The Purpose of Skin

I’m going to go over something very basic that I’m surprised is just coming up now; why bother taking care of our skin? What is the purpose? Why can’t I just use crap on my face and live with it? Well, my funny little friends, let me tell you.

The skin performs six functions for the body and I’ve added one more to make it seven. These functions (which I will obviously go over individually) are protection, secretion, excretion, absorption, regulation, sensation, and attraction.

skinperty

Starting with my added on function, attraction, seems to be appropriate. Skin is a direct indication of overall health and when we see healthy skin, our brains tend to connect it to a healthy person. As humans it is our nature to seek a “mate” and healthy and attractive are two traits people undeniably look for. Having healthy skin will make you more attractive to a “mate” as their animalistic instincts will be looking for “healthy” and “child bearing” women. I honestly love talking about the animalistic qualities humans have and love using terms to describe us that are typically used on National Geographic… Anyways, point being, keeping the skin well maintained will help with your overall appearance which will make you an attractive option for a mate.

Onward we go! The skins MAIN function, which will reoccur in this post, is protection. Healthy skin is a healthy protective barrier. This means that it holds in and protects all our internal organs from mechanical and chemical damage. It protects us from any object that can wound our organs (to some extent) toxins (including UV radiation, smoke and pollution), bacteria, and extreme heat and cold by using what are called Langerhans (Lang-er-hans, sounds exactly as it’s spelled). These Langerhans are found in our skin and are basically like little soldiers that protect us; they are our own personal army. Protection is the number one function of the skin, and if the skin is damaged or improperly taken care of it won’t be able to function properly leaving us susceptible to internal damages.

The Langerhan Cell, found in the lowest layer of the epidermis (aka the bottom of the top layer of skin.)

The Langerhan Cell, found in the lowest layer of the epidermis (aka the bottom of the top layer of skin.)

Now the rest I’ll go over in no particular order as they’re all important. Absorption. Our skin will absorb 75% of things that come in contact with it. This means that we absorb many nutrients such as vitamins, acids (good ones), water and oxygen which will all nourish and hydrate the skin. If the skin is unhealthy absorption will be effected in two ways: 1. We won’t absorb all these good things for the body, and 2. Our protective barrier will waver and we will absorb bad things like bacteria and toxins. These bad things may even penetrate as far as the bloodstream and make us very sick. So we want to keep our skin healthy so we absorb good nutrition and prevent toxins from entering our system.

Booyah onto regulation. Our skin regulates our body temperature to keep it at a healthy 98.6˚F. It is important to stay this temperature because if we get too cool we could freeze, become sick, have some of our body systems shut down or even lose limbs in extreme cases. If our temperature gets too high our body becomes exhausted, risk a chance of stroke or heart attack, and become extremely dehydrated. How does our skin help with that? When we are too cool our body goes through two magical procedures; shivering and goosebumps. Shivering helps by causing tiny vibrations in the body to make the your body warm itself up, and goosebumps help by creating more blood flow and surface area to attain heat. Too warm? Ain’t no thing! Your skin will sweat, leaving a damp layer on your skin that will then cool our bodies. So keep your skin healthy so you can regulate your temperature and protect yourself from internal damages.

Burr

Burr

Next I’ll go off about secretion (what a disgusting word). Our skin secretes a substance called sebum (ha-ha very funny guys) which creates a layer on our skin called our acid mantle. I have recently talked about the acid mantle about my post in toners, but I’ll refresh you on it in case you didn’t read that (shame on you!). Our acid mantle is a layer of sebum (a complex mix of fatty substances) that works to keep the skin soft, pliable, supple and keep a balanced pH. This is important to keep the skin from becoming too dry or too oily which can create openings for infection or bacteria by breaking down the defensive layers of the skin. Secretion, in it’s very basic description, helps to protect our skin and keep us pretty. Keeping our skin healthy will make sure our acid mantle stays in tact to protect us and keep the skin soft and supple.

Mmm... Sebum...

Mmm… Sebum…

Excretion (another gross word) is very important for our body. Funny enough, our skin is our biggest waste removal system. That’s right, more crap comes out of our skin than our bums. Sweat glands and pores work together to excrete toxins that flow through our body (such as Carbon Dioxide). You will see toxins coming out in the form of sweat.  Having unhealthy skin will cause the toxins to build up in blemishes, cause sickness or other ailments. Keeping healthy skin will allow the body to remove these toxins with ease.

sweatyface

Lastly there is sensation. It feels almost redundant to go over because who doesn’t love sensation? But I’ll go over it anyhow. Our skin allows us to feel heat, cold, pain, pressure and touch because of the nerve endings found in the layers of the skin. The nerve endings send a message to the brain and spinal cord, which then relays the message to the corresponding area of the body. All these feelings are important, even pain, in order to protect us. Feeling pain allows us to know when something is damaging our body, as well as heat, cold and pressure. These things can be good things too of course, touch and pressure (as well as heat and cold (pain for some people I suppose) in some cases) are obviously things you wouldn’t want to not be able to feel… Like a hug… or a… You know ;]. How is healthy skin beneficial to these things? Let me just give you a few examples:

  • Has your skin ever been so dry you can’t feel touch in that spot? This will happen with people with disorders such as eczema and psoriasis, or with very dry skin. The skin is unable to feel the whole sensation of touch and will be a very muted version of it. 
  • Has your skin ever broken out and it’s been painful to touch? This is because of the body trying to attack the bacteria in the skin which has caused pain, making you unable to feel anything else.

Keep your skin healthy!

Over years of treating out skin poorly these different functions of the skin will start to falter. You may become extremely sensitive – it is very common to see older women and men with rosacea (a very sensitive, red skin condition), sensitivities and very deep lines in their skin. To avoid the effects of aging in the skin, and the deterioration of our functions, make sure to keep the skin healthy.

wrinkledface

In order to keep us healthy and protected we need to treat our skin with care. Make sure to use proper products on your face and body. Use an SPF to protect you from the sun! Always take to a skin care specialist before starting a new regimen to make sure you’re choosing the right products for your skin.

Thanks for reading! I hope you got a lot of information from this post and let me know if you have any questions!

xoxo

Jdal. 

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