5 Uncommonly Known Facts About Your Skin

While biology lessons tell tales of your heart, lungs, kidneys and appendix, your skin is largely a topic left unturned. Let’s fix that. Did you know the facts listed below?

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1. Regardless of Your Skin Type, Everyone’s Skin Is Oil-Based

It’s like water off a duck’s back. The health of your skin is mostly dependant on the vitality of its top layers. These need to be waterproof to avoid dilution, barrier-forming to prevent bacterial invasion, and firm enough to zip in hydration.

That’s one hell of a task, and your body does this perfectly using simple science. Oil and water don’t mix. The top layers of skin are mostly made from oil and they’re kept in tip-top condition by the oily sebum your skin’s hair follicles secrete.

2. Your Skin Can Tell Time, and That Affects Things Like Sebum Secretion

Ever noticed your skin is oilier at certain times of the day? Ever wondered why night creams are heavier than day creams? This is your answer: Your skin can tell the time of day. Just like your body naturally wakes to light, so, too, does your skin.

Studies show that skin constantly lubricates itself with sebum. This process is constant but not even. Ramping up in the morning, skin works towards a maximum level of oil by at midday, and from there it’s a downward slide until your lowest point is reached after lights off (1).

This means at night your skin’s in perfect condition to absorb an intensely conditioning nighttime cream.

3. Skin Renews Itself Almost Completely Every 39 Days

Skin that is young and healthy has a life cycle on the low side of 39 days (2). This keeps skin fresh, radiant and even. Your skin is constantly renewing and it has been your entire life. Have dark marks left by pimples? Grazes left by kickboxing? Your 39 days cycle should have those evened out in just a month or two.

4. Skin Is Your Largest Organ

Skin is pretty quiet most of the time, even though it’s a human being’s largest organ, weighing in at an average of 20 pounds (the weight of a car tire) and covering 22 square feet (the size of a small bathroom) it’s also your largest and your heaviest organ (3).

5. All Healthy Skin Contains Bacteria - Welcome to Your Microflora

Have you ever eaten probiotic yogurts or invested in immunity-building fermented drinks? If you have, you’ll already be very familiar with the concept of good vs. bad bacteria. The human body is home to many.

While the health of gut bacteria is becoming a well-researched field, the health of your skin’s microflora is only just beginning to come to light. Acne, for instance, is not just a matter of having blocked pores. To have diagnosable, clinically proven acne, skin must have an overgrowth of a certain bacteria called propionibacterium acnes (4).

When your microflora is healthy, your skin behaves perfectly. Want to keep it that way? Be sure to care for your skin sensitively.

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11564182

(2) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022202X15434189

(3) http://www.livescience.com/32939-how-much-does-skin-weigh.html

(4) http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-540-69375-8_18

Why Essential Oils Aren't So Essential

As you enter your neighbor’s home, you inhale a sweet long breath of lavender-scented goodness. Expecting an herb garden just around the corner, you are instead greeted by the most beautiful of essential oil diffusers. You can't quite tell if it's truly the most beautiful, because right at the same moment, your judgement is impaired by soothing plant power.

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A Plant Power That's Essential. Or Is It?

The Oxford dictionary defines essential as, “1. Absolutely necessary; extremely important. 2. Required for normal growth but not synthesized in the body and therefore necessary in the diet.” (1) But what is an essential oil? Why is it called essential? Clearly, if essential oils fit one of these two definitions, we would all be inhaling, eating and applying them to our skin as often as possible.

Stop right there, and don’t take a metaphorical step further until you read this.

The True Meaning of Essential

Our bodies have expert capabilities when it comes to staying nourished. Give a body potatoes and it turns those starchy carbohydrates into glucose energy. Give it carrots and it’ll break down that orange beta-carotene into vitamin A, which is good for healthy skin and eyes. Your body is a constant hive of activity. It’s adaptable and clever. But it’s not perfect. It’s not a computer. This means your body needs to be given many essential (there’s that word again!) nutrients in order to survive.

Before we delve into the world of essential oils, let’s first take a look at a true to meaning example of essential. An example that demonstrates the Oxford dictionary definition of absolutely necessary — essential fatty acids (EFAs). If you haven’t heard of EFAs, I’m willing to bet a pretty penny you’ve heard of omega 3 or cod liver oil. These are one and the same. They are a family.

Omega 3 is an EFA naturally found in fatty fish like salmon. It is called essential because your body has no backup manufacturing system for this vital nutrient. Without consuming several omega 3 rich dinners our bodies would gradually become deficient. That’s bad news because omega 3 keeps your heart healthy, fights inflammation and helps prevent cancer (2).

Now Let Us Look at Essential Oils

Do we have the same biological need for essential oils? Does the wording essential still mean that our bodies require essential oils to be healthy?

Calling an essential oil essential is a little like nicknaming your other half Brad Pitt. Your body has no essential need for essential oils. So, why is an essential oil called essential? Good question. Essential oils are called essential because they’re nicknamed from the phrase “essence of.”

All essential oils are, first, oily and second, a concentration of all the ingredients needed to make a plant smell exactly like it does when swaying gently to the breeze of a sunny day.

Lavender essential oil is the essence of everything that makes lavender smell like lavender. It’s a blend of all the ingredients that are essential to making the oil smell of lavender and not bathroom air freshener.

What Does This Mean For You?

Many believe essential oils have magical healing powers. While there are some interesting and active components of essential oils being studied, it’s best to remember an essential oil is still a fragrance.

Would you eat, drink or liberally apply fragrance to your skin? Probably not.

(1) https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/essential

(2) http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0753332202002536