The Importance of Skin

The first thought when someone mentions skin care is about beauty and a good appearance. Certainly, that is what motivates much of the billions of dollars in annual purchases of skin care products. That, however, is only a surface understanding of how important skin is to our bodies.

The more we understand about skin and how it works, the more amazing it becomes. As the body's largest and most versatile organ, skin fills many purposes to keep our bodies healthy and functioning properly.

Skin Is the Multipurpose Organ

Skin has up of three layers, each of which is entirely different in structure and functioning. We can survive in a range of environments because of the flexibility and protection of the skin.

We seldom stop to think about how amazing skin is in the way it provides so much to our existence. The skin provides the following functions:

• Protection
Skin provides a barrier between our body and the environment. It protects the internal organs against toxins and debris. Specialized cells, called Langerhans cells, serve as tiny sentinels, ready to alert the body's immune system to the presence of dangerous bacteria and viruses. This is a key part of the body's immune system.

• Sensation
The middle layer of skin, the dermis, contains millions of nerve endings. These nerves connect to the central nerve system and continually transmit signals related to touch and sensation to the brain. There, the brain interprets these signals and tells us whether we are hot or cold, the texture of materials and provide sensations such as the wind blowing over our skin. These nerves serve as a direct link to the outside world and even allow our skin to "see" in the dark.

• Storage
Lipids are the cells that store fat in the body. The third layer of skin, the subcutis, consists primarily of lipids. This layer of fat provides a reserve of fuel for the body. It also serves as a shock absorber for blows and rough contact with objects. Retention of moisture and storage of liquids occur in all three layers.

• Regulation of body temperature
A stunningly complex system of sweat glands, hair follicles and blood vessels give the body the ability to regulate its internal temperature. By constricting or expanding blood vessels, blood flow increases or decreases for cooling or heating the body. The sweat glands secrete moisture onto the surface of the skin and into hair follicles. The hairs serve as wicks to evaporate the moisture.

• Absorption
The cells of the epidermis absorb nitrogen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen into this layer constantly. These cells receive their oxygen supply in this way. (Environmental factors like smoking damage the skin by this diffusion.) A continual process of trapping and storing moisture provides lubrication and flexibility for the skin.

• Moisture control and barrier
The semi-impermeable barrier protects internal organs and protects from evaporation and moisture loss.

When we understand the role of moisture in these functions, the importance of skin care for sensitive skin is easier to grasp. The Simple skin care brand focuses on moisturizing for this reason.

The skin does a good job caring for itself. The more we help with moisture, the better job it can do.

Why Healthy Skin Is Important to More Than Appearance