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Discerning Skin Health

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Dr neha dubey

Inputs by Dr. Neha Dubey, Consultant Medical & Cosmetic Dermatologist, Medical Director at Meraki Skin Clinic, Gurugram

1. Is healthy skin just skin deep?

Our skin is the largest organ of our body and when healthy it works hard to protect us. Think of it as the first line of defence between our bodies and the outside world. When compromised, its ability to work as an external barrier against environmental aggressors is impaired.

Hence, it is important to ensure that we follow a healthy, nourishing diet and also a daily regimen which not only includes topical skincare treatments but vital supplements and ingestibles which boost our skin’s health from inside out.

Skin health

Many of us are blessed with genetically healthy skin & it’s our duty to take care of it by providing it with the right nourishment and TLC. For many others, having healthy skin is a struggle, and their constantly battling issues like dryness, eczema, pigmentation & acne. However, how you take care of your skin will determine how it will look and feel in the future. As I have stated earlier, our skin is the first barrier against environmental aggressors, therefore maintaining healthy skin is vital. Plus, both our age and health are reflected in our skin.

2. Signs of a healthy skin

Healthy skin steers clear of bumps, is devoid of acne and isn’t prone to inflammation. It is well-hydrated, soft and supple with no signs of flaking or dryness. If your skin health is optimum, it will maintain balanced pH levels and, you won’t find it flaky or itchy at any given time. Moreover, your skin tone should help you discern your skin quality, i.e. if it is even, lacks dark patches or sunspots—your skin is healthy.

3. Skin Barrier

Your skin barrier is a protective layer that guards you against external aggressors, bacteria, pollution and maintains moisture. It’s filled with fatty acids, lipids and ceramides. If this layer is impaired, you are prone to developing dry skin, scaly skin, itchiness and rough patches. It also leads to increased transepidermal water loss, which will leave the skin feeling dehydrated.

The skin barrier is compromised by:

  • Pollutants
  • Allergens
  • Irritants
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Too dry or too humid environment
  • Over washing
  • Over exfoliation
  • Certain medications like oral steroids
  • Stress
  • Genetic conditions like Atopic dermatitis, Icthyosis, Psoriasis etc.

4. Nutrition & Skin

Including food items rich in Omega - 3 fatty acids can help our body to regulate the skin’s oil production thus balancing out the hydration level.

Two types of Vitamin A, retinoids which promote new skin cell growth & carotenoids, which prevent premature skin ageing should be a part of a regular diet. These are found in carrots, tomatoes, leafy greens, fish & eggs.

To boost the production of collagen & delay the premature ageing process, a powerful antioxidant in the form of Vitamin C is a must.

Vitamin E is good for building up and maintaining that skin barrier. Sources include nuts & seeds, vegetable oils & seafood.

Zinc needs a special mention as it clears out bacteria & excess oil from the skin. Similarly, selenium fights skin infections & is anti-inflammatory. Both these functions are needed to maintain a healthy skin barrier.

Synbiotics (a combination of pre & probiotics) produce short-chain fatty acids, which help in repairing the epithelial barrier.

To summarise, our skin health is dependent on our overall health. If you want to enjoy healthy skin for most of your lifespan, start investing in it, not only in terms of the products you use topically but also with regards to your diet and the supplements you take. A holistic approach towards the health of your skin goes a long way.

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