The human body is an amazing collection of systems working together to keep you healthy. The largest and most prominent organ is your skin. It's easy to take for granted the hard work our skin does on a daily basis to keep our bodies functioning properly. While we often worry about cosmetic features like wrinkles and blemishes, the skin plays a much more vital role than keeping up our appearance. Just like we take care of other organs like our heart and lungs—the skin deserves the same attention. Often the health of our skin is a clue to underlying conditions. It's essential to get in the daily habit of treating our skin with care.
As you're reading this article, your skin is busy shedding dead cells—around 40,000 every minute! Every 28 days the skin completely renews itself. Here are some other interesting facts about your skin:
- The skin of an average adult weighs 9 lbs and has over 11 miles of blood vessels.
- The average person has approximately 300 million skin cells and 300 sweat glands.
- Over 1,000 species of bacteria call your skin home. It may seem counter-intuitive, but these bacteria help keep your skin healthy.
- Your skin has 5 different types of receptors that translate pain and touch sensations.
- Dead skin cells make up about a billion tons of dust in the Earth's atmosphere.
Skin Care Strategy
Just like brushing your teeth every day, your skin needs daily care.
Start with these basic steps:
- Clean and moisturize: Wash your face in the morning and before bedtime. Choose a cleanser that's best for your skin type – dry, normal, or oily. After cleansing, apply a moisturizer. Moisturizing helps hydrate and protect your skin.
- Apply sunscreen: Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can cause mild to serious damage to your skin. Unprotected skin can wrinkle, develop age spots, and even become cancerous. Most skin cancers are linked with unprotected exposure to the sun. Apply a sunscreen every day that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Remember, even in cold weather, your skin can be damaged by the sun. Adding extra protection like a hat or long sleeve clothing can also help protect your skin.
- Hydrate: Water is beneficial to every organ in your body, including your skin! Set a goal to drink at least one glass of water with every meal, and substitute water in place of other beverages as often as possible.
- Self-Check: Make a habit of checking your skin for any changes such as new moles, dark patches, or wounds. These could be indicators of a serious problem. Always consult your doctor if you notice a change in your skin.
Beyond your daily skin care strategy, it's important to be aware of other situations that can harm your skin. Remember to protect your skin when using cleaning agents. Avoid areas where you are exposed to harmful chemicals like second-hand smoke or pollutants like smog.