Cosmetics: Only Skin Deep?

In order to understand the relationship between cosmetics, the skin, and the numerous side effects that come with continued use of cosmetic products, a better understanding of the skin and its intricacies may help clear the air.

Our skin is our boundary with the outside world. With protective, regulatory and sensory roles, the skin is far more than just a covering to the body. It is more complex than a quick look at its surface suggests. Like all other body organs it is make up of numerous cells in various tissues that are organised together to perform its functions. It is the body’s largest organ, comprising about 12 per cent of the total body weight.

The skin helps the body regulate the correct fluid balance by reducing water loss through its surface and preventing the absorption of too much water during baths or swimming. It helps the regulation of temperature – fatty tissues conserve heat, and the sweat glands cool the body surface when necessary. Variation in blood supply to its surface also regulates the amount of heat lost. Skin also helps with the disposal of waste products, especially through the sweat glands. It is involved in the synthesis of vitamin D and the metabolism of some hormones. The skin has several important sensory functions, particularly the detection of contact and heat. Read more

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