Skin Care Basics
What does the skin do, and why is skincare important?
Many people often think of the skin as an exterior, "cosmetic" part of the body. In reality, the skin is an important part of the body that serves as the first line of defence to protect the body from foreign and potentially harmful bacteria, virus, fungus, and allergens. It is actually considered an organ-the largest organ in the body, which accounts for up to 15% of a person's body weight. The skin, however, is very vulnerable and fragile. It can easily be damaged through physical injury, dehydration, UV damage, and it can become unclean very quickly without proper washing and maintenance.
What is skincare?
Skincare can take many forms, but broken down to the most basic components, it comes down to 3 broad goals:
- Keeping the skin clean
- Keeping the skin moisturized
- Keeping the skin protected
All 3 points are essential in maintaining good skin health. The skin is constantly exposed to dirt, dust, and grime, as well as various chemicals that are in cosmetic products, which combines with the skin's natural oil. Simple washing with water is inadequate to remove this mix of dirt. Thus, a cleanser (like soap) is necessary to remove the dirt and keep the skin clean.
On the second point, the skin needs to maintain moisture in order to retain its protective ability. Dry skin is a common problem, especially during the winter, as the cold and dry air drains the skin of moisture. When moisture leaves the skin, it becomes dry and vulnerable. It is not only irritating (and painful if severe), but it can eventually lead to cracking of the skin.
The final point-keeping your skin protected-concerns sun protection. The sun is one of the most serious sources of skin damage, and skin aging. UV rays from the sun produce both short-term (sunburn) and long-term (skin cancer, accelerated aging) damage.