How is your skin made?
Know its structure and functions. Know Your Skin

The skin is the largest organ of the body and is made up of multiple layers of cells   that are constantly going through self shedding and regeneration once every 30 days. The skin is made up of 3 main layers: Epidermis, Dermis and Subcutaneous or hypodermis. These layers are held together by the protein, collagen and elastin fibres. Collagen provides durability and strength. Time taken for deepest layer to come to the top is 45-75 days.


The epidermis is the outer layer of skin. The thickness of the epidermis varies in different types of skin. It is the thinnest on the eyelids at .05 mm and the thickest on the palms and soles at 1.5 mm.

The epidermis contains 5 layers. From bottom to top the layers are named:

  • stratum basale
  • stratum spinosum
  • stratum granulosum
  • stratum licidum
  • stratum corneum

The bottom layer, the stratum basale, has cells that are shaped like columns. In this layer the cells divide and push already formed cells into higher layers. As the cells move into the higher layers, they flatten and eventually die.

The top layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, is made of dead, flat skin cells that shed about every 2 weeks

Specialized Epidermal Cells

There are three types of specialized cells in the epidermis.

  • The melanocyte produces pigment (melanin)
  • The Langerhans’ cell is the frontline defense of the immune system in the skin
  • The Merkel’s cell’s function is not clearly known


The dermis also varies in thickness depending on the location of the skin. It is .3 mm on the eyelid and 3.0 mm on the back. The dermis is composed of three types of tissue that are present throughout – not in layers. The types of tissue are:

  • collagen
  • elastic tissue
  • reticular fibers

Layers of the Dermis

The two layers of the dermis are the papillary and reticular layers.

  • The upper, papillary layer, contains a thin arrangement of collagen fibers.
  • The lower, reticular layer, is thicker and made of thick collagen fibers that are arranged parallel to the surface of the skin.

Specialized Dermal Cells
The dermis contains many specialized cells and structures.

  • The hair follicles are situated here with the erector pili muscle that attaches to each follicle.
  • Sebaceous (oil) glands and apocrine (scent) glands are associated with the follicle.
  • This layer also contains eccrine (sweat) glands, but they are not associated with hair follicles.
  • Blood vessels and nerves course through this layer. The nerves transmit sensations of pain, itch, and temperature.
  • There are also specialized nerve cells called Meissner’s and Vater-Pacini corpuscles that transmit the sensations of touch and pressure.

Subcutaneous Tissue

The subcutaneous tissue is a layer of fat and connective tissue that houses larger blood vessels and nerves. This layer is important is the regulation of temperature of the skin itself and the body. The size of this layer varies throughout the body and from person to person.

The skin is a complicated structure with many functions. If any of the structures in the skin are not working properly, a rash or abnormal sensation is the result. The whole specialty of dermatology is devoted to understanding the skin, what can go wrong, and what to do if something does go wrong.

These are fat cells that conserve body heat while protecting other organs from injury. They provide a cushioning effect and are a source of energy in lean times.

Thickness of layer varies – the thinnest layer is on our eyelids making them light and flexible, the thickest is on our hands and feet for gripping.

Functions of Skin

This skin provides a protective layer for organs and tissues from pathogens, heat and light. It regulates body temperature. It stores water, fat and Vitamin D and has touch receptors that sense pain or pleasure. Skin is an excretory and absorption organ.

Skin has a natural moisturising factor (NMF). Teen skin is prone to oiliness as hormones are regulating. At 20-30 years skin cell turnover provides optimum condition. At 30-40 years cell turnover starts to decrease and fine lines start to appear. At 40-50 years skin becomes more dry. Over 50 years of age, cell turnover drops by 50% resulting in flaky patches and deeper lines.

The skin may be sensitive. Sensitive skin reddens easily due to environmental changes or cosmetic products. Skin can become permanently sensitive due to allergy, shaving, and use of skin care productscontaining alpha hydroxy and retinoic acid skin.

Skin has several jobs

  • It holds the body together
  • It stops water and body fluids from leaking out of the body.
  • It stops germs and dirt from getting into the body.
  • It senses how things feel (touch).
  • It can sense the temperature of things.
  • It can tell you when you have been hurt (pain).
  • It is waterproof so that rain slides off.


Skin can be divided into various types according to its texture. It is essential to know the various types of skin, so that  its treatment can be done accordingly.

