Unless you walk around everywhere wearing a spacesuit or full-on forensic cleaning clobber, your skin is usually the first physical feature that gets noticed. That, and your hair. Taking care of your skin is often overlooked – even by some models. We are sometimes just satisfied with regular baths or showers, with no thought to what our skin might look like years down the line. There’s far more to our skin than meets the eye.
Skin is an organ, which means that it’s a collection of tissues forming specific functions. It’s a living, breathing, vital component to any healthy human. It also happens to be the largest human organ, which is reason alone to take extra care of it. Skin has many levels and components, including sweat pores, epidermis (outer layer), dermis, hypodermis, nerve fibres, lymph vessels, subcutaneous tissue, hairs, muscles and capillaries – and all sorts of microscopic wonders which are constantly being researched.
The skin’s main functions include:
As a protective barrier. Obvious, really, but so important. Skin protects against germs and bacteria, as well as from natural elements such as the sun and rain. Not surprisingly, it also keeps our internal organs in one place.
Provides skin colour, courtesy of melanin, which is a natural pigment. A greater amount of melanin in the skin usually means that individuals have darker skin and are liable to tan more quickly under sunrays.
Makes new skin. Now, here’s a thought – we’re a bit like snakes in that we shed our skin. We don’t notice it, but we shed an average of 0.06 g of skin every hour. That’s nothing, isn’t it? Oh yes it is. Over the course of a human lifetime, that’s about 35kg in total (approximately half an adult’s bodyweight). Tiny flakes are the main part of all this shedding, which finds its way in our households as something we’re all too familiar with – dust. Thank God for Mr. Sheen!
With many of us opting to use filters and other image-modifying appliances, we value what people think of us. It doesn’t have to be vanity; many of us just like to look the best we can. However, consistently looking after our skin means we can ditch the filters and bask in our own natural radiance. So what are the best ways to keep our precious skin in tip-top condition?
Here they are!
1. Ditch the indoor tanning. Tanning isn’t good for you. UV rays contribute to skin aging, so even though you may look and feel better now, in a few years it’s likely to be the complete opposite.
2. Simple sun protection. Sun is a pleasant addition to our lives, but is only healthy in small doses. Go easy! Always seek shade when necessary, and don’t be afraid to cover up. Wear sunglasses, hats and even gloves if you feel the need to. Wear a decent suncream when out and about in sunny weather – SPF 30 or higher, and don’t skimp on it. This applies to anyone of any age. Check out our suncream tips here.
3. Moisturize. This can be a daily routine. The older we get, the drier our skin becomes. Essentially, moisturizers traps water in our skin, giving the epidermis a good dose of rejuvenation. A lot of older people rave about products rich in glycolic acid, which helps shed dead skin cells, although hardly anyone is immune to the odd wrinkle, crease or fine line – sorry! That doesn’t mean mature models aren’t in high demand though; they’ve always been highly sought-after and continue to be so.
4. Wash but don’t scrub. For everyday cleansing, try tea tree oil-based lotions, but massage gently. Rinse well. Use warm (not hot) water.
5. The basic beauty processes. Try to give up smoking, as tobacco smoke contains numerous toxins that aren’t pleasant on the skin – or internally, for that matter. Eat plenty of fresh foods (why limit yourself to the much-touted “five-a-day”? Try to go for a daily intake of seven!). Drink clean, fresh water and get your beauty sleep.
Beauty isn’t just skin deep…it is internal and mental, too. But caring for your skin is a “no brainer” that can only help in the long run – at whatever age.