The skin is the largest human organ and acts as a barrier between our bodies and the external world. Overall the skin averages about 1 millimeter thick but makes up about 16% of our body weight. The epidermis, or the layer of skin exposed to the elements, contains keratins and proteins resistant to environmental toxins, physical stress, UV light, and temperature. Our skin’s surface is home to flora or bacteria that secrete pH-lowering substances creating a chemical barrier on our skin that deters pathogenic microorganisms from penetrating it. Located at the bottom of the epidermis is the basal layer, a single celled layer that includes melanocytes, that give the skin is pigmentation to protect us from UV light, as well as Langerhans cells, that play a role in the immune system. The basal layer is also the primary source for vitamin D synthesis in the body. Vitamin D is a pre-hormone that regulates calcium and phosphate levels in the blood and is a component in communication between white blood cells. Vitamin D is also critical for calcium regulation required for bone health, as well as muscle contraction, nerves, and a host of other functions. The epidermis regeneration starts from the basal layer and from there, cells are pushed to the top gradually over about 30 days. The dermas, located just beneath the epidermis, accommodates the sensors for touch, pressure, heat, and pain and is the home for collagen, elastin, and reticular fibers that provide the skin with strength and elasticity. You can also find sweat, oil glands, and hair follicles here. Under the dermas in the hypodermis are lymph, nerve, vein, artery, and capillary channels. In many areas the capillaries are so tiny only one blood cell can fit through at a time.
The skin is a diverse multi-dimensional organ and must be cared for as such. It is important to note that the skin is a detection center. As an elimination organ wastes are carried to the skin more so when other channels are overloaded or blocked. Any change in the skins appearance or operation is an indication that regular function of the body has been compromised. From the delicate nature of its sensitivity, through to the tough soles of our feet, the skin is a mirror for the hidden internal world that is our body. Its notification of possible underlying problems gives us a visible alert and prompts us to clean up nutritional imbalances and clear up the skin.