When you think about your skin, what thoughts come to mind?
Do you think about its functions, its practical purposes? Do you consider your skin as an organ? I wonder, do you think about it at all?
Too often we think about blemishes, or spots, imperfections and perhaps wishe that we had a tan. Sometimes we think about the elasticity of our skin and wish it wasn’t marked or wrinkled. We are too often led into thought processes about our skin’s dysfunctions and impurities. That’s because we usually hear about the skin from companies who make products for it, and they tend to want to help us improve it, and so we buy their products and enjoy them, and so we should, because who doesn’t want to feel fantastic and glow all over, not to mention feel silky smooth!
I’d like to tell you about your skin and all the brilliant functions it performs for your body in the hope to give your skin some credit and recognition it deserves from the perspective of a massage therapists and a body appreciator!
We often don’t think about the skin as an organ, but it is actually the largest one of the body contributing to around 20% of our overall weight.
What does it do then? Apart from break out in spots, or look sallow, or go saggy? Firstly, our skin is our outer most casing, so that makes it the first line of defence and response for the body; glands in our skin create natural moisturiser that protects against bacteria. Not only that but also the ph balance (the acidity) of our skin also determines the ability of bacteria to survive on it.
The billions of nerve endings nestled within allow our brains to discern hot from cold, thick from thin and rough from smooth. So, it teaches us, or allows us discern a huge amount of useful information about our surrounding environment.
Our skin creates water resistance and it is responsible for regulating our bodies’ temperatures and its metabolism of water and salt. Think about goose bumps - did you know that technically each hair follicle has a tiny muscle that lies beneath the skin’s surface and it is responsible for lifting up the hairs on your skin to help trap in heat.
Finally, lets not forget the all important Vitamin D. Essential for our bodies – it has been a hot topic in the news of late, discussions to put into milk because we are so deficient in it. Well when the sun does shine and you are outside, it’s your skin that absorbs the sun and so starts the process of creating vitamin D.