Part 1 of 3
Introducing Your Skin
We are obsessed with our appearance, and our skin plays a primary role in how we are received by our audiences, whether digitally, or face to face. While a convenient filter can mask away many problems in glamour shots, your skin is a vital organ that acts as a proxy for your body to engage with its environment and learning about skin can help each one of us to adjust our lifestyles towards healthier and happier living.
In this 3-part mini-series, we explore interesting ideas about our skin and reveal the science beneath the surface. We also discover simple techniques that we can consciously adopt to improve our skin’s health. In this article, we start the journey by introducing discussions about how culture and technology have moulded our perceptions about skin, contrasted with its physical and biological functions. Future parts will cover the composition of skin, and how we can consciously help our bodies find balance in our busy lives.
It’s easy to take our skin for granted and under appreciate what our skin does for us daily. The following is a list of functions that healthy skin is expected to perform. Our skin…
- Heightens grip and allows the body to manoeuvre with greater agility
- Acts as a sensory organ to detect temperature and pressure differences
- Provides protection for the body from physical, chemical and biological injury
- Provides thermal regulation and moisture retention control
- Produces Vitamin D when exposed to the sun
- Acts as an immune organ to detect infections
- Reduces harmful effects of UV radiation
Along with the physical traits and benefits, our skin also gives us a distinguishable identity for social interaction.
Our skin tells a living tale of our experiences and our culture; an unfinished map of where we come from, if you will. As social creatures, looking physically similar had its advantage of being an easy way to gain acceptance and enjoy the benefits of a tribe, especially in an unpredictable World. However, as humans harness the environment around us, and we become more interconnected as a species, the appearance of our skin takes on new meaning as our digital avatars reach out further than we can even know. So, what does our skin say about us, visually speaking?
This is an article about skin health, but racial discrimination is a real problem. Though skin cannot define an individual’s personality or social potential, prejudice by colour still occurs every day, around us. Unfortunately, skin colour is an easy way to categorize large groups of people and culture and has often been used to competitively divide populations. Today, the idea that racism permeates through our infrastructures is very current and has been termed “systemic”. This recently popular acknowledgment of systemic racism crucially raises awareness that there is still significant need for change towards a more equitable society.
Prejudice doesn’t always have to be negative. Understanding people’s needs by measuring and monitoring demographics can improve community health with much greater efficiency. Our skin can serve as a visual indicator of our natural affinities and antipathies within the environments we live in.
The diversity in human appearance has evolved through gently paced migration, and the depth of pigmentation in our skin would have mostly been relative to the average generational sun exposure in a region, settling and blending over thousands of years. Today, comparatively, the opportunity to travel is quick and frequent. It’s easy to find ourselves living away from our most suitable skin-climates, and so understanding our natural vulnerabilities to ecologically foreign environments can lead us towards better routines to look after our skin.
We all want youthful-looking skin; a representation of us feeling our most beautiful and in our prime! Skin that is recognizably well maintained should be both soft and smooth, yet also taut and elastic, enough to bounce back from an expressive look! The evenness of skin and the balance of moisture and surface oils are other beauty indicators of a person’s lifestyle and grooming standards.
Confidence in Your Skin
While skin quality doesn’t say everything about a person, the glamour pushed in our everyday media has become a source of unrealistic expectations for many of us. Other than for a few very lucky people (and even then, probably only for a very short period of time), most of us suffer from less-than-ideal skin conditions. While these physical indicators can often be constructively addressed to find a better balance with our environment, we can often find ourselves becoming our own harshest critics, as we are also our own most intimate observers.
You may find your skin looking malnourished or fatigued, or maybe uneven or discoloured. These blemishes can impact our self-esteem and impede confidence in our presentation. However, by understanding what we need for our skin to be healthy, we can take active steps towards restoring our verve in life and naturally looking great. Through simple skin care techniques and a well-considered diet, we can start feeling our best offline, and being our most confident online too.
In the next part of this series, we cover the fundamentals of Your Skin’s Anatomy, and discuss the natural processes that introduce risks for our confidence.