Skin is the LARGEST organ in the human body.

Crazy, right? Technically your largest “internal” organ is your liver, and your largest “external” organ is your skin. But your skin is your largest organ in general and it accounts for 15% of your body weight!

Skin (also called dermis), comes in all colors, shapes, sizes and classifications. It protects your bones, muscles and internal organs. The National Institute of Health says it is full of nerve endings, and plays an important role in protecting your body by keeping your temperature stable. Skin is so important, that the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) decided to devote the month of November to healthy skin awareness.

There are many products for taking care of your skin; according to the U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey, 1.35 million Americans spent $500 or more on skin care products within a three-month time span in 2016.

Here, are four fun (free) facts about skin health—check out #4, it’s pretty SKINdalous!

 

1. 20% of your water intake comes from food

The Institute of Medicine (IOM), recommends that women get 2.7 liters (11 cups) of water per day. But don’t start guzzling yet—this doesn’t just mean pure water. This number includes all types of water: a cup of coffee or tea, to the water in food. According to IOM, just the water from your food counts for one-fifth of your daily water intake! Strawberries, watermelon, cucumber, celery, lettuce and other fruits and veggies contain over 90% water by weight.

“The effects of skin hydration are pretty immediate,” Arash Akhavan, M.D., board-certified dermatologist at Dermatology and Laser Group, told Paste Magazine. “Skin dehydration can easily be reversed with just a day or two of adequate water intake.”

 

2. Moisturizing is a MUST

Everyone has different skin tones, sensitivities, and oily spots. While each person’s skin is unique, there is a basic routine we should all follow to keep our skin clean and hydrated.  Huffington Post interviewed five top dermatologists, and the consensus was:

  • Know your skin—if it’s acne-prone, redness-prone, dry, or if you want to focus on antiaging.
  • Use a cleanser and use it daily.
  • Always moisturize.

A common misconception is moisturizing can clog your pores and cause acne. This isn’t necessarily true (unless you moisturize with olive oil). The Acne Academy says acne occurs when “glands in the follicles of the skin become overactive. These glands produce sebum, an oily substance that helps to stop the skin drying out. Someone with acne produces too much sebum, which forms a plug with dead skin cells and blocks the follicle.”

And actually, if your skin is too dry your glands will product MORE oil to compensate. Products with high levels of salicylic acid can dry out your skin and increase sebum (oil) production.  More oil = more clogged pores.

“It may seem counterintuitive, but oily skin types need a moisturizer in order for their complexion to stay healthy and balanced,” Joel Schlessinger, M.D. told SELF Magazine.

 

3. Sunscreen is your best friend

Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, but if it is caught early, it is almost always curable. The Skin Cancer Foundation states that melanoma is caused by “intense, occasional UV exposure (frequently leading to sunburn), especially in those who are genetically predisposed to the disease.” 

While genetics can play a role, the most effective action you can take is prevention. Whether you live in the tropics, or the tundra, sunscreen is necessary. Sun protection factor (SPF), is now included in most daily moisturizers, with a level of 15-30 SPF for everyday use. But, make sure you apply thoroughly and, if you’re outside, reapply frequently.

It’s never too late to start using sunscreen!  While it may not be reversible, cumulative sun exposure can be stopped in its tracks.

“It’s especially important to apply sun protection when it’s not that sunny,” Celeste Hilling, Skin Authority CEO, founder and product formulator, told Paste Magazine.  “UV radiation from the sun comes right through clouds. UVA rays are very long and penetrate deep into the dermis layer of the skin, where new skin cells and collagen are formed.”

Huffington Post also has great tips for finding the perfect sunscreen for your skin, including all-natural sunscreens.

 

4. Collagen isn’t just for your face

Let’s start with the basics: according to HealthLine, collagen is a protein and one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments. It’s like the glue that keeps all these things together.

Unfortunately, as the skin ages, your body stops making as much collagen, and the existing collagen wears out. Without an abundance of supportive collagen, you develop wrinkles and the skin begins to sag. LiveStrong breaks it down to this: collagen helps the skin stay firm and maintain elasticity.There are many treatments to stimulate collagen growth to varying degrees, including creams, supplements, lasers, and radiofrequency technology.

Dr. Anna Chapas, founder and medical director of Union Square Dermatology, told Huffington Post, “I’ve had noninvasive radiofrequency tightening treatments and dermal fillers regularly over the last few years to address concerns like eye bags and sagging skin.”

But collagen isn’t just in your face, it’s also prevalent in another special area: the vagina. [Insert gasp here.]

Yes, this is a fact. Dr. Sabika Karim, a Cosmetic Physician at Revere Clinic in London, talked to Marie Claire UK about this in a recent issue.

“Just like skin, vaginal tissue relies on collagen for its support. With the normal ageing process or physical stresses from child-bearing, the tissue can become overstretched and weakened” Dr. Karim said. “The result is very commonly a feeling of vaginal looseness called laxity, the side-effects of which can be a loss of sensation during intercourse, inability to orgasm or fewer orgasms and even urinary incontinence.”

Like supplementing the collagen in your face, there are some nonsurgical treatments available for boosting collagen in the vagina.  But, there are a lot of crazy vagina trends out there. The key is to look for treatments that are clinically proven to be safe and effective. When comparing treatments, always consult a medical practitioner, especially with treatments in the vaginal area. The top layer of your vagina is made up of soft, delicate tissue, and you want to make sure that it is protected.

 

Tying it all together

Whether you have an annoying rash that itches like crazy, a breakout that won’t cease, you’re worried about a mole, or you just want a checkup, always contact your dermatologist for any questions or concerns. While there are many home remedies available on Pinterest and Amazon, it’s always best to seek professional advice before trying something new

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