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When it comes to maintaining our health, we often focus on what’s going on inside our bodies. From stomach pain to headaches, we frequently forget to check on and take care of the largest organ we have: our skin.
“When we think about our skin, we mostly think about it through a cosmetic lens: How can I get rid of acne? Why is my skin dry? What can I do to make my skin feel smoother?” said Nicole Zucconi, D.O., Primary Care Physician at Inspira Medical Group Primary Care Millville. “But actually, our skin is like a force field against all kinds of harmful germs, chemicals and bacteria that can lead to serious illness—not to mention it helps regulate our body’s temperature. That is why keeping up with good skin hygiene is so critical.”
Despite being an organ we see every day, the skin is actually a complex and critical part of our entire health system. The skin is comprised of three layers:
The top layer of skin, the epidermis is responsible for acting as a barrier to extraneous germs. In addition to keeping the body safe, it works to create new skin cells every four weeks. The epidermis is also home to melanin cells.
Directly underneath the epidermis, this middle layer is composed of thousands of blood vessels and nerve endings. The dermis is tasked with interpreting and signaling the five senses to the brain and nervous system for a response.
The innermost layer of skin, the hypodermis is a fatty layer that acts as a foundation and guard for the other layers of skin.
“Protecting the organ that protects us requires a multifaceted approach. But really, it can be broken down into a few simple steps: wash your face, eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly,” said Dr. Zucconi. “In terms of a skincare routine, you really just need a cleanser, a moisturizer and of course, sunscreen. These three items not only give your skin the nutrients it needs, but also helps create an additional layer of protection.”
Another way to nourish your skin is through a healthy, well-balanced diet. Healthy fats, like those in avocados and specific types of fish; vegetables and fan-favorite dark chocolate can all help lead to developing healthy, glowing skin.
“Just like any other organ, exercising has extreme benefits for the skin. As your heart rate increases, your body is better able to deliver and circulate oxygen-rich blood throughout the body—helping to both support the skin and boost cell regeneration,” said Dr. Zucconi.
According to the National Institutes of Health, about one in three Americans are living with a skin condition. While acne, eczema, psoriasis and contact dermatitis are the more commonly seen skin disorders, there are a variety of treatment and pain management options readily available to help mitigate the symptoms associated with each condition.
“The severity and treatment of each skin disorder is extremely unique to each patient. There are many products on the market, but the first step is always to schedule an appointment to speak with your health care team,” said Dr. Zucconi. “You are never alone and you should always love the skin you’re in.”
Inspira Health is a high reliability organization (HRO), which means safety is the top priority for patients and staff.