Although plenty of people argue that beauty is only skin deep or believe that concerns about the skin are merely superficial, the reality is that your skin plays a major role when it comes to your overall health. The skin is the largest organ in the body and it has one of the most important roles. It also can be what alerts you to a possible illness or what gives you an idea that something is going on elsewhere in your body.
If you're interested in becoming an esthetician and learning how to help people have the healthiest skin possible, it can be helpful to understand the role skin plays in the overall health of the body.
The Skin Is a Protective Barrier
Your skin acts as a protective barrier, covering up the other organs in the body, as well as your bones and muscles. As a protective barrier, your skin keeps germs such as bacteria and viruses from coming into contact with your internal organs. It plays a big role in keeping you healthy and limiting illness.
The skin also helps to keep bodily fluids in your body and plays a role in keeping you hydrated.
The Skin Makes Vitamin D
One of the skin's cool party tricks is that it can make vitamin D, an essential nutrient your body needs to absorb calcium and other minerals. Your skin contains 7-dehydrocholesterol, which is a form of cholesterol. When the sun shines on your skin, the ultraviolet B rays turn the cholesterol into vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 then travels to the liver, where it gets turned into Vitamin D.
Vitamin D can be tough to get naturally from food sources. It's found in fish and egg yolks but otherwise needs to be added to fortified foods. That's why the role of the skin is so important. Without its ability to provide 7-dehydrocholesterol, people wouldn't be able to produce enough of the vitamin D they need.
The Skin Can Reveal Illness
Your skin can let you know if something is going on elsewhere in the body, such as a chronic condition or auto-immune disease. For example, one of the tell-tale signs of lupus is a red, butterfly-shaped rash across the nose and cheeks. If a person has liver disease, their skin might develop a yellow tint.
If you have an allergy to a substance, such as a detergent, skincare product, or food, your skin might let you know. You might develop an allergic reaction in the form of a rash or hives.
Skin can also alert you to an imbalance in hormones. When levels of thyroid hormones are low, the skin might become ashy or dull. In some cases, it can thicken as a result of low thyroid hormone levels. Particularly stubborn cystic acne can be a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome
The Skin Controls Pain
The skin contains nerve endings, which can send you pain signals when appropriate. For example, if you put your hand on a hot burner or touch a hot iron, you'll feel a burning sensation and will know to pull your hand away quickly. If you didn't feel that pain, you could leave your hand on the hot surface, leading to considerable damage to the muscles and other tissues in your hand.
Your Skin Protects You, But It's Important to Protect Your Skin
While your skin does a good job of keeping you healthy or letting you know if something's up, it's also important for you to protect your skin. That can mean giving it protection from excessive sun exposure, which can increase the risk of skin cancer or premature aging. It also means keeping the skin clean and moisturized so it doesn't become dehydrated.
As a licensed esthetician, you'll have the skills and experience needs to help your clients get the healthiest skin possible. To learn more about the esthetician training program at Cortiva Institute Massage Therapy & Skin Care Schools, request information today.