Your skin can tell others so much about you: how old you are, how tired you are, if you're stressed, if you're malnourished or ill, and even if you aren't sleeping well. When presenting yourself to others, great skin can give you as much confidence as an elegant dress or a sharp new suit. Your skin is your body's largest organ and weighs about six pounds. All three of your skin's layers--the epidermis, the dermis and the basal--are involved in creating new skin cells, and all of them need special care.
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Investigate skin at the cellular level and you will find that millions of skin cells are being made every day, and begin at the basal, or deepest level. These cells divide and produce plump, new skin cells that will begin to move up through your skin's layers with the help of collagen, which is a protein that gives your skin its resilience and strength, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Skin cells are constantly growing. living, dying and sloughing off to make way for new skin cells to emerge. This continual process is fueled by a body that is well-nourished by vitamins, minerals, hydration, oxygen and antioxidants.
Feed your cells what they need to form properly. The National Institutes of Health, or NIH, reports that a healthy diet is crucial for healthy skin cell development. The vitamins NIH recommends for helping to make healthy skin cells naturally are A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins, especially B3, also known as niacin. Minerals recommended include copper, zinc and selenium. These nutrients can be found in a variety of lean meats, poultry, fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes and nuts. If you cannot be diligent every day about the variety of foods in your diet, take a quality multivitamin/mineral supplement to ensure you receive the recommended daily allowances. Don't forget the water--eight to 10 glasses each day--because your skin cells need hydration to form and stay plump. These diet choices also help the blood vessels in your dermis to support the active growth of new skin cells.
Show the world your best epidermis, or top layer, which is made up of a protein called keratin, made of dead skin cells. These dead cells protect your skin from the sun, infection and injury. If not sloughed off, they begin to form layers and skin will look dull and uneven in tone. You can help new skin cells rise to the surface faster by exfoliation. Mydr.com explains the action of exfoliating is three-fold: it scrubs away dead skin cells, unblocks pores and stimulates new cell turnover. Natural exfoliators can be anything with a "natural" abrasive action against your skin such as sea salt, oatmeal, sugar crystals, chopped nuts, baking soda mixed with water and coffee grounds. Skinway.com recommends trying these natural abrasives with other natural skin healers, such as honey, beaten egg whites, lemon juice and crushed tomatoes. Try different combinations of ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen, until you find several that work well for you. Recipes for homemade scrubs abound on the Internet.
Sleep at least seven hours every night. Your skin needs sleep to rejuvenate and repair itself and to help new skin cells be created. In an article published in the Los Angeles Times, journalist Alexandra Drosu reports that sleep deprivation weakens the immune system, which can lead to multiple skin problems. In an interview with Dr. Howard Murad, a board-certified dermatologist, Drosu quoted the skin expert as saying, “the most important thing you can do for your skin may be getting a great night's sleep."