Our skin is not as simple as we think it is.
You know what it does — it protects our bodies from all external forces like sunlight, wind, extreme temperatures… It is, in fact, the largest organ in our bodies (*some 8 pounds (3.6 kilograms) and 22 square feet).
But what you might not know of it what goes on under your skin, and that’s what I’d like to focus on in this blogpost.
1. Our skin is made up of different layers.
First, you have the EPIDERMIS, also known as the “skin barrier”.
This is the topmost layer of the skin, and the one exposed to all the external forces such as pollution, sunlight and — all the products you put on your skin. What’s important to note in the epidermis is that it is made up of building blocks namely keratin and lipid.
To understand this better, you can imagine that your skin is a house and keratin are the bricks and lipids are the cement you used to build it. You have to keep your epidermis very strong — so that external factors that cause breakouts such as bacteria cannot enter.
Next, is the DERMALAYER.
This contains the nerves, fibers, sweat glands, and hair follicles. This is the biggest part of the skin, and also the part where inflammation tends to happen, once dirt and bacteria enter our skin.
Lastly, we have the SUBCUTANEOUS LAYER.
It is made up of fat, connective tissue, and larger vessels. This is the deepest layer of the skin before it gets to our muscles and organs.
2. pH Balance and H20 = Things You Need for your Epidermal Layer to be Strong
Now that you have learned the different layers of your skin, you must now realize that if your epidermis or skin barrier is not as strong as you would like it to be, it’s very easy for dirt, bacteria and harmful chemicals to go inside your skin.
Your next question may be: How do I make sure my skin barrier is strong? The answer is actually quite simple:
First, you need to use products that balance your pH.
If the product you use is too alkaline (most chemical products are), the tendency is, it ruins your skin barrier. That is the very reason why most skins are sensitive. It is because you have absorbed too many chemicals in your skin that your epidermis is too thin.
Second, you need to make sure you have sufficient skin hydration.
We have what we call our natural oils or sebum that help hydrate our skin naturally. It avoids the loss of water and helps defend the skin from UV rays. However, when we use products that ruin our pH and skin barrier, your skin will lose its natural hydration and become either 1) very dry or 2) very oily (because it thinks it needs to produce more oil). This is also the reason why our skin also becomes opposed to aging, dark spots, as well as acne.
3. What You Put ON Your Skin Goes IN
Take a moment to reflect — Have your been feeding your skin well? If we imagine our skin as our stomach, what will we find? If we look deep in our skin, is it full of great ingredients that help our skin function better and well protected? Or is it full of toxic chemicals and preservatives?
I used to suffer from extreme acne when I was in my teens.
One of the reasons why I actually shifted to using organic and natural products is because when I learned about the skin and what caused my acne, I realized that I have been ruining my own skin by using different products with harmful chemicals. I loved trying out different cleansers, toners, moisturizers, and even makeup. I would cake foundation on to hide the acne and in turn — I broke out more and more. It was a vicious cycle.
With that, I urge you to look into your beauty closet and check out the ingredients of the products that you are currently using.
Be careful of Parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Petrolatum (the most evil!), Mineral Oil, Propylene Glycol, Coal Tar Dye, Paraffin, Carbomer and there are thousands more. All of these ingredients are purely toxic and unnecessary to be in your skin products. They are merely put there as a preservative, or to make the product feel good on your skin. If you want to learn more about each of them, check out my blog Beware of These 10 Cosmetic Ingredients
One lesson that I have learned is that — if I truly care about my skin (your largest organ), I need to treat it with enough respect to use products that are beneficial for it.
I hope that this post has been helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to send me a PM or drop them in the comments below.
Disclaimer: I am not a dermatologist nor a medical expert, but as part of my business and research, I have gathered extensive knowledge about the human skin thus what I have shared above.