Our skin has an important job to do, it has many functions and is the body’s largest organ. It acts as a barrier and protects our bodies from harmful things such as germs, the cold and sun rays. The features of our skin change over time and as a person ages factors such as exposure to sunlight and wind can leave skin that is uncovered to become dry and wrinkled.

Skin is made up of 3 layers which have different functions.
• Epidermis – this is the thin, outer layer of the skin
• Dermis – the middle layer of the skin
• Hypodermis – a subcutaneous fat layer and the deepest layer of the skin

The epidermis is thickest on the hands and feet and thinnest over the eyelids. The cells that make up the epidermis are continually being shed and replaced by new cells which are made in the lower levels of the epidermis. It’s primary function is to protect your body ensuring that bacteria and other infections are kept out and water and nutrients are kept in.

The dermis is the layer underneath the epidermis and is much thicker. The dermal layer contains elastin, which makes your skin flexible and it contains numerous important structures such as sweat glands, blood vessels, hair follicles and nerve endings.

The third layer is the hypodermis, this layer of fatty tissue helps keep your body from getting too hot or too cold. It adds padding to the body to protect your bones acting as a shock absorber. It is also a storage space for energy that your body can use when it needs it.

How to look after your skin
1 Protect it from the sun. Always apply a sun screen with an SPF for your skin type. Stay out of the sun during the hottest hours of the day.
2 When getting out of the shower or bath gently pat your skin dry with a towel. Do not rub the skin as this can contribute to dry skin.
3 Keep it hydrated – drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to ensure your body receives sufficient amounts of water.
4 Eat healthy, well balanced meals. Ensure that you are eating at least five portions of fruits and vegetables every day as this can help you maintain healthy looking skin.
5 Get your beauty sleep. When you get enough sleep your skin will look more radiantly healthy. Everyone is different but going to bed and getting up at the same time everyday and sleeping for around 8 hours works well for most people.

Handmade soap can contribute to healthier looking skin as typically it contains oils and butters that are rich in antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins. It also contains glycerine which is naturally produced during the soap making process and brings with it moisturising properties. Keeping your skin moisturised is very important to keep it healthy and using handmade soap is one of the ways you can achieve this.

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