Sharing moments Young adults Bye bye Hotel Mum How you feel at home Semester abroad Language course abroad or work as an au pair? Be prepared Grassrooted The world’s calling Make an impression Contraception Vegan diet Planning a family Tracking fertility The right time? How men can help Fertility and diet Medical check-up What you need to know about ovulation What to do if you don’t conceive straight away Three electronic fertility and cycle trackers in comparison Planning a family and partnership Pregnancy Examinations during pregnancy Diet and nutrition Is my pregnancy progressing normally? Tips for daily life Important points for travel and holidays Is my pregnancy progressing normally? What items do I need for my baby? Where and how do I want to give birth? What do I need to pack for the hospital? How should I prepare my home for my child? Is my pregnancy progressing normally? How can I best prepare for my baby? How can I best prepare for the birth? Nutrition Parent-child relationship Preparing for breastfeeding | Sanitas Magazine Insurance Stretch marks Sleep Rupture of membranes Baby blues High-risk pregnancy Braxton Hicks & false labour Formalitites Morning sickness Family rooms Our baby Bathing baby – what you need to know How babies hear Infant first-aid kit Baby care Is my baby developing normally? Month-to-month overview of baby development Is my baby developing normally? Month-to-month overview of baby development Baby care Breastfeeding Celebrating and enjoyment Christmas and New Year’s Eve with a twist A philosophical take on pleasure Pleasure can also be found in the soup kitchen in Zurich Tips for a peaceful and stress-free Christmas Living better with cardiac insufficiency Alejandro Iglesias Hana Disch Patrizio Orlando Other countries Hay fever Everyday help In pursuit of happiness Seven tips for a happier daily life Kids in lockdown Online addiction Be active Active during pregnancy Sport and exercise during pregnancy Antenatal exercise classes Standing properly Healthy eating Green smoothies Vitamin D Good eggs, bad eggs Diet plan Healthy fats Feed your muscles How much sugar should we eat a day? How much fat should we eat a day? Lactose intolerance Healthy diet, strong immune system Low Carb Healthy heart Interview with Christophe Wyss Heart-friendly sports How the mind affects the heart Taking blood pressure correctly High blood pressure: what you need to know Healthy teeth Changing habits Interview Stortpsychologie 10-step guide to changing habits Try, try, try again Running coaching Running ABC Race in Sarnen Factors affecting condition Weekly planner Running shoes Strengthening exercises Running nutrition Complementary sport Warm-up Stretching Functional clothing Fitness tracker Shopping – sportswear Running tips for women Relaxation technique Recovery New lease of life thanks to Sanitas running coaching Running training The first half marathon Training and heart rate Running Ticks Sport after childbirth Postnatal exercise Taking the strain off your shoulders Kangatraining Workout while walking Expert tips Stress and relaxation Moving air Fight stress with yoga What is stress Learn how to relax Dealing with stress What is burnout? “The first step was to create boundaries” Juggling family and a career Reduce stress Stressor factors The most beautiful Swiss saunas Sweating in the sauna Breathing exercises for relaxation The right rest & recovery: debunking myths Mindfulness Sleep Trend sports Fitness boxing Slackline Bouldering Fascia training Stand Up Paddling Keeping fit efficiently Swing with a smile! Vertical workout Hiking Altitude sickness Seven stroller-friendly hikes Needed: a hiking-friendly pushchair There goes the other sole! Tips on hiking with a baby Mountain lakes Planning a family: Fertility and exercise Stair climbing Pumptrack Your back Kids’ back Back exercises Sitting properly at work Forest fun Playing for life Promoting health and fitness Motivation Sledging Curling glossary What do you get if you cross a kite with snow? Snowshoeing Preventing falls Inline skating Swimming Swimming Wings for Life Stretching Bike tips Stretching exercises for cyclists koerper-und-kaelte Healthy teeth thanks to dental hygiene and preventive care Putting wishes into practice Tips for healthy teeth Hometraining Investigating teeth-related myths 10 tips to ease anxiety Hand care How our body regenerates Bauchübungen Keeping fit on holiday Swim training aids Wie viel Sport ist gesund Living together today Digital life Online addiction Digital temptation Children and digital media Smartphone neck Our brains love habit Change my habits? You’re joking! Planning a family: Difficulties trying to have a baby Planning a family: Myth vs fact Solidarity study Newcomers Living together tomorrow Digital nomads Giesserei multi-generation house The blind film director Help instead of rent Working on the move Medical practices of the future Our skin – layer by layer Generational discussion: wishes for life Hausarzt und Corona Safe return to work Corona crisis: singing together Corona crisis: Working in intensive care Corona crisis: working in a nursing home Rest and recovery: learning from children Corona crisis: voluntary work for the needy Second opinion Relationships and children Gute Nacht! Drei Fragen, die uns den Schlaf rauben Outing Developments for the future App check Aqualert SRC blood donor Codecheck Forest Freedom Freeletics Moment Sleep Better PeakFinder Findery Six fitness apps reviewed Internet use High-tech trousers Prostheses Hospital of the future New skin for burns victims Online-Therapien Sanitas newsletter

