Basic Skin Care
Skin is the largest organ of the body. It is made up of the outer epidermis & inner dermis. The epidermis has a number of layers of cells called keratinocytes & pigment cells called melanocytes. The dermis contains blood vessels, sebaceous or oil glands, sweat glands, nerves; all of which are bound together by elastin & collagen fibres. The skin protects the underlying structures from outer environmental pollutants by forming a barrier layer. It helps us perceive stimuli such as touch, heat, cold, pain. It regulates temperature & also helps in the metabolism of vitamin D. Factors like pollution, sun rays, stress, irregular food habits, inadequate sleep etc contribute to skin damage & premature aging of skin. Thus, it is necessary to take basic minimal care of one's skin.
Basic skin care does not involve use of expensive cosmetics & toiletries. One has to follow a very simple regime for skin care.
- Diet: A well-balanced, regular diet along with adequate amount of water is all that you need. One must avoid the so-called junk food, too much of starvation in the form of dieting & eating at odd irregular hours.
- Exercise: About 30 minutes of aerobics, walking, jogging or cycling at least five times a week is essential for a healthy skin.
- Sun Protection: UVA & UVB rays could be harsh on the skin & cause photo damage in the form of increased pigmentation, freckles, premature aging & even skin cancers. Those with normal to dry skin can use a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. People with oily skin should use an umbrella or a wide brimmed hat for sun protection.
- Local skin care: The surface of the skin contains oil, dead cells, sweat, grime, dirt, grease & pollutants. If this is not removed, the skin looks dull & flaky. Cleansing is an important part of skin care & can be done with simple soaps or cleansers. The skin should be washed at least twice a day with soap & warm water. Deodorant soaps with antiseptic agents are good for oily skin. Super fatted soaps or glycerin-based soaps are good for dry & normal skin. For the skin to look healthy & glowing, its uppermost layer called stratum corneum should contain more than 10% of the total water content of the body. Thus, comes the role of a moisturizer. People with dry to normal skin should use a moisturizer twice a day after cleansing. Those with oily skin should be careful & use an oil free moisturizer only once a day.
Lastly, be gentle on your skin. Do not use harsh cosmetics. If you have a skin problem, seek professional advice from your Dermatologist.