We all take our skin for granted. Did you know that it is our body’s largest organ that acts as a waterproof barrier and insulator, as well as a protector of all our internal organs?
As far as most people are concerned, the outward appearance of the skin is the body — it tells us the approximate age of the person and is a major contributor to his/her good looks. However, what most people think is the skin is merely the surface — a tiny network of interlinking cells that are regularly sloughed off and replaced by new ones.
In fact, the skin consists of two layers — the epidermis (or top) and the dermis, which houses blood vessels, sweat and oil glands and hair follicles. The highly efficient replacement of old cells by new on the skin’s surface starts in the dermis, for this is where the skin’s natural moisture is stored as well as collagen and elastic tissue which give young skins that smooth, unlined appearance.
As we get older, this process of renewal slows down. At the same time, the epidermis becomes thinner and the dermis changes so that the skin loses its elasticity and tone. This process can be hastened by exposure to the elements — sun, wind, cold weather — as well as atmospheric pollution. You have only to compare the facial skin of adults with that of their bottoms or inside thighs: the first is beginning to line, the second is still soft and smooth — and the difference is simply due to a daily confrontation with the outside world!
Fortunately there’s a great deal we can do to minimize these effects and, while the ageing process is still one of science’s question marks, people today are in the lucky position of knowing that, if they look after their skin regularly and well (from the inside out), they really will look younger than their years. Of course, needs change with the years, but the basicfor everyone from 18 to 80 is summed up in three words: cleanse, tone, moisturize.