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Skin – Carrier or Barrier?

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It’s hard to believe that our body’s largest organ, the skin, can be so strong yet so soft. Designed to protect against harmful external bacteria and UV radiation, it’s enough of a barrier to keep in fluids (except for the sweat glands controlling the release of perspiration), yet our skin is still enough of a carrier to wrinkle after being immersed in water, making it one hell of a fascinatingly complicated system.

Let’s take a look at it, layer by layer:

The Epidermis

The skin consists of multiple layers, of which the outermost layer, the stratum corneum’s main purpose is defense. This layer consists predominantly of dead skin cells (mostly keratin). These act as a barrier, mostly against the bacteria world, and as the dead skin cells exfoliate, the lower layers replenish the surface with more keratin.

The Middle Dermis

The next layers, known as the stratum lucidum and stratum granulosum, are thicker, and the latter is responsible for keratin production. These layers also contain tough connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands.

The Hypodermis

Mainly made of fat and connective tissue, this is where new cells are produced and pushed upwards, replacing the dead skin cells in the outermost layer as they exfoliate.

Skin is the doorway to our bodies, and as our largest organ, it is vital we take good care of it. Good nutrition, keeping hydrated and slapping on the sun tan lotion all contribute to keeping our skin healthy. It is also important to be selective when choosing what skin care products we use in order to alleviate skin ailments, and ensure certain ingredients are entering the body via this unique delivery system.

FACT: Collectively, the skin of an average adult would cover approximately 22 square meters if spread out!

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