The skin is a body’s largest organ. Even though the skin can appear hairless, it is covered almost everywhere with hair follicles. Its multiple layers protect muscles, bones, ligaments, and internal organs. It is a barrier against invading bacteria, yet can absorb medicines such as birth control or nicotine. It allows sweating as a temperature regulator. It offers protection from UV radiation by activating melanocytes which create a tan. When an outside source causes imbalance, it warns the host with an allergic rash and makes efforts to repair itself with a scar. It is so sensitive that even a tiny foreign object can be felt.
Skin can be oily or dry. Oily skin is identifiable by shininess, blemishes and pimples. Most areas of the face will tend towards roughness and visible pores; a good thing because oily skin tends to wrinkle less with the aging process. Oil (sebum) is the body’s natural lubricant. Harsh cleansing will remove sebum and dehydrate the skin. Consistent but gentle exfoliation to keep a buildup of dead cells from blocking pores that will often lead to blackheads and pimples.
As we age, the skin thins. Cells repair slower. This is the reason age spots (photo aging) and skin cancers are noticeable later in life. The internal changes caused by aging will change the texture of skin in both volume and elasticity. Stress, smoking and sun exposure speeds this process. Eating whole foods that contain vitamins A, C, D and E will help nourish, strengthen and protect the skin from the inside.
Sun protection is essential but first one must decide the level of protection needed. Sunblock has the ability to block UVA/UVB and the sun’s radiation. The product should contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide and will need less reapplication. This is good for periods of long term exposure. In contrast, sunscreen is clearer and will need to be consistently reapplied because its ingredients break down in the sun. Wear sunscreen when exposure is limited such as with daily use.