  • Normal skin
  • Dry skin
  • Oily skin
  • Combination skin
  • Sensitive skin

Normal Skin

It has a fine even texture with a supple and smooth surface. It has a proper balance between oil and moisture contents and is therefore moist and neither greasy nor dry. It looks clear and does not develop spots and blemishes. The pores of the skin are fine and barely visible. It reflects good health and needs gentle treatment.

Dry skin

Dry skin has a dry parched appearance and has a tendency to flake easily. It is prone to wrinkles and lines. It is due to the inability to retain moisture as well as the insufficient production of sebum by  the sebaceous glands. Dry skin often has problems in cold weather and ages faster than normal or oily skin. Constant protection is very important. It needs a moisturizer during the day and a good cream at night.

Oily skin

This type of skin is caused by the over secretion of sebum making the skin surface oily. The excess oil on the surface of  the skin attracts dirt and dust from the environment. oily skin is also prone to black heads, white heads, spots, pimples and such skin will never be clear. This type of skin needs to be cleansed thoroughly.

Combination skin

This type of skin is very common. As the name suggests, it is a combination of both oily and dry skin with certain areas of the face oily and the rest dry. Usually there  is a Central greasy panel consisting of the forehead, nose and  chin and a dry panel consisting of cheeks and the areas around the eyes and mouth. The greasy central panel is referred to as T – Zone. In such cases, each part of the face should be treated accordingly – the dry areas as for dry skin and the central panel as for oily skin.

Sensitive skin

This type of skin has a fine texture and is very sensitive to changes in the climate. They show the disadvantage of bleaching, Waxing, threading etc.

Choosing Your Skin Type

The best way to get the most out of your natural skin care products is to choose them on the basis of your skin type.

There are four basic skin types: oily, normal, dry and sensitive. When it comes to the skin of the face and neck, most people have a combination of two or more of these, so when choosing your skin care products consider how each product is going to affect your skin.

How to choose your skin type

Indicators Normal / Dry Normal / Oily Sensitive
Pore size fine enlarged, especially on nose and chin average
Blemishes rare occasional or often occasionally. Tends to rashes and reacts often
Excess oil rare develops an oily sheen throughout the day seldom a problem
Sun sensitivity seldom burns or readily burns tans easily and generally does not burn readily burns and becomes inflamed
Condition taut, flaky soft and supple red, irritated, flaky and itchy
Lines many around mouth and eyes minimal few

Problems and tests

Take the tests to see if you have any problems with your skin

Test No.1

Run a pencil over your cheeks and neck with gentle force, if this results in reddening or swelling, you have very sensitive skin.

Test No.2

Press a small mirror against various parts of your face, if you have a dry skin, only a very slight touch of grease will show on the mirror surface, With combination skin, more grease will show when using the mirror on the middle part of the face. Greasy skin is recognizable by obtaining greasy spots from the cheeks.

Dark Skin
Dark skin Information


Complexion is something that we do not deliberately choose. Infact, it is natural. In the present times, more and more people are becoming beauty conscious. It is owing to this fact that dark skin has become a cause of worry for many. Some people have a naturally dark skin, while others experience darkening of skin due to several factors like hyper pigmentation.

When there is excess of skin pigment called melanin in the body, it leads to darkening of skin.

Causes Of Dark Skin:

Genetic factors

The problem of dark skin is hereditary and passes on from generation to generation

Hyper Pigmentation

When the skin produces excessive quantities of skin pigment called melanin, it causes the skin to become darker than usual.

Skin Disorders

Certain skin disorders like Lichen Simplex Chronicus, makes the skin look dark and patchy.

Over Exposure To Sunrays

Suntan is one of the most common skin problems, in which the skin turns dark due to overexposure to sunrays.

Home Remedy for Dark Skin

Dark Skin home remedy treatment is quite effective. Following are some Dark Skin cure home remedies. Read on for home remedy for Dark Skin:

  • Prepare a natural skin pack by mixing 1 tsp of milk powder, 1 tsp of honey, 1 tsp of lemon juice, and ½ tsp of almond oil. Apply the pack on face and wash it off after 10-15 minutes. It is an effective remedy to lend glow to the skin.

  • Take a raw potato and cut fine slices. Place a potato slice on your face. It will help in removing the tan and improving your skin tone.

  • Make a paste using limejuice and turmeric powder. Apply it on your face. It acts as fabulous natural bleach.

