TAKE TEN Brought to you by the American College of Sports Medicine www.acsm.org SHAREABLE RESOURCE by James A. Peterson, Ph.D., FACSM 10 Ten Things People Ought to Know About Skin BIGGER THAN A BREAD BOX. The skin is the largest organ of the A NATURAL PROCESS. A number of factors cause a person’sskin to body. When it’s stretched out, the skin of a typical person encompasses age. Some of these factors are beyond the control of an individual; approximately 2 square meters. On average, skin accounts for others aren’t. Among the things that a person can’tdo anything 1 approximately 15% of an individual’s body weight (approximately 7 about is the natural aging process. For example, most people, in 8–9 lbs). Commonly, an adult has more than 300 million skin cells, which time, will get visible lines on their faces. Over time, their skin also will collectively contain more than 11 miles of blood vessels. become thinner and drier. On the other hand, individuals can make certain environmental and lifestyle choices that can help slow the premature aging of their skin, e.g., exercise; eat a healthy, well-balanced diet; avoid smoking; A VITAL ROLE. Skin does more than help make people look protect the skin from the sun; etc. presentable. For example, it plays a key role in the body’sability to detect hot and cold. It also helps individuals regulate their body 2 temperature. In addition, it helps protect the muscles, bones, and JUST LIKE THE REAL THING. During the late 1970s, medical internal organs from outside infection and disease by exuding antibacterial researchers developed a substitute for human skin that was substances. Furthermore, it acts as a waterproof, insulating shield that designed to save the lives of severely burned patients and individuals guards the body against damaging sunlight and harmful chemicals. 8 who experienced extreme cases of skin disease. Although the first choice may be to use a graft of a person’s skin if the necessary amount of SIMILAR, BUT DIFFERENT. Not all skin is alike. For example, skin is available from another place on the person’s body, such an option depending on where it is located on the body, skin varies in thickness. does not always exist and is not always the most appropriate path forward. The thinnest skin is found on the eyelids, whereas the thickest skin is 3 found on the bottom of the feet. Skin also differs in color. Skin color is the result of a protein called melanin, a pigment the body produces in the EARLY WARNING SIGN. When a person experiences changes in their epidermis (the outer layer of the skin) to protect individuals from the skin, ranging from discoloration to new growth, these changes may potentially cancer-causing ultraviolet rays of the sun. Dark-skinned people (but not necessarily) be early signs of more serious, underlying health produce more numerous and deeper colored melanin particles. Vice versa 9 problems. For example, a yellowing of the skin may be a sign of liver for lighter skinned individuals. failure. A darkening of the skin could be a signal of hormonal disease, such as Addison disease. New growths on the skin could be an indication of skin cancer. Changes in the coloration or shape of nails could be a sign of organ MOVE TO IMPROVE. Exercising on a regular basis can help individuals system issues. have healthy skin. By increasing blood flow, exercise can help nourish skin cells and keep them vital. Not only does blood carry oxygen and 4 nutrients to working cells throughout the body, including the skin, it also helps carry away waste products. EARLY WARNING SIGN. Every minute, a person’s body sheds more than 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells. In fact, every 27 to 28 days, the skin renews itself. Some estimates suggest DON’T BLAME CHOCOLATE. Very little evidence exists to suggest 10 that more than half of the dust in a person’s home is actually that chocolate causes acne. In reality, the two primary foods that dead skin. The earth’s atmosphere also is unscathed by the onslaught of cause acne are dairy and sugar. Both alter the body’s hormonal dust comprised of dead skin, with over a billion tons of such dust in the 5 levels and blood sugar balance. This situation leads to oily skin world’s ecosystem. and plugged pores, resulting in inflammation and pimples. WORSE THAN SMOKING. Somewhat shocking, more people develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking. In fact, more than 90% of skin cancer is caused James A. Peterson, Ph.D., FACSM, is a freelance writer and consultant in 6 by exposure to the sun. Skin cancer is the number one cancer sports medicine. From 1990 until 1995, Dr. Peterson was director of sports diagnosis in the United States — more common than all breast, lung, and medicine with StairMaster. Until that time, he was professor of phys- prostate cancers combined. As such, every hour, one person dies from this insidious disease. ical education at the United States Military Academy. ©2018 by the American College of Sports Medicine. Reprint permission is granted to subscribers of ACSMs Health & Fitness Journal . 50 ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal March/April 2018 Copyright © 2018 American College of Sports Medicine. Unauthorized reproduction of this article is prohibited.
ACSM's Health & Fitness Journal – Wolters Kluwer Health
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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