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The Human Skin

 

Your skin also known as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the human body with an area of approximately 2 metres. The skin is your first line of defence, comprising of three layers:

. The epidermis, being the outermost layer of skin that provides a water proof barrier.

. The dermis, which lies beneath the epidermis, contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.

. The deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) that is made up of fat and connective tissue.

 

 

Skin types and care

There are 5 basic skin types:

Normal, Dry, Oily, Combination, and Sensitive Skin and can change over time. For example, younger people are more likely than older folks to have a normal skin type.

 

 

What’s the difference?

Skin type depends on things such as how much water is in your skin, which affects its comfort. How oily it is, which affects its softness.

 

 

Normal Skin

A fine balance that is not too dry and not too oily. A normal skin has no or few imperfections. No severe sensitivity. Barely visible pores. A strikingly radiant complexion.

 

 

Combination Skin

Your skin can be dry or normal in some areas and oily in others, such as the T-zone (nose, forehead, and chin). It may need slightly different care in different areas. Combination skin can have pores that look larger than normal, because they’re more open. You may need to use a mix of products for the dry and oily areas. For dry skin, you would need more emollient products and products with the lightest weight texture are for the oily areas.

 

 

Dry Skin

You may have almost invisible pores. Dull, rough complexion. Red patches. Your skin is less elastic with more visible lines. Your skin can crack, peel, or become itchy, irritated, or inflamed. If it’s very dry, it can become rough and scaly, especially on the backs of your hands, arms, and legs. Dry skin may be caused or made worse by aging or hormonal changes. Weather such as wind, sun, or cold. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning beds. Indoor heating, long hot baths and showers.

 

Care of dry skin

Take shorter showers and baths, no more than once daily. Use mild, gentle soaps or cleansers. Avoid deodorant soaps. Don’t scrub while bathing or drying. Smooth on a rich moisturizer right after bathing. Ointments and creams may work better than lotions for dry skin but are often messier. Reapply as needed throughout the day. Use a humidifier, and don’t let indoor temperatures get too hot. Wear gloves when using cleaning agents, solvents, or household detergents. You should only be using products that have rich lotion, cream, or velvety serum textures.

 

 

Oily Skin

May have enlarged pores. Dull or shiny, thick complexion. Blackheads, pimples, or other blemishes. Oiliness can change depending upon the time of year or the weather. Things that can cause or worsen it include puberty or other hormonal imbalances, stress. Heat, or too much humidity.

 

Care of oily skin

Wash it no more than twice a day and after you sweat a lot. Use a gentle cleanser and don’t scrub. Don’t pick, pop, or squeeze pimples. They’ll take longer to heal. Use products that are a light fluid, liquid, thin lotion, or gel texture. Rich, thicker textures will make your skin feel oilier and you run the risk of clogging your pores.

 

 

Sensitive Skin

This can present as redness, itching, burning or dryness. If your skin is sensitive, try to find out what your triggers are so you can avoid them. There are many possible reasons, but often it’s in response to particular foods and/or skin care products.

 

Care of sensitive skin

Try not to smoke and stay hydrated. Wash your skin gently but thoroughly every day and night. Never wear makeup to bed, and remember to moisturise.

 

 

Common skin conditions

Skin disorders vary greatly in symptoms and severity. They can be temporary or permanent, and may be painless or painful. Some have situational causes, while others may be genetic. Some skin conditions are minor, and others can be severe. Skin conditions can be managed by paying close attention to your lifestyle.

 

 

Eczema

Atopic dermatitis (called eczema) is usually a genetic condition that presents in early childhood with a chronic itchy, weeping, oozing dermatitis. It tends to localize to the arm creases opposite the elbow and on the leg opposite the knee. Many people also have inhalant allergies such as asthma and hay fever.

 

 

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic, inflammatory usually a genetic condition in which people develop scaling red bumps that coalesce into plaques and typically occur but are not limited to the scalp, elbows, and knees.

 

 

Acne

Acne Vulgaris is a non-infectious eruption of papules and pustules on the face and occasionally on the chest and back. It occurs in most teenagers as they progress through puberty. Comedones (blackheads) and inflammatory papules and pustules are all present simultaneously. This is not a condition of dirty skin but is mediated by hormones that begin to circulate during puberty. The condition generally resolves in the latter teens but may produce scarring if severe and left untreated.

 

 

Athlete’s foot

Athlete’s foot is an infection of the dead superficial layer of the skin called the stratum corneum by a fungal mould (tinea pedis) called a dermatophyte. If inflammaed, it may produce a blistering eruption which is quite itchy. Non-inflammatory tinea pedis produces a dry scaling appearance and is frequently not very irritating.

 

 

Rosacea

Rosacea is an inflammatory condition of the face that is characterized by redness, dilated blood vessels, papules, pustules, and occasionally by the overgrowth of nasal connective tissue (rhinophyma). It superficially resembles teenaged acne, but it can also occur in adults. Persistent facial flushing is an early sign of the skin’s uncontrolled sensitivity to certain chemicals.