Your Suit of Armor
We are obsessed with skin and for good reason. It is the largest organ; it accounts for 12-15% of our total body weight and can cover the floor of a large closet. It is so complex that it has its own immune system. Yep, you read that correctly… It’s very own immune system! The skin has the natural ability to not only heal but replace dead cells that are regulated by a network of sophisticated immune processes. Because of this, skin can protect our bodies from environmental toxins and various germs. The most fascinating thing about skin having an immune system is HOW it works.
As many of us have experienced our skin has these variations; oily, dry, and moist. When exposed to dark and warm or light and cold creates a cozy living environment for the thousands of bacterial and fungal species that live on our skin. How skin coordinates dialogue with microorganisms and physical trauma is vital to its function, and to our health. I read that there are 20 billion T cells in the skin… 20 BILLION… That is more T cells found in our blood! AND in case you were wondering what T cells are, I read about that too!
T lymphocytes or T cells are known as immune warriors because they help us to fight viruses. They are one of the major components of the adaptive immune system and have several vital roles that include directly killing infected host cells, activating other immune cells, producing cytokines, and regulating the immune response.
In fact, our skin has two systems; adaptive and innate. Within these systems, immune cells inhabit the epidermis and dermis layers. For the immune system to fight germs and foreign substances on the skin these two systems must be strong and work together taking on different tasks to help protect our skin and internal immune system.
The innate immune system is the body's first line of defense against germs entering the body and is in the epidermis. It responds in the same way to all germs and foreign substances and it acts very quickly. This initial barrier makes sure that germs and bacteria that have entered through the skin are quickly detected and destroyed. But the innate immune system has limited abilities to stop germs from spreading.
The adaptive immune system (found in the dermis) takes over if the innate immune system is not able to destroy the germs. This system is programmed to identify germs and specifically target them. Because of this, the response time is slower, but it is also more accurate. The coolest thing about the adaptive immune system is that it can remember germs! Crazy, I know!
This memory allows for a faster response time should the same germ try to re-enter the skin. In some cases, this memory is the reason why we only get some illness once. When we say “our body is now immune to …..” it is possible that our adaptive immune system remembered the germs and was able to respond immediately to the threat.
I have done a lot of research on skin immunity and it’s actually quite complex and involved. On the surface, it makes sense how toxins can enter into our skin, after all, it is porous and completely surrounds us. But as I dug deeper into skin immunity and how it works to protect not only our skin but our internal immune system there is no denying that it is true, what we put on our body is just as important as what we put in it!
Love & light to you and your skin!
Tara Raj, CPC, ACC, CNWC
Co-Owner & Creator of Earth’s Farmacy
Earth’s gift to you!