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What do we think of when we think of our skin? Many of us think of it as one of the prime components of our appearance. After all, much of our looks depend on the what’s on the outside, and skin is on the outside of our entire bodies. However, although we may not think of it quite as often, there is a functional side of our skin as well. Our skin holds in moisture and nutrients, regulates our body temperature, keeps bacteria out, and works to sensor tactile information, and sometimes the appearance of our skin and the function of our skin are not mutually exclusive. When skin is compromised, it means the outer layer of the skin has been damaged, and that may affect both the way skin works and the way it looks. Here are some facts about compromised skin, and what you can do about it.
What is Compromised Skin?
The skin has three layers. The outer protective layer is the epidermis. There middle layer, or the dermis, contains the hair follicles, nerve cells, small blood cells, collagen, and elastin, and the sweat glands. The lower layer, or subcutaneous is made up of layers of fats or lipids and connective tissues that join the skin to everything underneath. When skin is compromised, the epidermis, or “protective barrier is damaged, which causes problems.
The first problem caused by compromised skin is it becomes unable to retain moisture as well as it once did, which causes flaking, dryness, and redness. A second problem is that the skin can’t protect itself properly, which opens it up to harm from UV rays, allergens, bacteria, environmental toxins, and harsh ingredients. Compromised skin can also affect the skin’s appearance, resulting in fine lines, dullness, dryness, sagging, and aging.
Causes of Compromised Skin
The skin, especially the outer layer is vulnerable to injury from malfunctions occurring within the body as well as damaging agents outside of the body. Examples include:
Radiation and Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy and radiation can break down the outer layer of skin causing itching, rashes, wounds, and dryness, and interfere with cell growth, resulting in “thin” your skin.
Psoriasis is generally thought to be the result of a malfunction in the immune system in which new cells form too quickly and coagulate as lesions on the skin. Another theory points to the malfunction of genes that direct the creation of the skin’s epidermis as the cause of the condition.
While rosacea may be heredity, other research shows bacteria may be to blame. Topical steroids can also cause symptoms that mimic those of the condition.
Medications, such as cholesterol lowering drugs can lead to a breakdown in the skin’s barrier. Diuretics may rob the skin of water, and even certain antihistamines, anti depressants, and acne medications can lead to compromised skin.
Conditions such as diabetes, cancer, hypothyroidism and high blood pressure can all contribute to compromised skin.
Protection for Compromised Skin
Because compromised skin puts you at risk for irritation from exposure to toxic chemicals, those with compromised skin would do best by avoiding personal care products with potentially harmful ingredients. Synthetic ingredients can penetrate the skin’s weak outer layer and have been shown in studies to disrupt hormones and stimulate cancerous activity in cells. The best course of action for avoiding further harm to compromised skin is to read labels and look for safe nourishing products formulated for sensitive skin. These are generally considered most beneficial in supporting skin function as well as appearance.
Do you think you have compromised skin? If so, let us know you’re doing about it. We love to hear from you!