How to support your body’s biggest organ

It’s your largest organ and provides your body with an outer layer to protect you against harsh elements. Here’s how to keep your skin healthy and strong.

You probably don’t give your skin too much thought, beyond maybe the wrinkles on your face. But it’s one of, if not the most important organs and is crucial to your survival and overall health.

More than just a cover for your insides, your skin plays a number of roles, including regulating your body temperature, synthesising sunlight into vitamin D and producing melanin.

Your skin also acts as something of an immune early warning system.

Read: How to get enough of the right type of exercise

Dermatologist Dr Barry Goldman told Healthline that healthy skin protects against pathogens entering the body. And even if the skin as damaged and pathogens do enter, skin cells can signal to immune cells that something requires their immediate attention.

“Intact skin can prevent pathogens from gaining a foothold,” he said.

“A disrupted skin barrier allows bacteria and viruses to penetrate deeper into the skin and cause infection. Skin cells team up and organise immune signals to help the body protect against and attack pathogens.

“White blood cells from the body constantly circulate through the skin, conducting immune surveillance.”

Read: Expert post-swim skincare tips

How to protect your skin


One of the best ways to keep your skin healthy is to maintain a healthy diet.

Dermatologist Dr Kemunto Mokaya recommends foods rich antioxidants, including dark leafy greens, spinach, kale and berries.

You’ll also want to eat foods high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as salmon, walnuts and chia seeds to strengthen your skin’s lipid (fat) barrier, an added protective layer.

Read: Prebiotics or probiotics? What’s best for illnesses?

Probiotics such as those found in yoghurt, as well prebiotics found in fresh fruit and vegetables, can also help boost the lipid barrier.

Try to limit your intake of high-sugar or highly processed food items.

Skin care products

There are more skin care products on the market than you can poke a stick at. It can be truly overwhelming trying to work out what’s real and what’s snake oil.

Dr Mokaya says there are really only three skincare products you need – a basic daily cleanser suited to your skin type; a high-quality moisturiser and a broad-spectrum, 50+ SPF sunscreen to protect from harsh UV rays.

Do you take good care of your skin? Do you have any skincare tips to share? Let us know in the comments section below.

Brad Lockyer
Brad Lockyer
Brad has deep knowledge of retirement income, including Age Pension and other government entitlements, as well as health, money and lifestyle issues facing older Australians. Keen interests in current affairs, politics, sport and entertainment. Digital media professional with more than 10 years experience in the industry.
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