Chicago Skin Care Expert Explains The Importance Of Dermatology
Skin care is extremely important to our overall health and survival. Our skin has many components, including water, protein, lipids, minerals and chemicals. It plays a large role in our overall health. For example, our skin:
- protects us from infections, germs and bacteria;
- protects us from cold, heat and sunlight;
- protects us from toxins;
- minimizes water loss from the body;
- protects blood vessels, nerves and organs;
- helps regulate body temperature; and
- is part of our immune system.
Proactive Skin Care
Our skin regenerates itself approximately every 27 days. Aging, genetics, gravity, exercise, environmental condition, medications, diet and sun exposure take their toll. When outdoors, wear protective clothing and an effective sunscreen. It’s also helpful to avoid strong soaps, limit bath time, eat well and manage stress.
The skin is one of our body’s heaviest and largest organs. Depending on body size and mass, it weighs between 7-22 pounds. It is 1-2 square meters in size. If the skin is damaged, more blood flows to the wounded area, which is why wounds are red and warm. Afterwards, cells form to make new skin, subcutaneous tissue and blood vessels. Connective tissue fibers (collagen) and small muscle cells are made too. As a result, the wound becomes more stable and closes. Depending on how deep the wound is, it heals with or without scarring.
The skin consists of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutis. The outermost, visible layer of skin is called the epidermis. It forms the surface of the skin and constantly rebuilds itself. Newcells are made in the lower layers of the epidermis. These move to the surface within four weeks, where they harden and are then shed. Depending on where it is on the body, the epidermis is between 0.03 and 4 mm thick. For example, it is very thin on the forehead, and quite thick on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands.
The epidermis contains other cell types as well. Special cells called melanocytes produce and store the pigment melanin. When we lie in the sun, the melanocytes produce more melanin. This makes our skin darker and tan, which is how melanin protects us from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Lymphocytes play an important role in fighting germs. Merkel cells are special nerve cells in the skin that sense pressure.
The dermis (the thick inner layer of the skin) consists of robust, elastic fibers. These ensure that the skin is strong and stable, but also elastic. The dermis has a network of nerve fibers and blood vessels in it. These blood vessels carry nutrients and oxygen to the cells of the dermis and the epidermis.
The subcutis (the deepest layer of skin, also called the subcutaneous layer) is composed of fat and connective tissue. The fat acts as a shock absorber and insulator. The dermis and the subcutis contain blood and lymph vessels, not to mention nerves, sweat glands, sebaceous (oil glands and scent glands, as well as the roots of head and body hair). Proper skin care addresses health of the entire body.