  • Mix dry orange peels with curd and apply on the blemishes. Wash it off with cold water after 15 minutes.


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Skin Cancer


Skin cancers are the most common form of cancer in the West, particularly in people such as farmers who are exposed to lots of sunlight. One form of skin cancer, malignant melanoma, can spread to other organs very rapidly. Successful treatment depends on catching the disease in the early stages.

Cancers An abnormal or uncontrolled growth of the cells that make up the skin can be benign or malignant. If this growth is able to invade neighbouring tissues or spread to distant organs in the body (metastasise), it is known as malignant.

Types of skin cancer

The main types of malignant skin cancer are:

  • malignant melanoma

  • basal cell carcinoma (BCC)

  • squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)

Basal and squamous cell carcinomas are often grouped together and referred to as non-melanoma skin cancer. The main risk factor for any type of skin cancer is exposure to the intense ultraviolet light of sunshine. It is particularly common in places where the sun is strong, such as Australia, and less common in people with dark skin.

Factors that increase the risk tend to have:

  • a family history of skin cancer

  • skin which has a lot of moles

  • fair skin and blue eyes

  • freckles

  • skin that burns easily

  • skin that has been badly sunburned in the last five years

  • skin exposed intermittently to strong sunshine (or sun beds)

The three layers of skin

Normal skin
The skin is made up of three layers: the outer epidermis, the dermis below this and the supporting subcutaneous layer of loose tissue and fat – see diagram. Cells in any of these layers can be the origin of a cancerous growth.

Skin growths
These are not cancers. Benign skin growths include warts, moles, or corns, which are rarely serious problems. There are other, less common benign skin problems that can become malignant. These include: Bowen’s disease: A pre-cancerous skin condition which looks like a red scaly area of skin, and is restricted to the epidermis. If left untreated, it can develop into a squamous cell carcinoma. Actinic keratosis: This is a small lump of hard skin, commonly seen in areas exposed to the sun. The condition is usually harmless, but there is a very small risk of them transforming into squamous cell carcinomas.

Malignant skin cancers
Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) Also known as a rodent ulcer, this is the most common form of malignant skin cancer. A BCC arises from cells in the epidermis. Typically it affects only small areas, grows slowly and does not spread to other tissues. Consequently a BCC is not usually life-threatening. However, if left untreated, the cancerous cells can grow deeper into the skin. BCCs are associated with sun-exposure and often affect the face.

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) This is the second most common malignant skin cancer, and in rare cases it can be life-threatening. They arise from cells in the epidermis and spread into the surrounding skin, but can also spread to nearby lymph nodes. SCCs appear as thickened skin, nodules or lumps, or can appear as an ulcer. They can be caused by sun exposure and certain viruses that affect the skin, and can occur in old scars. Malignant melanoma This is a particularly dangerous form of skin cancer and often spreads to other tissues or organs. Although it can develop from moles in the skin, most melanomas arise from a pigment-producing cell found in the epidermis. Melanomas resemble moles on the skin, but there are differences. The following list of features can help distinguish a melanoma from a normal mole.

  • asymmetry: A melanoma skin lesion is usually an irregular shape.

  • border: The outline of a melanoma is ragged rather than smoothly defined

  • colour: There is a variation of colour within the lesion.

  • diameter: The lesion is bigger than 6mm across and/or has increased in size recently.

  • elevation: The lesion is raised above the surface of the skin.

Other features which may indicate skin cancer include any spot that changes in size, shape, or colour; itches, bleeds or forms an ulcer. Although these signs do not necessarily indicate skin cancer, you should visit your doctor to have it assessed as soon as possible.

How is skin cancer diagnosed? If skin cancer is suspected, your doctor may recommend a biopsy, which involves removing a sample of the skin from the affected area for examination under a microscope. If necessary, you will be referred to a skin specialist (dermatologist), a cancer specialist (oncologist) or a plastic surgeon. If there is a risk that the cancer may have spread to other organs, other tests such as CT or MRI scans, and X-rays may be needed to check for this.

Prevention Be “sun aware”. To reduce the risk of skin cancer, minimise your exposure to the sun. Always use sunscreens, wear protective clothing and remain in the shade as much as possible, and especially between 11a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun is at its strongest. Don’t use sunbeds. Be vigilant: the earlier a skin cancer is identified and treated then the better the outcome. You should show your doctor any skin lesion, which is unusual, new or changing shape as soon as possible.


