Body Cosmetics – Is beauty only skin deep?
The skin is the largest human organ. Skin forms part of the integumentary system of the body, consisting of hair, skin, nails and sweat and oil glands . Its major task is to serve as a barrier to the outside world and to protect the body from influences from the environment. Another important function of the skin is body temperature regulation. The skin is closely connected with the psyche. It receives touch stimuli through the sense organ and reacts on pressure and temperature.
The skin has three layers and consists of different cell types:
- The outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, is only about 20 cells deep, roughly as thick as a sheet of paper. It is composed of skin cells called keratinocytes. The top part of the epidermis, called the stratum corneum, or horny layer, is composed of dead keratinocytes that are constantly shed. The living keratinocytes underneath are referred to as squamous cells. The lowest part of the epidermis consists of basal cells. These are constantly reproducing to from new keratinocytes.
- Below this layer lies the dermis, ranging in thickness from one to four millimeters (about 1/32 to 1/8 inch). The dermis contains tiny blood and lymph vessels, which increase in number deeper in the skin.
- Cells called melanocytes are found in the transitional layer between the epidermis and dermis. These skin cells produce a brown-black skin pigment called melanin, which helps to protect against the damaging rays of the sun and to determine skin coloring. As a person ages, melanocytes often proliferate, forming concentrated clusters that appear on the surface as small, dark, flat or dome-shaped spots, which are usually harmless moles or liver spots.
Like all the bodys tissues, the skin undergoes many changes in the course of the normal aging process:
- The cells divide more slowly, and the inner layer of skin (the dermis) starts to thin. Fat cells beneath the dermis begin to atrophy (diminish). In addition, the ability of the skin to repair itself diminishes with age, so wounds are slower to heal. The thinning skin becomes vulnerable to injuries and damage.
- The underlying network of elastin and collagen fibers, which provides scaffolding for the surface skin layers, loosens and unravels. Skin then loses its elasticity. When pressed, it no longer springs back to its initial position but instead sags and forms furrows.
- The sweat- and oil-secreting glands atrophy, depriving the skin of their protective water-lipid emulsions. The skin’s ability to retain moisture then diminishes and it becomes dry and scaly.
- The skin is also more fragile and may bruise or tear easily.
Various blemishes and precancerous and cancerous lesions may appear that are not only unsightly, but potentially serious.
Among its many functions, the skin always protects the body from external agents. These external factors may be bacteria, chemicals, and temperature. The skin contains secretions that can kill bacteria and the pigment melanin provides a chemical pigment defense against ultraviolet light that can damage skin cells. Many people have abused this incredible organ by the overexposure to ultraviolet light, sunlight, cigarette smoking and the use of harsh chemical ingredients that are listed on the labels of cosmetic bottles. These are just a few of a long list of many. These applications and processes cause cell damage; that leads to premature aging of the skin (photoaging). Incredible as it may seem many pharmaceutical companies are re-inventing new products to “undo” the “skin anti-aging process”.
The best defense is:
- accept aging as a normal process
- minimize your exposure to ultraviolet rays
- quit smoking
- hydrate your skin – drink plenty of water
- eat nutritional and well balanced meals – you are what you eat
- minimize your exposure to sunlight – use sunscreen
- read the labels on cosmetic and beauty products
– if you cannot pronounce it, don’t use it!
- Select products that contain natural ingredients, or make your own.Using personal care products which contain essential oils and other natural substances as the principal active ingredients, can be appealing to not only the nose, but the visual eye as well.
- De-Stress, Meditate, Laugh
“Beauty is only skin deep”- Unfortunately this is not true. Beauty and physical attraction are Nature’s way of letting others know about how healthy and vital we are.
Visit our Health Books, audio and video department for information on methods, techniques and products that will help you to work with Mother Nature herself.
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