What Is Healthy Skin?

Skin is our most amazing organ! Throughout our lifetime, it constantly recreates itself from non-specialized stem cells into a veritable beehive of highly specialized cells. These in turn form all of the various skin “parts” we have from our epidermal barrier, to dermal collagen, to the glands and hair follicles residing within our skin. Altogether, these affect the color, quality, hydration, health, and beauty of our outer covering, as well as greatly influencing our physical and mental well-being!

How our skin looks factors significantly into our human experience. Our perception of “beauty” is part of that human experience, and provides us deep connection that can be difficult to put into words — the cacophonous colors of a volcanic sunset, the misty majesty of the coast in fog, the angelic singing of a boys’ choir, the enduring awe of the frescoes of the masters, the transformative powers of truly timeless music, the cherubic face of a baby, and the breathtaking appearance of a heartthrob…

The Science of Beauty

Whether beauty in the physical sense is an evolutionary innateness which allows us to pick the healthiest and most fit partner, or whether our ability to create and appreciate beauty is a perk of being human, “beauty” indeed occupies a good deal of our attention.

Smooth skin, big eyes, full lips and symmetry appear to be features which are universally considered attractive, in all cultures and at all ages. Scientists have shown that babies spend more time looking at adult faces with these characteristics than faces lacking these. Likewise, beautiful people often get better jobs and make more money; and the heroes in movies tend to have good skin, whereas the “bad guys” have marred skin.

Skin Health

The oversight of healthy skin involves both treating skin disease and maintaining the healthy function and appearance of the outer layer by protecting the skin from damaging environmental influences.

Skin contains stem cells, which continue to make new skin throughout our lives. It retains the ability to be influenced by the agents we apply to our skin, which — happily — means that it is never too late to improve the health and beauty of our skin!

While a healthy diet is important, our bodies are not sophisticated enough to put more vitamins and growth factors into parts of the skin which have undergone environmental damage (such as our faces and necks) and less into skin that has been protected from the sun (such as our bottoms). Instead, nutrients are dispersed equally throughout our bodies and the excess is excreted or accumulates in fat, sometimes to toxicity.

The best way to repair skin disease or rejuvenate sun-damaged skin is to apply targeted skin treatments directly on the skin in the areas of sun damage.

Use the ABC's with a Broad Spectrum Suncreen

Now that you're preventing further problems, use the ABC's to release from your skin.

  • Retinoids: Vitamin A. These topical skin forms of vitamin A come in prescription and non-prescription varieties, and help combat - as well as multiple other skin issues - at a genetic level. Retinoids are widely considered the most important reparative molecules for skin.
  • Niacinamide: Vitamin B. A derivative of niacin, also known as B3, this powerful molecule not only helps to diminish and brighten skin, but also strengthens the skin barrier and protects it from the damaging effects of ultraviolet light.
  • Vitamin C. This key vitamin for skin is important for interrupting melanin formation, as well as a multitude of other benefits for skin health.

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Facts About Healthy Skin and “Beauty”

The Greeks and artists of the Renaissance Period had a particular interest in defining beauty, and used very precise mathematics to do so.

One of the most interesting discoveries of this effort was “phi,” the mathematical number given to the ratio of 1:1.618. It turns out, this number is a big part of how our brains recognize human beauty — whether in faces, teeth, ears, lips, body proportions, finger length, etc. —or in how we recognize beauty in flowers, architecture, plants, and much more.

Other facial proportions, such as the “5 eyes across” or “rule of thirds” are other mathematical proportions used by aesthetic/reconstructive physicians and artists alike to define and create or restore beauty.

“Rule of fives”, or sometimes called: “5 eyes across”. This is the concept that the width of one eye ought to equal that of the other eye, and that this same width ought to equal the space between the eyes, and on either side of each eye, so that the face has 5 equal spacings from left to right. If one’s eyes are too closely spaced, or too far apart, it is immediately recognized by the brain, and not considered aesthetically beautiful. Likewise, beauty is lost if the eyes are different sizes, and the face loses it’s youthful beauty if the temples are hollowed out and the peripheral spacing disappears.

“Rule of thirds”. This mathematical proportion refers to the face from the top to bottom, and implies that there should be the same length from hairline to root of nose, from root of nose to just below nose, and from just below the nose to chin. As we age, our face loses bone, muscle, and fat, and gravity pulls tissues downward, distorting these proportions. We often lose chin length, and develop a wider distance between the nose and lips. The rule of thirds also applies to the lips: ⅓ upper lip to ⅔ lower lip; the lips are reabsorbed to some degree during aging and lose this proportion.

These are all features our eye immediately identifies when assessing the quality of the skin:

Color :

  • Is the skin evenly colored? Is the color natural or overly-brown or sallow or red?

Evenness :

  • Is the skin smooth?
  • Are there scars or bumps on the skin?
  • Are there large pores?

Is the skin surface intact?

  • Are there pustules or open wounds?
  • Or are there dry patches, cracks, areas of thinning?

What is the skin’s texture :

  • Is it thick with a leathered appearance?
  • Are there deep or fine wrinkles?

Disease :

  • Is there obvious active acne, rosacea, dermatitis, melasma, precancerous or skin cancer?

Glow :

  • Is the skin reflecting light evenly and showing a healthy “glow” or is the skin dull and wrinkled or riddled with a yellowed cobblestone appearance from years in the sun?

But healthy skin is more than just what our eyes see, it’s also about what is going on under the surface. Skin cancers are the most prevalent of all cancers: both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are each more common than all other cancers combined! Melanoma is not as common as basal or squamous cell skin cancers, but it is the most deadly, accounting for more than 80% of all skin cancer deaths. And melanoma is on the rise: rates of melanoma in 1935 were 1in 1500 people; now rates are 1 in 50 and getting worse every year!

Whether you are aware of it or not, skin is affected by the way you treat it every day. It is up to you to choose to protect your skin, and regularly encourage it to repair and renew itself through the wise use of targeted skincare products. If you haven’t learned about the importance of protecting your skin from sun damage (the leading cause of skin cancer), click here to learn about the SkinHappy pyramid and what you can do for lifelong healthy skin.

Treatments For Healthy Skin

The most important thing you can do for healthy skin is protect it from the sun. Our recommended treatments all focus on sun-exposure prevention, and repairing the skin from sun damage. Read our special blog post on sunscreen and sun protection for in-depth information.

Non-Prescription Treatments For Healthy Skin

  • Wear protective covering when outdoors — sun-protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses
  • Use sunscreen every day, regardless of the weather
  • Retinoids. These skin forms of vitamin A come in prescription and non-prescription varieties, and help combat pigmentation — as well as multiple other skin issues — at a genetic level. Retinoids are widely considered the most important reparative molecules for skin
  • Vitamin C. This key vitamin for skin is important for interrupting melanin formation, as well as a multitude of other benefits for skin health.
  • Niacinamide. A derivative of niacin, also known as B3, this powerful molecule not only helps to diminish pigment and brighten skin, but also strengthens the skin barrier and protects it from the damaging effects of ultraviolet light.

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