Four tips to protect your skin

08 July 2024 | Comment(s) |

Livia Zimmermann

The skin is the largest organ in the human body and performs a number of functions. It regulates our body temperature, activates our immune system, protects the body against water loss and against environmental influences such as germs and UV rays. In summer, the skin is exposed to the sun and its UV rays, which are considered to be the main cause of skin cancer. It is therefore essential to protect yourself sufficiently to prevent skin cancer.

So what is skin?

The skin has a surface area of around 1.8 square metres, weighs between 3.5 and 10 kg and is considered to be the largest organ in the human body.

In short, the skin has four vital functions:

  • Sensory organ: The skin has countless sensory cells and receptors that allow us to "feel", whether it's touch, heat, cold or pain. It is therefore considered to be the largest sensory organ in the human body.
  • Protective function: Our skin protects our bodies from heat, light, injury and pathogens.
  • Temperature control: Our body temperature is regulated by our skin, and perspiration allows our body to cool down.
  • Water regulation: What's more, our skin can store water and fat and produces vitamin D, which it then supplies to our body.

How can I keep my skin healthy?

1. A healthy diet and plenty of water

Our skin regenerates itself and the outermost cell layers are constantly being renewed. This process, which involves the whole body, takes about a month. To enable the skin to fulfil its function, it draws its energy and its components from our daily diet. That's why a balanced, healthy and varied diet is essential for healthy skin.

Water gives volume to our cells. If we lose too much fluid, we end up with dry skin. It is therefore recommended to drink 2 to 2.5 litres of fluid a day (water or unsweetened tea). 

2. Getting enough sleep

Most of the skin's cell renewal takes place at night. A lack of sleep results in a dull complexion, dark circles and red eyes. The concentration of growth hormones increases during deep sleep, and these repair damaged cells. For an adult's skin to recover optimally, we need around seven to eight hours' sleep.

3. Care and protection

Skin care and cleansing are also important. Make-up, perspiration and skin oils need to be removed daily so as not to clog pores and prevent bacteria from multiplying. Exfoliating removes skin flakes and sebum deposits, and regular massage stimulates blood circulation.

And don't forget to protect yourself properly from the sun. UV rays cause the skin to age more rapidly, and every sunburn increases the risk of developing skin cancer. That's why we should always protect our skin (sun cream, long clothing, sun hat), avoid the sun at midday and apply moisturizer to our skin afterwards.

4. Avoiding pollutants

As well as the sun's harmful UV rays, there are other substances that are harmful to the skin. Alcohol dehydrates the body and skin, accelerating skin ageing. Nicotine and stress reduce blood flow to the skin. Sugar makes the skin more vulnerable to pimples and inflammation. To keep your skin healthy, you need to avoid these harmful substances.

What is skin cancer?

Skin cancer refers to a variety of malignant skin tumours that can develop anywhere on the body. A distinction is made between white skin cancer and black skin cancer. Black skin cancer is less common, but is often malignant. Skin cancer can become dangerous if it forms metastases or develops in major organs. Early detection and treatment increase the chances of recovery.

White skin cancer often appears on areas of the face exposed to the sun: sides of the nose, forehead, ears, lower lip, neck, forearms, back of the feet or hands.

In addition to UV rays, other risk factors include frequent visits to the solarium, pigmented spots or moles, previous cases of skin cancer in the family, a weak immune system, contact with carcinogenic substances (tar, arsenic, etc.) or chronic skin inflammation.

Quelques règles pour plus de confort

How do you recognise skin cancer?

You can refer to the ABCDE rule to spot the warning signs.

Asymmetry: the shape of the spot is asymmetrical, irregular, i.e. neither round nor oval.

Border: the borders are irregular or not well defined. The edge is frayed, blurred or jagged.

Colour: when a healthy pigmented mole develops into skin cancer, its colour usually changes. It is unevenly pigmented or takes on an unusual colour (bluish, white or flesh-coloured).

Diameter: when the diameter is larger than 5 mm.

Evolution: change in size, colour or shape over time.

Skin cancer does not always have all these characteristics. On the other hand, scabs or sores that do not heal within four weeks are typical of white skin cancer.

It is therefore important to carry out regular self-checks and consult your dermatologist for early detection of skin cancer.

Livia Zimmermann

About the author

Livia Zimmermann

Cheffe de projet Communication

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