Although we think of skin mostly through a cosmetic lens, the reality is that our skin is a vital organ which plays many critical functions for our overall health. When I counsel my patients on taking care of their skin, it’s not just about how it looks. Advances in Dermatology have shown that our skin serves an essential role in communicating between our body and the environment around us. Understanding the skin and its roles will help you understand why and how we need to care for it:
- Protection. The first role our skin plays is protecting our body from the environment. Think allergens, infectious agents such as bacteria, yeast, fungi, viruses, and pollutants.
- Sensory organ. There are sensory receptors located in varying concentrations throughout our skin. These allow us to feel a pin prick, vibration, or pressure. Our skin is in communication with our nervous system to convey these vital sensory messages.
- Climate control. By controlling the local flow of blood to the skin by constricting or dilating blood vessels, the skin can help our bodies to regulate its heat balance. If it is a little too hot, it has the ability to produce sweat to cool the skin further.
- Production. Our skin is busy producing Vitamin D for our body by its interaction with UV. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut, supports bone health and helps prevent hypocalcemic tetany (involuntary contraction of muscles, leading to cramps and spasms). This essential vitamin can also be supplemented, especially in the winter time, with the Drink Additive with Vitamin C & D and Hemp, Immunity that combines Vitamin C and D.
- Immune system. I often explain to my patients that our skin acts as though it has its own immune system that interacts with our internal immune system, but it also has a role of its own. By interacting with pathogens and allergens, it can play a role as our first line of defense.
- Excretion. Our skin can help get rid of wastes and toxins in the body, contributing to achieving a healthy glow and overall wellness.
- Fluid Balance. The act of sweating plays an important role in reducing our water load and regulating our body temperature.
In my new blog series, we will focus on learning about the actual building blocks of the skin, how to protect it from “the inside out” and care for it with simple rituals.
Please make sure to consult a physician every year for a preventive check-up or if you have any medical concerns.