The skin is a large and complex organ, and taking care of your skin requires diligence and regular care. Remember to use best skin care products like gentle non-drying cleansers and apply moisturizers, use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher when outside and avoid exposure to sun and artificial tanning; wear protective gloves when washing dishes, working with harsh chemicals or gardening; and check your skin regularly for discoloration, moles or new lumps. With your help, your skin will look healthy for a lifetime.

The skin is composed of several layers. The lowest layer is called the dermis and it is composed of connective tissue, blood vessels, nerve endings, hair follicles, and sweat and oil glands. The top layer is called the epidermis. The thickness of the epidermis varies with your age, your gender and the location on your body of the skin. For example, the epidermis on your forearm is about five cell layers thick while the epidermis on the bottom of your foot might be 30 cell layers thick. The epidermis is renewed every 15 to 30 days; but in some disease states, it may be renewed in about 7 to 10 days.

However, understanding your skin will help you realize what it takes to keep it healthy for a lifetime. The skin is the largest organ of the body, both by weight and surface area. In adults, the weight of your skin accounts for about 16 percent of your total body weight. Its main purpose is to act as a shield from external stress. Your skin is constantly in contact with bacteria, viruses and other harmful agents from the environment such as sun, wind, heat, dryness, cold weather, pollution and cigarette smoke. It helps regulate your body’s temperature through sweat glands, and because skin interacts with other organs, it can alert you to other health problems.