Posted on: 20th Jan, 2017
Oily faces are the bane of women everywhere. We’re sure that, like us, you’ve looked at your shiny face in the mirror and thought “argh, WHY does this have to happen?” We’ve asked that exact same question, and happily, we found some answers! Oily skin is hereditary, and while it may not look the most flattering sometimes, there can actually be a ton of benefits.
The scientific name for the natural oil secreted by your skin is sebum, and it’s produced by the sebaceous glands between your hypodermis (your deepest layer of skin) and your epidermis (the outermost). Basically, its primary function is to create a barrier between you and your environment, and all the perils thereof. It lubricates and waterproofs our skin – hey, we’re naturally waterproof creatures! – and delivers essential nutrients where they’re needed.
One of these nutrients is vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that protects your skin from the visible and invisible effects of ageing and blood vessel diseases – primary symptoms of serious conditions like Alzheimer’s and various forms of cancer. The increased amount of antioxidants from the oil means that our skin has less of a tendency to get inflamed, meaning it’s automatically fighting off wrinkles, fine lines and pimples.
Sebum is also fantastic at fighting off the harmful effects of the sun. Thanks to its lubricating and thickening effect on your skin, it toughens up its resistance to ultraviolet rays and other stressors. By doing this, it supports and enhances the benefits of sunscreens and other preventative measures – as long as they’re effective in the first place. This same lubrication does wonders when you’re exercising, too. It keeps your skin hydrated, and prevent you from losing moisture. As any gym bunny knows, dehydration can have severe and often quite immediate effects on your body, ranging from exhaustion to fainting, which means that a substance that does half the work for you is not to be underestimated. If our skin didn’t hold moisture effectively, any meaningful exercise would be a lot more difficult, and in hot weather, quite possibly a lot more dangerous.
Apart from producing sebum, your skin also plays an essential role in producing vitamin D for your body. If you’re familiar with photosynthesis – and we imagine you probably are – they’re very similar processes, speaking in broad terms. Your skin contains a substance called provitamin D3 that needs UV rays to activate it, forming vitamin D. Once your skin has been exposed to these rays, your body gets to work producing vitamin D, which is essential for healthy living.
As you can probably infer, our skin is an amazing organ that does a ton of hard work for us. All it needs is a few easy steps to help it along. Eating plenty of fruit on a daily basis is one such measure, as well as getting out in the sun a bit. That might seem like a feat in Britain, especially in winter, but in the absence of any sort of sunlight, eating fish or eggs can give you a healthy dose of vitamins in the meantime. Meanwhile, be wary of scrubbing your skin too hard – especially on your face – and be wary of which face creams and health products you buy. While it might seem tempting, especially before a big night out, scrubbing your skin too hard can damage it more easily than you might think; undoing all the hard work it regularly does for itself.
For more information on how to avoid unnecessarily damaging your skin, read our post on the latest fad diets. Meanwhile, you can find more positive ways to move forward by reading about how to stick to your skincare resolutions.
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