Skin is the biggest organ in our body. It functions as a barrier protecting the body from harmful external environment factors such as mechanical damage, noxious substances, microorganism invasion, and radiation. In addition, the skin controls the water loss from the body and regulates body temperature.
Appearance of the skin is primarily determined by the skin surface texture, color, and physiologic properties such as elasticity and skin oil (sebum) production. The surface texture reflects the smoothness of the skin, wrinkle appearance, and pore size. Skin color reflects the evenness of skin tone and the coloration of the skin. Elasticity often relates the sagginess of the skin. Skin oil production directly relates to the moisture level of the skin.
Skin condition and functions are affected by both environmental factors and endogenous factors. Environmental factors include UV radiation, free radicals, toxic and allergic compounds, and mechanical damages. UV radiation and free radicals may cause collage breakdown leading to skin inflammation, skin sagging and wrinkle formation. Toxic and allergic compounds cause dermatitis, which often causes skin inflammation, scarring, and skin discoloration. Mechanical damage may cause scarring and collagen breakdown on the skin. Endogenous factors include genetic predisposition, immune and hormone status, and stress.
Studies have shown that skin function and appearance are dependent upon nutrition. To have healthy and beautiful skin, nutritional management is essential and in fact more important than what you put on the skin. In the future posts, we will discuss the effects of various nutrients on skin condition and provide tips on how to maintain a healthy and radiant skin.
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