Skin Health

What is “healthy skin”?

What is “healthy skin”? How can you tell when your skin is healthy, and what should you do if it becomes unhealthy?

Having healthy skin means more than just a clear complexion. Your skin is the biggest organ of your body and is the front line of defense against disease and infection. Your skin regulates your temperature and hydration levels and protects you from radiation and toxins.

Knowing Your Skin

Skin consists of three layers, the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. Each layer has its own role in protecting the body and has its own characteristics.

This is the layer most people think of when talking about “skin.” It is the top layer of skin, and consists of layers of flat, waxy cells called the stratum corneum. This layer contains pigment cells called melanocytes, which help protect the body from UV radiation.

Below the stratum corneum is the stratum basale. This layer is where nutrients are transferred from the dermis to the upper cells, and where new cells are formed.

The flat, interlocking cells of the epidermis act as a barrier between the outside environment and your body. While the epidermal layer is intact, it keeps germs and toxins at bay.

Below the epidermis is the dermis. The dermis is a loose network of cells called fibroblasts which synthesize the keratin and other proteins that make up the epidermis. Immune response cells reside in the dermis, so they are prepared to respond to a break in the skin.
Hair follicles, nerve endings, sweat glands, and other important structures are located in the dermis.

This thin layer rests just above the muscle and fatty layer of the body. It connects the skin to the muscle and fat and prevents skin from slipping. When your skin ages, this layer loses cohesion and your skin can sag.

Signs of Healthy Skin

Keeping your skin healthy keeps you healthy from the outside. It also reflects how your body is doing inside. If your skin looks unhealthy, something may be wrong inside as well as outside.

  • Even skin tone. Skin should be the same tone everywhere. Variation in places is normal, but sudden light or dark patches can be a sign of trouble.
  • Smooth, flexible skin. Everyone knows how their skin feels dry and tight when they haven’t had enough water. If your skin is constantly flaky or dull, you may be dehydrated, even if you are drinking enough water.
  • Texture. Skin should be even and free of blemishes. Everyone has a few spots or moles, but you should be alert for sores that don’t heal, bruises, moles that grow or change color, and other unusual changes to the skin’s surface.

Your skin is the top layer of your body and the first part that contacts the environment. It is also the easiest part of your body to see if anything is wrong inside. Be alert for issues with your skin, it may be your first signal of a deeper issue.

How to Keep Your Skin Healthy

  • Eat a Balanced Diet. Some fats are good for you. Your skin needs antioxidants that are present in healthy fats like nuts, avocados and fish oils. Vitamin C and E protect your skin against free radicals and UV rays and give your skin a healthy glow.
  • Use sunscreen. Sun damage isn’t just unattractive, it actually harms the surface layer of your epidermis. This increases the risk to the deeper layers that protect you from bacteria and environmental toxins.
  • Drink plenty of water. Your skin keeps your body’s hydration levels in balance. Return the favor by staying properly hydrated so your skin stays fresh and elastic.
  • Follow a skincare routine. Keep your skin clean and moisturized. Remove dirt and sweat before they can build up and cause skin damage that could lead to more serious injury.
  • Treat any underlying health issues. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and diabetes can all impact your skin’s health. Take care of your body and your skin will thank you.