Now that the holiday season is almost upon us it is important to discuss your skin and how to obtain optimal health & protection.
Layers of the Skin
The skin has three layers: ·The epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone. ·The dermis, beneath the epidermis, contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands. ·The deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) is made of fat and connective tissue.
The Purpose of Skin
- It keeps the insides IN & the outside OUT – provides a BARRIER
- Protects us – The skin functions as our first line of defence against toxins, radiation and harmful pollutants. The skin contains cells that provide immune functions to protect against infections. Our skin has the ability to identify and destroy foreign substances that may potentially be harmful to the body.
- Absorption – Thousands of pores on the surface of the skin can absorb vitamins, acids, water and oxygen in order to provide moisture and nourishment to our skin.
- Excretion – The skin is the body’s largest waste removal system. Toxins are released through the sweat glands and pores.
- Secretion – The skin secretes sebum, a mixture of oils that keeps the skin soft and supple. The layer of sebum on the outermost layer of the skin is known as the acid mantle. When intact the acid mantle has a PH that ranges from 4.5-5.5. The acid mantle is acidic in nature to protect the skin from outside invasion.
- Regulation – The skin regulates the body’s temperature by sweating; when water from sweat on the skin evaporates it gives off heat and cools the body. The body’s temperature increases or by shivering or getting goosebumps when the body is cold. The contraction of muscles releases energy that warms the body.
- Sensation – The skin contains millions of nerve endings that transport stimuli. These nerve endings allow humans to detect sensation such as heat, cold, pain and pressure.
Melanin: The pigment that gives human skin, hair, and eyes their colour. Dark-skinned people have more melanin in their skin than light-skinned people have. Melanin is produced by cells called melanocytes.
Everyone has about the same number of cells that make melanin, but not everybody makes the same amount of melanin. The more melanin your skin makes the darker your skin. How much melanin your body makes depends on your genes, which you get from your parents. Melanin is why you get a tan or burn.
Darkly pigmented people living in high sunlight environments are at an advantage due to the high amounts of melanin produced in their skin. The dark pigmentation protects from DNA damage and absorbs the right amounts of UV radiation needed by the body, as well as protects against folate depletion.
Sunlight & Melanin
Sunlight modifies melanin
Have you ever wondered why your skin colour changes when exposed to sunlight? Well, it turns out that this important pigment reacts to the exposure of ultraviolet light, so when receiving solar radiation absorbs UV rays to minimize damage to the skin, which modifies its original colour and makes it much more intense and dark
The Process has a positive aspect in that it protects the skin and the body in general from suffering deep burns, although its prolonged exposure to the sun can cause an adverse reaction in the cells, turning them into carcinogens.
The lack of melanin and its consequences
When we have little melanin in the body the consequences are visible, a lack of extreme melanin occurs in the form of albinism, however, a considerable deficiency of it can also manifest as vitiligo, a condition that can reduce the existing pigment in certain areas of the body.
In addition, a lack of considerable melanin in the epidermis can cause the early appearance of grey hair, while its excess can trigger the appearance of age spots.
It feels good to lounge in the sunshine, but it can hurt your health in the long run. Over the years, too much time outdoors can put you at risk for wrinkles, age spots, scaly patches called actinic keratosis, and skin cancer.
A tan may look nice, but that golden colour is due to an injury to the top layer of your skin.
When you soak up the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, it speeds up the ageing of your skin and raises your risk of skin cancer.
Sunburn (First-Degree Burns) There’s no guesswork about whether you’ve got a sunburn. Your skin turns red, it feels hot to the touch, and you may have some mild pain. uIt’s called a first-degree burn when it affects only the outer layer of your skin. To get some relief from pain, try a cold compress, or apply some moisturizing cream or aloe. Sunburn (Second Degree) A second-degree sunburn damages deep layers of your skin and nerve endings. It’s usually more painful and takes longer to heal. You may have redness and swelling. If blisters form, don’t break them. They might get infected.
Stay tuned as next week we will discuss the ageing effects of sun exposure.