Nutrition and Beauty

Skin deep: a look beneath the surface of your skin


More about me: I am Martin Godfrey, a medical doctor with over 25 years of experience in the health sector, specifically in nutraceutical science and pharmaceutical research. I joined Minerva Research labs three years ago after working in medicine, food and the aesthetic world. I have been regularly involved in writing and broadcasting on anti-ageing and aesthetics and have authored a series of leading articles in the Aesthetics Journal.

We all have a fascination with skin. At its best it is soft as a feather, silky smooth and shiny as a polished gem. We tend to spend a lot of time covering it in cream and powders but on a bad day it can be oily, blotchy and uneven. It can distract us and take away our confidence to go out.

Skin isn't just there for looks. Regardless of our personal view on our skin, it has an important function. It is far more complex than just a beautiful canvas. It's our largest organ.

Did you know the average adult skin weighs about 3.5kg and covers over two square meters? The skin is studded with sleep, sinuous hairs and punctured by deep sweat glands. It keeps us warm in the winter and cools us in the summer, it can give away our fear or embarrassment. In unfortunate circumstances around the world, skin colour can set us apart socially. All in all, skin has a lot to answer for.

When you get down the specifics, strangely the skin we look at day in and day out is in fact just a layer of dead cells. The outer layer of the epidermis, the 'stratum corneum' is a basic component. The interesting stuff is hidden in the thick, living dermis that exists below the epidermis and is plentifully supplied with blood vessels and nerves. It's a healthy dermis you really need to be trying to develop.

The epidermis's real role is to shut out all the dangerous toxins, bugs and rays that the external environment throws at us. At its base is a virtually impermeable line of cells that prevent anything - and I mean everything - from getting through.

The dermis on the other hand, being filled with collagen and elastin to keep us looking young; red and white blood cells to nourish us and deliver bacteria killing antibodies; fat to keep us warm and a plethora of nerves and hormones, is the living layer that truly keeps us alive.

The truth is, beauty may be skin deep but health has its roots much deeper.

Dr. Martin Godfrey

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