I want you to think about your skin like a house.
There's a roof, walls, floors, carpets and ducted air conditioning.
This house has a good strong weatherproof tiled roof. The roof is also insulated to keep the inside of the house at a pleasant living temperature. Next come the sturdy brick walls. The bricks are all stacked neatly and the mortar between the bricks is firm and sound. These bricks hold up the roof and keep the shape of the house solid and structurally complete. Inside you have plush thick carpet. Below the carpet is the floor and beneath the floor is the plumbing and wiring that supplies electricity and water and a waste disposal system and is connected to the earth. The interior is nice and cosy. The central heating maintains a comfortable temperature. The walls are strong and safe. It's nice to live in and from the outside everything is beautiful. Every minute of the day there is electricity charging through. There is clean water coming in and used water going out. This water flow is the lifeblood of your house, it both feeds you, provides water for cooking and drinking and helps to clean, launder and flush toilets. Every part of the house has a role in protecting you, keeping you comfortable and basically just feeling like, home-it's your sanctuary.
Your skin is exactly the same! The surface of your skin is like the roof tiles - the cells in the stratum corneum (the outer most layer of the skin) are overlapping and interlocking to create a protective barrier to keep chemicals, pollution and bacteria out and to keep moisture and all the good things on the inside. Your roof tile cells also report to the cells below to help our body maintain a balanced temperature.. The skin cells are like bricks and mortar - a brick wall - all stacked up neatly and compact to create a strong, sturdy skin. In order to be strong, the cells need to be healthy, uniform and sturdy. The fluid between them like the morta needs to be of high quality and evenly laid out made of the best ingredients. The healthier the skin cells (the bricks) the healthier your skin will look, feel and behave. A Healthy skin is more resilient and less reactive to external forces.
The carpets are like the deeper foundation of our cells, meeting cells or bricks at the base of the floor. They rest there, grounded. Often times we see that our carpets are getting worn and looking tired. This might look like redness, pigmentation, lines or wrinkles. These issues within our skin stem from deeper down are very closely linked to the function of our roof. The plumbing and electricity are like the blood vessels and lymphatic system that deliver vital nutrients and oxygen to provide nutrition and energy for cells and are a disposal system that flush out waste. These need to be functioning well to help the roof and all the other layers do their job properly.
Over time a house that has a damaged roof will lead to internal and more serious structural damage. When the roof leaks, even if its not that noticeable from the outside, the roof tiles will become damaged. When the roof tiles are damaged than water and dust and debris get in. Our climate control system becomes impaired and the heat will evaporate as the house becomes less efficient at maintaining a cosy and warm environment. After the roof is damaged, slowly the bricks and mortar come under attack. The mortar between the bricks begins to chip away as the walls begin to crumbled soon the strength of the house is comprised. With out the mortar in-tact, the bricks themselves loose durability and some will begin to crumble, others erode away completely. Next is the carpets. They begin to grow mould, rot and break down. The ducted air conditioning can't regulate and has to work even harder to maintain the ideal conditions. The entire structure of the house is weak and the slightest change in the weather causes even more things to go wrong. The waste disposal system begins to have issues removing the waste from the house and the delivery of nutrients becomes compromised.
With a damaged roof, everything on the inside becomes exposed to the outside and everything on the outside begins to affect the inside. Sadly, its not looking like the nicest house on the street. All of a sudden, you wake up one day with a house that is breaking down, carpets that are worn, tired and damaged. Skin that looks old, lacklustre and dull. You feel like overnight tiredness crept in, age arrived and set up camp. In actual fact, the house had been deteriorating; it was just subtle and happened over the course of decades. For such a long time, small things were going wrong but were never really addressed. They didn't seem so important at the time or that big of a concern. Or maybe, like termites, you didn't even see that they were eating away at the foundations. Well, that's what happens with skin!
We see that our carpet is looking worn, some areas are threadbare, others are torn up or water damaged. Our first reaction is to try and go in and replace the carpets, they're tired and worn so it makes sense to get a team to go in deep and replace them, but does that make sense if the roof is still leaking, the walls are unsteady and the reason why the carpets aged and deteriorated has not been attended to? A house left uncared for, with a small leak or small amount of damage can go on like that for years, but left neglected, bigger problems arise. That small leak over a long time is what causes all of these problems.
This is the same for your skin. Small amounts of damage to your roof, the stratum corneum, occur everyday, every week, every year. You may not notice, but eventually, as our skin cells start to age, their ability to create healthy roof cells diminish and that's when we begin to see signs of damage.
A Skin Story
Robyn Mcalpine - expert skin therapist