Skin Conditions | January 5, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
The Integumentary system is the largest organ system of the body and comprises of an external cutaneous membrane, known as the skin, and includes hair and nails (and scales, feathers and hooves - which of course don’t apply to us).
It is the attachment site for sensory receptors to detect pain, sensation, pressure, temperature and provides for vitamin D synthesis.
The epidermis is the thin, outermost layer of epithelial tissue found of the skin. In most parts of the body the epidermis is made up of 4 layers, 5 layers where the skin is thicker such as the soles of the feet.
Newly formed cells, Keratinocytes, at the lowest layer, the Stratum basale, are slowly pushed to the surface moving through the layers of the epidermis, and accumulating keratin along the way. This process is known as keratinization. The cells eventually die and are sloughed off the surface of the skin, replaced by the next group of keranized cells. This is an on-going process but each new cell takes about 4 weeks to reach the surface and die.
The epidermis consist of 4 principal types of cells, Keratinocytes (produce the protein Keratin), melanocytes (skin colour), Langerhans cells (Immune response) and Merkel cells (touch sensation).
Keratinocytes make up about 90% of cells in the epidermis and product keratin, a tough, fibrous protein that helps protect the skin above and tissues below, from microbe, heat and chemicals.
Melanocytes - make up about 8% and produce melanin a yellow-red or brown-black pigment that colours skin BUT also absorb damaging ultra violet (UV) light. Melanin granules gather to form a shield of protection for nuclear DNA against UV light damage, but they themselves are can be damaged.
Langerhans cells come from the red bone marrow and migrate to the epidermis to protect the skin from invading microbes. They are also susceptible to damage from UV.
The dermis is the next deeper layer of the skin composed of connective tissue and provides the ground for blood vessels, nerves, glands and hair follicles. Within this layer is the reticular region, a combination of elastic and collagen fibres, which provide the skin with strength, stretch and elasticity.
Below the dermis is the hypodermis consisting of areolar tissue (loose connective tissue) and adipose (fat tissue).
Most people will start to notice changes to their skin by the time they are in their 4th decade and most age-related changes occur in the Dermis.
Aged skin is a lot thinner than young skin and the cellular process of migration from the basal layer to the surface is a lot slower. Skin healing is poor and skin becomes susceptible to skin sores and skin cancers.
UV exposure may account for up to 80% of visible signs of aging in the skin. This includes the appearance of dry skin, wrinkles, pigmentation and correlates with the risk of skin cancer.
Applying sunscreen is considered one of the best ways to reduce your risk of skin cancer, other than avoiding over exposure and using protective clothing.
Aged spots, solar keratosis and aging (wrinkles) can all be contributed to exposure to the sun.
UVA rays penetrate the skin to the dermis and cause damage to the cells genetics resulting in wrinkling skin, pigmentation, and immune suppression.
UVB affects the outer layer, the epidermis, causing sun burn that can be a risk factor in developing Melanoma or other skin cancers.
Click Here For Article on Melanoma
Broad spectrum sunscreens offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays, UVB is the principal cause of sunburn, but both UVA and UVB contribute to increased skin cancer risk.
Applying your sunscreen correctly is very important. According to the Cancer Council of Australia sunscreen should be used liberally and applied 20 minutes before UV exposure and reapplied every 2 hours. If you are going to be exposed to the sun it is suggested to apply a sunscreen over your moisturiser instead of using a moisturiser that contains UV protection.
You can still get sun damage on cool, cloudy and windy days. See Cancer Council of Australia - The SunSmart UV Alert for guidelines www.cancer.org.au/
Click Here For Article on Sun Spots
Fruit and Vegetables. Support your health with a diet full of fruit and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables contain an abundance of health giving ingredients such as dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. These nutrients function as antioxidants, phytoestrogens, and anti-inflammatory agents offering protective mechanisms to provide support for a healthy body and disease prevention.
Essential fatty acids from nuts, fish, olives and avocado help support the cell membrane and cellular signalling, interact directly with DNA as well as reduce inflammation.
Protein is one of the most important nutrient factors affecting wound healing. Help skin repair with adequate protein from eggs, meat, chicken, fish and combinations of nuts seeds, legumes and grains.
Fermented foods have unique properties due to presence of functional microorganisms (probiotics). These microorganisms possess a variety of properties such as antimicrobial, antioxidants and participate in peptide production, for example. They support the synthesis of nutrients, prevention of diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular health issues, and help with gastrointestinal disorders, allergic reactions, and diabetes, amongst others.
Fibre. Add in fibre in the diet to help remove toxins and feed beneficial microorganisms.
Remember the main action of the skin is to protect the body
Tortora Gerald J., Derrickson Bryan, 2006 Principles of Anatomy and Physiology 11th edition, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Lees, Mark; 2001, Skin Care beyond the basics, Milady, Thomson learning, NY, USA
Ultraviolet radiation, aging and the skin: prevention of damage by topical cAMP manipulation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4344124/
Health Benefits of Fruits and vegetables https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3649719/
Essential fatty acids as functional components of foods- a review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4190204/
Factors Affecting Wound Healing https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2903966/
Functional Properties of Microorganisms in Fermented Foods https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4844621/