Our skin – layer by layer

As the largest organ in our body, our skin is full of vital functions in each layer. It envelopes us, protects us and helps us breathe and regulate our body temperature.

Text: Janine Radlingmayr; photo: Nathan Dumlao / Unsplash

Without skin, we would be entirely at the mercy of the elements and all of life’s events: cold, rain, heat, injuries, infections, sun and wind. In dangerous situations, it warns us with pain.

Functions of the skin

The surface of the skin, which is around 1.7 square metres in an adult, plays a crucial role in our survival. Three million sweat glands help the body keep cool during physical activity and in hot temperatures by producing up to 10 litres of sweat. As the sweat evaporates, it cools the skin and helps the blood maintain a tolerable temperature.

And the skin doesn’t only react to heat. If the body is cold, tiny muscles at the hair roots in the skin contract to create goosebumps. However, this reflex no longer offers effective protection against the cold, because humans today don’t have enough hair. Our furry ancestors benefited from a cosy layer when their dense body hair was activated.

Structures of the skin layers

From the outside, we only see part of the two billion or so skin cells that protect us. Our skin has a complex design. Every single layer of skin has its own structure: On the surface it is callused, while the dermis is criss-crossed with fine blood vessels, and the subcutis consists of loose connective tissue.

Each of the three layers of the skin have different functions:
The upper layer (epidermis) fends off pathogens. For this to work, the thin, protective horny layer, which is 0.1 mm thick, renews itself completely every four weeks.In contrast, the dermis , with its blood and lymph vessels and millions of nerve cells, is much thicker. It is thanks to this layer that we can feel touch and perceive sensations such as pain, temperature and pressure. It is also the job of the dermis to supply the epidermis with nutrients and oxygen.The fatty tissue in the subcutis stores energy and protects us against cold, pressure and shocks to our internal organs. The sebaceous and sweat glands are also found in this layer. While the sebaceous glands produce the protective film for the skin’s surface, the sweat glands help with heat regulation and the body’s defence.

Our skin is a miracle whose properties are used for a great many functions.

Our skin as a mirror of our soul

The skin also reveals our inner selves. Through our skin we involuntarily communicate with the outside world and express our feelings: we go pale with fear, blush with shame or get red blotches when we’re nervous. Many people see the skin as a mirror of our soul, and it’s true that symptoms of skin diseases can worsen when we’re stressed or worried.

Internal and external skin care

Our skin is our protective shield, so it goes without saying that we have to protect and care for it. Spots and a sallow complexion are evidence that some habits are bad for our skin.

  • Poor nutrition leaves visible traces. Unhealthy eating habits can lead to oily and impure skin, and foods with a high sugar or fat content can damage the skin’s appearance.
  • Drinking plenty of water – at least two litres a day – helps prevent dry skin. The skin will look healthier after just a few days. This doesn’t apply to alcohol, which weakens the connective tissue in the long term and causes the skin to lose its elasticity
  • Staying away from nicotine keeps the skin fresh, because smoking causes the blood vessels to contract, thus impairing the blood supply to the skin. Collagen fibres, which keep the skin elastic, lose their elasticity faster.
  • Eating as much fresh fruit and vegetables as possible such as carrots, tomatoes, broccoli and peppers nourishes the skin from within. A varied and balanced diet automatically supplies the skin with all the vitamins and minerals it needs.
  • Sleep well for a good complexion: While we sleep, regeneration processes take place throughout the body including the skin.
  • Sun, hot water, exhaust fumes and heated air are bad for the skin, so we need to take care of it through regular gentle cleaning and moisturising as necessary. It’s important to pay attention to the individual needs of the skin, so we have to choose the right face care products, apply the right sun protection factor and use the right amount of product.