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Natural Skin care And Beauty Tips

Natural skin care and beauty recipes like face-packs, facial masks and scrubs, based on herbs and natural ingredients provide natural oil and moisture to the skin and help to get flawless skin and beauty.

Skin Care

Skin Care : Cleansing

Clean your skin every evening – The skin pores get blocked dut to exposure to air pollutions, wind, sun, air conditioning, dirt and grime from our fingers.

It is really important to remove stale make-up, perspiration, dirt, dust, excess oil etc. Use a good, natural cleanser that removes only the impurities without stripping the skin of nutrients and moisture.

Wipe your face with a piece of cotton wool dipped in milk (unboiled or not heated). Almond oil is a good cleanser for skin under the eyes.

Clay Masks
Clay helps to deep cleanse and draw out impurities and to soften and condition the skin.

Skin Care : Moisturising

Moisturing helps to protect your skin from daily pollutants. Moisturising morning and evening with a natural moisturiser will hydrate, moisturise and protect your skin.

For a moisturizing and nourishing mask, blend a mashed banana with white cosmetic clay and apply.

For normal skin care, mix 1 cup yogurt, 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1 tablespoon lemon juice and apply it on your face. Clean it off after 20 minutes.

For dry skin care, use a mixture of cooked oatmeal and honey; it is a very good moisturizer and cleansing agent.

Body Care

For Hands: Mash a banana with some butter and rub on your hands.
Before Shower:
Body brushing helps exfoliate, tone and stimulate the skin as well as helping the natural drainage of our lymph glands. Dry body brushing before a shower with a natural bristle brush. Always brush upwards to the heart in quick, rhythmic strokes and brush down to the heart when you reach the shoulder/neck area.
After Shower: Apply body lotion. Water is a natural hydration for the skin.

Natural Skin Care Tips 

  • Avoid excessive exposure to sun. It may result in sunburn. Read the treatment for sunburn.

  • Avoid excessive use of cosmetics. Health experts say that excessive usage of cosmetics by children enhances their risk to various types of cancer and other problems later in life. Most of cosmetic products use potentially dangerous chemicals like parabens and phthalates. The parabens chemical have been recently found in breast cancer tissues. This chemical can affect the hormone oestrogen. The phthalates are linked to lower sperm counts in men, premature breast development and allergies.

  • Regular sleep gives our body the chance to work on repairing cells.

  • Regular Exercising and massage stimulates circulation and blood flow.

  • Drinking eight glasses of water a day keeps skin plump, hydrated and healthy. The body is composed of 70% water. Well hydrated skin is healthy and young looking.

  • Take only warm showers and stay away from prolonged sauna exposure.

  • Stay protected from the sun to prevent the skin from becoming dehydrated and the damaging effects of UV rays on the skin.

  • Eat a balanced diet, avoid foods high in fat, cholesterol and sodium.
    Follow an anti-aging diet rich in fruits and green leafy vegetables that are full of natural antioxidants. Antioxidants help prevent free-radical damageto the body. If you do not get enough antioxidants from your diet, then your skin cells could lose their ability to function well.

The antioxidants include ingredients such as vitamins A, C and E, flavonoids, beta carotene, selenium, glutathione and zinc. Eat foods high in antioxidants.

Homemade beauty care recipes like face-packs, facial masks and scrubs based on natural ingredients help improve the skin disorders like blemishes and acne scars. They provide natural oil and moisture to the skin.

Homemade Facial Masks

Making a facial mask at home is quite easy and inexpensive. You may have all the ingredients in your kitchen to make a fabulous natural “homemade facial mask”. Home made facial masks containing natural ingredients are quick and simple to create at home. In the following homemade facial masks for different type of skins i.e. oily skin, dry skin, combination skin, ageing skin, etc are given.

Homemade Facial Mask Recipes

Turmeric Facial Mask
This is the traditional mask, also used for a bride, seven days in advance of marriage.
Take in a cup half a cup of besan (gram flour), 2 tsp of turmeric powder, 2 tsp of sandal wood powder, 2 tsp of ghee or almond oil, add some water to make a paste. Apply to face and whole body and leave for 5-10 minutes. Rub with pressure with both palms and fingers to remove all the paste.

Honey Facial Mask
Rinse your face with warm water to open up the pores. Apply honey and leave for half an hour. Rinse with warm water, then use cold water to close the pores. Rinse with warm water, then use cold water to close the pores.

