All of us wish for a healthy, flawless looking skin, irrespective of one’s gender. We are all born with it actually, but as the years go by, factors liake genes, environmental pollutants, lack of taking care, age, lifestyle choices, stress etc., makes us prone to developing skin problems.
How can one determine if they have a healthy skin or not?
Healthy Skin Will Have An Even Skin Tone
It is not the color of skin that one needs to lay emphasize on, but the consistency of skin color throughout, which is a key element of determining if the skin is healthy or not. Having an uneven skin tone can mean that there is an imbalance occurring within the body, or external factors like extensive sun exposure having some role-play in causing the overproduction of melanin in only certain skin areas, leading to this uneven look.
Healthy Skin Will Feel Smooth To Touch
Skin that appears and feels smooth to one’s touch is also another sign of a healthy skin. This will not mean that the skin should have a sheen or glossy effect to it, for such effects are possible only with the help of cosmetics. Slight irregularities on the top surface of the skin will be observed on close inspection, because the skin is porous, but the irregularities will not be felt when touched.
Skin cells die and shed after a certain period, only to be replaced by new ones. In a healthy skin, the dead cells are sloughed away naturally, with fresh new skin cells present on the surface always. An uneven skin texture is felt when this cycle of cell production and shedding gets disrupted, when there is lack of moisture, or when there is accumulation of excess dead cells on the skin’s surface that fail to get thrown away naturally.
Common Skin Problems
With skin being the outermost organ in us humans, it is exposed to several pollutants that could trigger hundreds of abnormalities in it. Also, various internal factors could contribute to the development of varied skin problems. Some of the common skin issues people come across are –
Acne – This is more of a teenager’s problem, since this is more because of hormonal imbalances occurring at this stage of one’s development. Such hormonal changes occurring in the body can trigger the excess production of skin oils that clog the pores, along with dead skin cells and microorganisms normally found on the surface of skin. As a result, pimple-like projections will be evident, which could be mild (small pimples, blackheads, whiteheads) or severe (large cysts, pustules or numerous papules).
Eczema – Reddened, itchy, scaling skin rashes appearing on the elbows, hands, and anywhere else where there are skin folds is what eczema is. The areas affected will feel dry and appear flaky. It is not a contagious problem, and can have various causative factors to it.
Moles – Melanocytes, more in number, concentrated in one small skin area results in mole formation. These can appear anywhere on the body and can be of various shades of brown or black. This is not an actual skin issue, but a cosmetic problem. Large sized skin moles can be disfiguring.
Keratosis Pilaris – Small, very small skin bumps, arising plenty in number from too much of keratin production, giving the skin a sandpaper effect when touched, is called keratosis pilaris. This is a very common skin problem, referred to as ‘chicken skin’ in layman’s terms.
Psoriasis – This is a problem arising when there is a disturbance in the skin turnover cycle. People with this condition will be producing new skin cells at a much rapid rate. With the old skin cells still having time to shrivel and shed, and new cells getting produced fast, the cells eventually get accumulated and present as patches on the skin surface, which then begin to scale.
Rosacea – ‘Angry’ looking skin, with the tendency to blush easily due to blood vessels being easily perceived on skin is what rosacea is. The forehead, nose, cheeks, chin – basically the center of the face – will look red permanently in these individuals.
Skin Tags – Tiny bumps of skin tissue that hangs out from the skin’s surface on a stalk, is what a skin tag will look like. They are harmless and arise on areas where skin rubs against each other, like the skin folds of the neck, armpits, etc.
Warts – When a certain type of a virus infects the top layer of human skin, it can result in small, benign skin protrusions known as warts. This is a contagious skin problem, requiring immediate attention.
The skin is the largest organ present on the human body, but it is only a couple of millimeters thick. It has a lot of different functions, with the main being to protect the internal organs from external factors – like microorganisms, weather conditions, and toxic substances. It also has some role play in certain metabolic activities that happens within the body, and is also essential for making vitamin D, an important element required for bone health maintenance.
Apart from this, skin allows regulation of body temperature by way of sweating during hot climatic conditions, or after intensive physical activity. As the sweat evaporates, the body begins to cool down. Through sweating, internal toxic substances get excreted out, thus detoxification happens, which is important for maintenance of good health. Hence, if one wishes to enjoy good health, it will be extremely important for them to maintain a healthy skin.
How to Get Healthy Skin
Skin care in one’s younger days is easily done – just washing the face with a natural soap bar and applying a nice of layer of moisturizer will make the skin glow, look and feel healthy. It is as and when one begins to grow older, the drill of cleansing, toning, applying a face-pack, and moisturizing the skin will not be sufficient enough to make the skin look and feel great. Much more effort will be needed to put in to get the skin looking healthy.
Every individual’s skin is different, and skin changes can occur through the years. These changes could be due to external factors, or due to internal factors, which is usually the case when one starts to grow old. As one ages, the skin will lose its ability to retain moisture for long. External assistance can be provided by applying a good moisturizer soon after bathing to keep the water locked in. Internally, drinking plenty of water, meeting the body’s daily water requirement will assist the skin in regulating its own moisture balance.
Following a healthy diet, eating wholesome, unprocessed organic foods will help in optimizing skin health. Eating a lot of fruits and vegetables that are in season and organically grown will assist the body in getting rid of free radicals from within our bodies, elements which are thought to be responsible for causing skin damage and age-related skin issues.
Managing stress will also play a key role in skin health maintenance. Increase in stress levels will have a negative impact on one’s skin. Stress can throw the hormones off balance within, can disrupt the bacterial balance inside the gut, and trigger unwanted skin eruptions, like pimples, acne, or pigmentation problems.
Following a regular exercise routine, to increase the circulation of oxygen and nutrients inside the body system, and to get rid of toxins from within also is essential for keeping the skin healthy and clear.
Wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen agents while being outdoors for long, is also necessary to prevent damaging the skin from exposure to the harmful rays of the sun. At the same time, totally avoiding being out in the sun will not be beneficial for the maintenance of skin health, for the sole reason that sun exposure is required for the production of vitamin D by the skin.
While following a skin care routine for maintaining healthy skin, the use of natural products is recommended. Ingredients sourced from nature are not only safe, but as effective as mainstream skin care products. For thousands of years, parts of certain fruits and vegetables have been used to keep the skin healthy and free it from any of the common abnormalities it could develop during a person’s lifetime. Most of the ingredients used, their varied combinations, and their exact proportions are knowledge passed down through generations.
Exfoliating the skin twice a week is also essential to get rid of the dead skin cells from its outermost surface. This is something that the skin does naturally, but this ability begins to slowly dwindle as the skin ages. The ingredients required for making natural skin scrubs may already be present in one’s kitchen, just find them, blend them and use it when desired.
For skin cleansing, use of warm water is suggested. Use of hot water regularly for bathing purpose can cause the skin to dry out.
Sleepless nights will result in dull, tired looking skin, along with dark circles or bags under the eyes. A good uninterrupted seven to eight hours of sleep will promote skin health.
At the end of the day, one will have to do what is best for their skin type, with more efforts required to be put in for maintaining problematic skin types.