Today I am continuing a series on skin basics. Turn on any cosmetic commercial and you will hear many different terms thrown around. What does it mean when a product says it will boost collagen production or protect against free radicals? Knowing the basics can help you make better decisions about what products work for you. Below are 6 skin terms you should know before you think about purchasing any cosmetic product.
Collagen is a protein that makes up about 30% of the proteins in the body. It is part of the connective tissue that gives skin its firmness, suppleness, and helps with renewal of skin cells. Collagen is the foundation and structure of the face, and we need it for skin's elasticity. The production of collagen begins to decrease after age 40.
Interesting fact: Sunlight, smoking and high sugar consumption damage the production of collagen.
Antioxidants prevent or delay harmful cell damage caused by oxidation. When the cells in the body are exposed to oxygen they can create free radicals which are chemicals in the body that have the potential to harm cells, including our DNA. This damage can cause all kinds of diseases, including cancer. Our body naturally produces antioxidants to help reverse this process and neutralize the harmful free radicals. When applied to the skin topically, antioxidants can protect from sun damage.
Interesting fact: Spices like cloves, oregano, turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger, are packed with antioxidants.
Sebaceous glands are normally attached to our hair follicles and release sebum into the follicular duct and then to the surface of the skin. Sebum is an oil-like substance and an overabundance of it can cause oily skin. The sebaceous glands cover the entire body except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
Interesting fact: Sebaceous glands are the most abundant on the scalp and the face.
Melanin is a pigment that gives color to skin, eyes, and hair. It protects us from damage from ultraviolet rays. The more melanin you produce, the more protection you have against harmful UV rays.
Interesting fact: There is a lower incidence for skin cancer in individuals with darker skin compared to those with fairer skin, though people with darker skin are still at risk of skin cancer.
Eczema represents a group of medical conditions that makes the skin inflamed or irritated. Eczema typically creates a rash or causes an irritating itch that creates lesions made up of fluid. These lesions are usually red and swollen. When they break, a clear or yellow fluid leaks out and crusts over. Eczema is thought to be linked to a response by the body’s immune system and can be triggered by foods, environmental factors, or genetics. People tend to have eczema on the neck, back, hands, arms, and legs.
Interesting fact: For some people, eczema will go away but for others it stays for life.
Acne is a disease of the sebaceous glands of the skin. Acne happens when the outlet from the gland to the skin’s surface is plugged, which makes sebum accumulate in the follicle and sebaceous duct. When sebum mixes with bacteria it causes an inflammatory response which shows up on the skin’s surface as pimples.
Interesting fact: There are 50 different kinds of acne.
This concludes another session of Skin 101. What are other skin terms you think are important to know?
- June 28, 2015
- Tiffany A