Oily Skin Mask
Mix 1 tsp. brewer’s yeast with plain yogurt to make a thin mixture. Apply it thoroughly into all the oily areas and leave for 15 – 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water, then use cold water to close the pores.

Dry Skin Mask
Mix 1 tsp. of butter in 1 teaspoon of water. Apply it thoroughly into all the dry areas and leave for 15 – 20 minutes. Rinse with cold water.

Banana Mask for wrinkles
Mash 1/4 banana until very creamy and apply on face and leave for 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water, then use cold water to close the pores.

Avocado Facial Mask
Mash the meat of the avocado into a creamy texture. Apply it thoroughly on face and leave for 15 – 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water, then use cold water to close the pores.

Oatmeal Facial Mask
Take 2 tsp oatmeal and 1 tsp baking soda and add water to make paste. Apply to face and all over the skin and rub gently.

Facial Mask
Squeeze half a lemon and mix the juice with one beaten egg white. Apply on your face and leave for overnight. Wash your face with warm water.

Clay Facial
Choose the right clay for your skin type. Add plain water or floral waters or try wetting agents such as fruit purees . Make a thick paste of the clay. Apply the mask to your skin and let it dry for 20 minutes. Rinse well with warm water and pat dry. Repeat weekly.

Multani (Gypsum) Mitti Body Mask
Make a paste of multani mitti adding water to the mitti powder. Apply to whole body and hair. Take bath after half an hour.

Grape Cleanser
Split 2-3 grapes and rub the flesh over face and neck. Rinse with cool water.

Banana Face Pack for Dry Skin
Mash half cup of natural yogurt, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1/4 ripe banana. Apply this pack on face and neck and leave for 10 minutes and then rinse off.

Cucumber Face Pack to get Smooth Skin
Mash 1 whole cucumber, strain water, add 1 tablespoon of sugar and mix well. Put in a container ,l keep refrigerated and take out whenever you want to use it. Apply on your face and leave for 10 minutes, then wash with cold water and enjoy the smoothness of your skin.

Facial Masks for Skin Types

Homemade Facial mask for normal skin

  • Make a paste of some powdered with milk or lemon juice if you want to fade spots on your skin.

  • Blend 1 egg white, 2 tsp vegetable oil and 1 tsp apple juice until smooth.

  • Mix 1 egg white, 1/2 cup cooked instant oatmeal and 1 tsp olive oil until smooth.

  • Apply a raw egg yolk and rinse with cold water. The high vitamin A content of egg is very effective in healing blemishes.

  • Mix well 2 parts milk,1 part fuller’s earth clay, 1 tsp honey and essential oil.

Homemade Face mask for oily skin

  • Blend 1/2 tsp lemon juice, 1 egg white, 1 tsp honey (heat in microwave for a few seconds to melt it), 2 strawberries and 2-3 drops eucalyptus oil or jojoba oil (optional).

  • Mix well a tsp of baking yeast in a some warm milk.

  • Make a paste by mixing some potato flour in tomato puree.

  • Rub some Milk of Magnesia, and let dry, then rinse with lukewarm water.

Homemade Facial mask for sensitive skin

Warm some hone to melt it, then apply. Leave the mask on for 20-25 minutes.

Homemade Face mask for dry skin

  • Mix ½ avocado (or 2 tsp avocado oil) with ¼ cup honey.

  • Mix 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp warm honey, some vitamin E oil (optional).

  • Blend 50g ripe avocado flesh, 25g orange juice, 1tsp honey, 1 tsp molasses and 4-5 drops of some essential oil.

Homemade Facial mask for combination skin

  • Mix 1 egg white, 1/2 cup cooked instant oatmeal and 1 teaspoon olive oil until smooth.

  • Rose Mask: This mask is good for both the oily and dry areas of your skin.
    Take Soak 5 rose petals and soak in water and then crush them. Add 2 Tbsp rosewater, 1 Tbsp yogurt and 1 Tbsp honey (heat in a microwave for a few second to melt it) and mix well.

Homemade Facial mask for ageing or maturing skin Take 3 Tbsp sugar and dissolve it in 4 Tbsp warm water.
This mask is good for maturing skin and will help soften the wrinkle lines.

Homemade Face mask for chapped or sunburned skin Mix 1 cup plain yogurt and ½ cup oatmeal and apply to the skin for 15 minutes.