
- Sensation through nerve endings, facilitating pain, pleasure, heat and cold.
If I reflect on when my skin looks best, it is after a wonderful winter run, a two-hour hike with our dog, walking on the beach, or after a great workout at the gym. Most people’s skin looks its finest after exercising, pumping that oxygen through the body. At the same time, we are eliminating toxins, reducing stress and plumping up skin cells. My skin looks the worst when I’m not sleeping well, have had a stressful day, have not been eating a healthy diet and not intaking sufficient water.
Jessica Defino (Yarbrough), Insta@JessicaDefino_, is one of the smartest skin specialists around and has written for “Vogue”, “Marie Claire” and “Nylon” to name a few. In a recent post for “The Zoe Report” – “You Do Not Have Sensitive Skin”, Jessica explains that most people have “sensitized skin” due to an overuse of products such as exfoliants, high dose retinoids, steroidal cremes and toxicants, all which dehydrate and weaken the barrier layer of the skin. “Sensitive skin is something you are born with and sensitized skin is something you do to yourself. With skincare. And you can un-do it to yourself. With less skincare. ALSO, just because your skin has a reaction to a certain ingredient, even a common ingredient, it doesn’t mean that your skin is sensitive, it means it is SKIN! *All* skin (usually) reacts poorly to stuff it doesn’t want/need, that’s it’s job!”
My bout with contact dermatitis after ten years of working in salons that used heavily scented products, is a case in point. My skin was telling me to clean up my act, so I used nothing on it for a while, making it much easier to identify the smelly culprits responsible for my condition. I researched, explored and researched some more, and was unable to find products without some degree of toxic chemicals, and discovered none without fragrance. So, I developed WORLD Hair and Skin because at the time, this was my only solution.
Consumers are finally gravitating towards natural and organic products, it has been so rewarding to see how folks are embracing the WORLD Hair and Skin line, not only because it is clean and effective, but because it is minimal and extremely beneficial for all your personal care needs.
Your skin does not live in a vacuum, although it is stretchy enough! No number of toners, masks and gels can camouflage a bad diet and lack of exercise. In his poem of 1613 called “A Wife”, Sir Thomas Overbury first coined the concept of beauty and skin. He wrote “All the carnal beauty of my wife is but skin-deep.” Our journey with the skins that house us, tell a tale for all the world to see.