Everyone wants healthy, clear skin, but do you realize how amazing this organ really is? It’s the organ that comes into contact with the rest of the world. It holds body fluids in, preventing dehydration, and keeps harmful microbes out—without it, we would get infections.
Your skin is full of nerve endings that help you feel things like heat, cold, and pain. If you couldn’t feel these things, you could get badly hurt and not even know it.
Why is Healthy Skin Important?
According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), your skin plays such an important role in protecting your body, you should keep it as healthy as you can. This will help you keep from getting sick or having damage to your bones, muscles, and internal organs.
Skin is actually your body’s largest organ by size. Your skin helps keep your body temperature even. If you get too hot, blood vessels near the surface of the skin, called capillaries, enlarge to let the warm blood cool down.
Your skin also makes vitamin D when the sun shines on it. Vitamin D is important for the health of your bones and other parts of your body.
Your skin can be injured.
It’s not too hard to injure your skin. So be careful when you’re doing anything that might injure it (like using sharp tools, working in the yard, or playing a sport). Cuts, bumps, and scrapes are a normal part of life. It wouldn’t be much fun if you tried to avoid them completely. But it’s smart to wear the right protective equipment, like gloves, long sleeves, knee and elbow pads, or helmets.
Be very careful when you’re around anything hot that can burn your skin. Burns, including sunburn, can be very painful and can take a long time to heal. Burns can also get infected easily. Sometimes, burns leave bad scars and permanently damage your skin. If you’re helping out in the kitchen, make sure you use hot pads or wear oven mitts to protect your hands when you’re grabbing something hot.
If you do get a cut or scratch, clean it right away with soap and warm water and put on a bandage to protect it while it heals. This keeps dirt and germs from getting into the wound and causing an infection. If you come into contact with a plant like poison ivy, wash your skin and clothing right away. If you develop a rash, ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter medicines. For severe rashes, you might need to see your doctor.
Have additional questions about your skin? Talk to your doctor.