16 Aug Healthy Skin: It’s About More Than Just How You Look
Imagine your busiest day. You wake up to the sound of your alarm and a dark sky. You muster up enough energy to brew your morning coffee or tea and hastily get ready. You get dressed, brush your teeth, throw on your makeup, and style your hair. You’re out the door, and don’t return home until it’s nearly sundown. When you finally drag yourself to your bed, you quickly realize you forgot to take off your makeup and wash your face. Oh well, you think, it’s no big deal.
Or is it?
This scenario is all too familiar for many of us . We live demanding lives and it’s easy to put skincare on the back burner. But how important is proper skincare? Is it really that important to wash your face every morning and night?
The simple answer is YES. Skin plays a vital role in your health.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and your first line of defense against allergens, bacteria, toxins, pollutants, antigens, and UV radiation as described by Deborah Burnes, CEO and Founder of sumbody and author of ‘Look Great, Live Green’. This is a part of the body’s integumentary system. According to American Association for the Advancement of Science, the integumentary system consists of skin, hair, nails, glands, and nerves. This system not only protects your body from harmful toxins, but it is also responsible for regulating body temperature and retaining bodily fluids.
Additionally, and maybe more importantly, your skin is responsible for removing waste and toxins from your body. The skin is part of four organs that make up the excretory system. Your lungs, large intestine, kidneys, and skin are in charge of eliminating waste by passing it as a gas (carbon dioxide), solid, or liquid (sweat and urine). When your body is unable to remove this waste, it can build up and make you very sick.
Healthy skin goes beyond our modern beauty standards and plays an important role in our overall health.
So how do you take care of the largest organ in your body? Use these 5 tips to rejuvenate your skin and make it healthier than ever.
- Adopt a skincare routine by using products right for your skin
Don’t go out and purchase expensive skin care products just yet! It’s important to recognize your skin needs before committing to a product and skincare routine. First, understand your skin type. Do you have normal, dry, oily, combination, or sensitive skin? If you’re not sure, take a look at this guide by bioClarity, a company focused on skincare, health, and wellness. Once you know your skin type, you can focus on finding the right products for your needs. Skin cleansing, toning, exfoliating, and moisturizing are just one aspect of taking care of your skin.
- Protect yourself from the sun
One very important facet of healthy skin is sun protection. The Mayo Clinic states, “a lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, age spots and other skin problems- as well as increase the risk of skin cancer.” You can protect your skin from the sun by using sunscreen, seeking shade, and wearing protective clothing.
- Quit smoking, or don’t start
Smoking is known for causing many types of cancer, most notably lung cancer; however, it also depletes your skin of oxygen and nutrients. Robyn Gmyrek, a dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology in New York City, says the lack of oxygen and nutrients absorbed due to tobacco smoke can “cause collagen and elastin destruction.” Without them, collagen and elastin your skin will begin to sag and discolor.
- Eat a healthy diet
It’s actually a myth that greasy foods cause acne; however, unhealthy skin can be a symptom of a poor diet or malnutrition. Ellen Marmur MD, a professor of dermatology at Mt. Sinai Hospital, says nutrition is only “25% of the picture.” Nutrition plays a role in keratinization, the turnover of skin cells. When this process is disrupted, we have acne breakouts.
- Manage your stress
While diet only makes up 25 percent of the skin care picture, stress, sleep, and hormone levels make up the other 75 percent. According to WebMD, stress causes a chemical reaction in your body that makes your skin more sensitive and reactive. Higher stress levels raise your cortisol levels, your body’s stress hormone. Unregulated, high cortisol levels tell your skin to make more oil, and thus result in unwanted blemishes and breakouts. Stress can also aggravate skin conditions like psoriasis, rosacea, and eczema.
Don’t skimp on skin health. We need to take care of our skin like every other part of our body. We exercise for heart health, brush our teeth for oral health, and we should adopt a skincare routine for skin health. Next time you’re tempted to go to sleep without washing your face, remember the important role skin plays in your health.