Why is healthy skin important?

Understanding the skin and its structure is a good way to learn about the skin’s functions. The more you become interested in looking after your skin and understanding what products do, the more it helps to have a basic grasp of the skin’s structure. 

In our quest to have glowing skin we can forget about the role skin plays in our overall health. Ultimately skin care goes beyond how our skin looks, it is part of looking after ourselves. Our skin is more than just a surface; it is an amazing organ and it deserves to be looked after every day.

Skin cells shed daily and it is important to have a good daily routine, for skin health and as a moment of self-care.

“Having healthy skin is a lifelong process.”

Good choices made early are key for the long term. Preventing potential skin problems early is easier than trying to fix skin issues in the future. Understanding what skin is, can help us understand how our products, lifestyle and routines impact the skin.

Why is skin important?

Skin is an organ and its primary function is protection. Yet when we think of major bodily organs, skin is rarely on the list. It is our most visible organ and we often take it for granted. The condition of our skin can tell a lot about us.  

The colour, the evenness of tone, the smoothness, whether it's shiny or dull can all provide clues about our overall health and wellbeing. 

Skin condition can also be a source of anxiety and stress. When we feel our skin does not look or feel how we want,  it can impact our self-esteem and confidence. Acne, blemishes, age spots, wrinkles are just some of the examples of things people may have felt uncomfortable about. 

“How we feel about our skin can go to the very core of how we feel about ourselves.”

The rise of filters and image editing apps has increased the idea of impossibly flawless skin, fuelling a rise in dissatisfaction with how our skin looks in reality. Skin is important not just because of how it makes us look and feel. Skin is important because it is a vital protector of our overall health.  

What does our skin do? 

Our skin has a number of different functions:

  • Prevents water loss
  • Prevents entry of bacteria
  • Regulates temperature
  • Stores water + fat
  • Is a sensory organ
  • Helps to make vitamin D
  • Acts as a protective shield against heat, light, injury and infection

What is Skin?

It was once thought that the skin was an impermeable barrier but we now know that the skin is complex and made of distinct layers made up of a variety of cells. 

Without getting too science-y, here is a topline breakdown of your skin’s layers.

Outer layer

The epidermis is the thin outer layer of the skin. It’s the only layer of skin that we see, which is why we want to keep it in optimal condition. It consists of different types of cells and further sub-layers. 

Middle layer

The dermis is the middle layer of the skin. This is the layer responsible for wrinkles and where we find collagen and elastin (two proteins necessary for skin health).  

    The dermis is held together by collagen. This layer gives skin flexibility and strength. The dermis also contains pain and touch receptors.

    Deepest layer

    The subcutaneous fat layer is the deepest layer of skin and it is the reduction of tissue in this layer that causes our skin to sag as well as wrinkle. This layer consists of a network of collagen and fat cells. It helps conserve the body's heat and protects the body from injury by acting as a shock absorber.

    What is the skin barrier? 

    Many people are having issues with their skin and lots of the causes can link back to having a damaged skin barrier. The skin barrier is another term for the outermost layer of our skin.

    “The outermost layer of our skin is like a brick wall”

    The best way to think about the skin is as a wall that protects us. It consists of tough skin cells that are bound together by mortar-like ceramides (lipids) that cement the skin cells together to strengthen skin. This is wall is our skin barrier. Apart from being the most visible layer of our skin, this brick wall is hugely important in keeping us alive. 

    Our skin barrier is the front line of our skin, defending against damaging pollution, UV light, infection and irritants, and locking in hydration. Whether that is through cleansing the skin, adding hydration or locking in moisture we are nourishing our skin barrier for strength and health.

    “Our skin barrier is essential for good health” 

    Without our skin, all sorts of harmful environmental toxins and pathogens could penetrate our skin and attack our body. 

    How is the skin barrier damaged? 

    Every day our skin faces a number of threats, which come from outside our body and a few that come from within. The skin barrier defends the body against environmental threats, while simultaneously protecting our body’s water balance. The main aim with skin care is to help our skin barrier to be strong. 

    “Quite often the things we do to try and help improve our skin can cause the greatest damage”

    There are lots of skin care products available on the market and every month there are even more product launches and exciting hero ingredients to try. However, all of this can get very confusing for our skin especially if we are experimenting with lots of different things at once. We may not always understand how harsh an ingredient is on our skin until we experience sensitivity or irritation.  

    Over-cleansing and over-using a product that strips away moisture are examples of things that can start breaking down the ceramides and lipids that help hold skin cells together. Instead of strengthening our skin, we are actually damaging it. 

    The use of exfoliating acids is also an area that has grown in recent years. While they give fantastic results in moderation, it is easy to overuse products or use products that are too strong for our skin, which can lead to red, raw and flaking skin. 

    “Finding the balance between our skin type, skin sensitivity and skin routine is key”

    As well as overuse of products, some of the external and internal factors that can impact our skin barrier include:

    • environments that are too humid or dry
    • allergens, irritants, and pollutants
    • sun exposure
    • detergents and soaps
    • exposure to harsh synthetic chemicals

    Everyday our skin faces a range of challenges and having a skin care routine that is right for your skin can help keep your skin in good condition. 

    A healthy skin barrier means resilient, happy, clear and healthy-looking skin. For many years we tended to view skin care as something that was about preserving beauty and improving aesthetics, however more and more we are realising that skin care is about health and selfcare.

    Skin care is more than about how we look, it is about using products in a way that helps our skin be strong and that may mean using fewer products, which isn’t always what the beauty industry will want you to hear.  

    “The feeling of healthy skin is a great confidence boost”

    Skincare as self-care After a long or stressful day, self-care in the form of a skincare routine is a good way to relax or unwind. A skincare routine can benefit our stress levels and our skin.

    Using a nourishing face mask, or taking the time for ourselves to use our skin products, can help us to reduce our stress levels and it can have lots of benefits to our skin.

    Minimal ingredient skincare is not for everyone, some beauty fans will not be interested in a “less is more” approach. However, we have always wanted to offer people the power of choice and believe minimal ingredient skincare is a great way to build healthy, happy skin.

    January 14, 2022 — Five Dot