Let’s start with two questions:
1. What do your heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys have in common with skin?
2. What common traits do humans and armadillos share?
Keep in mind, part of this blog is dedicated to improved health, through behavior and habit modifications based on filling your head with knowledge (image alert – like a bad head cold in mid July).
Most people recognize from an early age that your heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys are considered your internal organs and are thus very, very important to your continued survival. Did you know that your skin is also considered an organ? That’s right, it too is an organ. The problem is when giving due consideration to taking care of our health, unlike our internal organs, our skin gets little or no love.
Physiologically speaking, your skin is like a super organ, and it does a great many things to keep us alive. Like an armadillo’s leathery shell, our skin is our primary armor against disease and infections; it provides protection against big bugs like spiders, ants, and bees, and small invaders which are usually the most deadly, like a virus or bacteria.
Just how super is your skin? Close your eyes and consider how much information your skin is transmitting to your brain every second of every day. From your head to your toes, your skin has varying degrees of nerves. It also has specialized areas such as the skin on your hands or soles of your feet which are super sensitive to allow the development of our fine motor skills. Even the hair on your arms and legs provide tactile information through the nerves in your skin. Through our skin, we can experience the greatest of pleasure and the most intense pains.
Behavior modification alert ahead, read with caution!
Believe it or not, our skin is not indestructible. At least one famous senator from Arizona would probably back me up when I say “cover up.” Our skin provides us with vitamin “D” through exposure to the sun which is essential to life. But have you ever heard it said, “too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing?” UV radiation, which also comes from the sun, damages skin. The cumulative effect of intense exposure to the sun causes damage, and eventually skin cancer, over time. Whether light, fair, or dark skinned, none of us are immune to the ill effects of ultra-violet (UV) radiation.
So what else do you need to do? Pucker up and cover up! That’s right, when protecting your skin from the sun, don’t forget your lips.
Sun block or clothing, you choose. After all is said and done, if you don’t, it could cost you some skin! And that is an expensive price to pay.