All Shades of You

    What does it take to keep my skin perfect?

    Interview with Dangene sharing her expert advice on how to maintain a perfect skin tone for your complexion.

    All Shades of You - Part 1

    Why is skin so important? Our bodies are always talking to us, trying to communicate what they need. That beautiful, corporeal envelope we live in, the skin, is not only the body’s largest organ, it’s also one of the most vocal: it contains nerves that sense cold, heat, pain, pressure, and touch. It’s also our first line of defense: the skin regulates body temperature, protects against injury, and prevents infection.

    Q: What is the difference between first-, second-, and third-degree burns?

    The least severe type of burn, affecting only the outer layer of skin, first-degree burns are red and painful. They may swell and turn white when you press on them, and the affected skin may peel off in a day or two. Second-degree burns affect both the outer and the thicker, middle layer of skin. The skin usually blisters and the burn is painful. The most severe kind of burn, third-degree burns cause damage to all layers of the skin. The burned skin looks white or charred, and these burns may cause little or no pain if nerves are damaged.

    Q: How can I treat sunburn?

    The following measures may ease the discomfort of sunburn: applying a cold compress to the affected area(s); taking Tylenol (acetaminophen), aspirin, or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (ibuprofen) like Motrin, to relieve discomfort and inflammation; and applying a cooling gel like aloe vera or an over-the-counter 1% hydrocortisone cream to the affected area. In addition, our LED lights are fantastic for sunburns.

    Q: How are skin problems diagnosed?

    We uncover many problems by paying attention to symptoms and closely examining the skin. For medical diagnoses, we send clients to the doctor. A variety of skin tests may diagnose various skin problems such as bacterial, viral, or fungal infections. A skin biopsy may be performed to differentiate between rashes, malignant (cancerous) cells, and benign (noncancerous) growths.

    Q: What determines skin color?

    All humans, regardless of race, have melanin, the pigment that determines color. The amount of this pigment present in the skin and how it is distributed determine the difference in skin tone between people of different races—and between people of the same race. More specifically, everyone has the same number of melanocytes, the cells that make melanin. But it’s the melanosomes, organelles which contain the melanin, that determine skin shade. Some people have denser and larger melanosomes, which make their skin darker. The denser and closer together the melanosomes are, the more protection the skin is afforded from skin cancer. People with darker skin are born with SPF13.

    Q: Age spots should really be called "sun spots."

    Those brown spots that tend to crop up with age have little to do with the passing years and far more to do with soaking up the sun’s rays They appear because the accumulation of pigment cells in the top layer of the skin turn from white to black.

    Q: Melanomas don't always have color.

    If you’re looking for dark moles to screen for skin cancer, you’re on the right track. But malignant spots aren’t always easy to find. Melanomas can be red, purple, flesh-colored, or even white. If a mole looks funny, grows, changes shape, itches, or just plain makes you obsess over it, go to your dermatologist immediately! Always tell your doctor if you notice any new spots or skin irregularities.

    All Shades of You - Part 2

    When we talk about layers of skin, what do we actually mean? We humans are a lot more complicated than onions or flaky pastry! Here’s a basic guide to the vocabulary. The skin consists of a thin outer layer, called the epidermis. This is the protective barrier that covers the body’s surface. Next is a thicker, middle layer, called the dermis. This is protective tissue that protects your body from stress and strain. Finally, there is the deepest layer, called the hypodermis, or subcutaneous tissue. It connects the skin to bone and muscle.

    Q: What causes acne?

    The exact cause of acne is not known, but one important factor is an increase in hormones called androgens. These male sex hormones spike in both boys and girls during puberty. Other factors that can exacerbate acne include: rubbing the skin, harsh scrubbing, picking or squeezing blemishes, and emotional stress. Acne is not caused by chocolate or other kinds of foods.

    Q: As we age, our skin sheds cells more slowly.

    Ever wonder why children have such naturally rosy and dewy skin? While skin of all ages produces new cells which eventually move to the surface and shed, young people shed skin every two to three weeks, which gives them vibrant, shiny skin. But as we age, this process slows: more dead cells stay on the surface, resulting in a dull, dehydrated look.

    Q: Your skin's appearance and texture can give you clues about the rest of your health?

    Sometimes, changes in your skin can signal changes in your overall health. The thyroid produces hormones that are directly responsible for the natural fats that protect the skin as well as hair and cell growth and hair pigmentation. With hyperthyroidism (a condition in which the thyroid overproduces the thyroid hormone), the epidermis––the outer layer of skin––may thicken and skin may be soft. On the other hand, hypothyroidism (when the thyroid under-produces the thyroid hormone), causes such symptoms as very dry skin as well as thickened skin on the palms and soles. Your skin talks to you about health issues: Acanthosis nigricans, a condition in which the skin around the neck darkens and changes texture, is often associated with diabetes.

    Q: Stretch marks can be prevented - to a degree.

    Pregnancy, weight fluctuations, and even teenage growth spurts can cause stretch marks, those squiggly lines that start out darker than your skin color and often appear on the hips, thighs and abdomen (but can appear anywhere). When collagen and elastin initially break down, this creates striae rubrae—red or purple stretch marks on light-colored skin—due to inflammation. When stretch marks are in this phase, the application of retinoid creams can considerably lessen their appearance. The medication promotes cell turnover and skin regeneration. Some older stretch marks, which are lighter in color and have indentations, can be treated with lasers to help smooth the skin.

    Q: The oiliness of our skin dictates what type of hair grows in that area.

    Hair and skin are interconnected: the whole sebaceous (oil) gland and hair apparatus is one unit. The oil gland grows out of the hair follicle, which it helps to lubricate. But it’s the difference in glands that affects hair type. Where we have large oil glands, which produce more oil, we have thin hairs; where we have small oil glands, which produce less oil, we have thick hairs. People have oily skin in the middle of their faces because there are large sebaceous glands there, and they have dry skin on the periphery because the glands.