A protective barrier against the elements, skin is the largest and most exposed organ of the body. It is a waterproof covering that shields more vulnerable organs and protects the body from environmental damage. It does this while maintaining body temperature and helping to eliminate certain wastes.

Skin is composed of three basic layers: the outer epidermis, inner dermis and the inner subcutaneous layer. The epidermis can be further divided into two layers. The outermost is a covering of dead cells and a protein called keratin. Next to it is a layer containing melanin and keratin. Melanin determines skin color.

The dermis houses hair follicles, blood vessels, nerves, muscle tissue and sweat, oil and other glands. All of these components are loosely connected by collagen, a protein substance that is found not only in skin, but in tendons, bones and cartilage. Collagen works with elastin, another protein substance, to give the skin its tone and suppleness.

The subcutaneous layer is made up of connective tissue that specializes in the formation of fat. It helps prevent heat loss and cushions the body against injury.


Hair is an elastic filament made up of keratin. Only the root, which is located in the dermis, is alive. There are approximately 100,000–200,000 strands of hair on the average head, with the number varying, sometimes dramatically, from person to person. Individual hairs grow about 1/2 inch per month for two to six years and then rest for about three months. (Eyebrows and eyelashes grow for 10 weeks and then rest for nine months.) At the end of the rest cycle, the hairs fall out. At any given time about 90 percent of the hairs on a head are growing and 10 percent are resting. People normally shed anywhere from 30–200 hairs a day. Emotional stress can boost the number to 500 per day and extreme physical or emotional shock can make hair fall out.

Each hair has three layers, with color forming in the middle. Its shape and texture is determined by the shape and size of the follicle from which it grows. Cross sections of hair show that straight hair tends to be round, while curly hair is flat or oval. The number of active follicles per square inch determines whether hair is thick or thin, while coarseness or fineness describes the width of the hair itself


.Fingernails and toenails are a specialization of the epidermis that is formed by a hardened protein called keratin. Contrary to popular belief, nails have a very low calcium content. Keratin has a high sulfur content. Nails have three major sections: the root, the body of the nail, and the free portion that extends over the tip of the finger or toe. Fingernails grow more slowly than hair, about 1/10 inch a month and they grow about four times faster than toenails. For some reason, they seem to grow more slowly during infancy, old age and in the wintertime.

Fingernails have long been known as an indicator of health and any dramatic changes in their texture, shape, color or growth rate may be a signal to see a health care professional.

Factors in skin, hair and nail Health

Genetics are a major determining factor in the health of skin. Some people have naturally great skin, while others are troubled with a variety of conditions. Heredity isn’t the only factor, however. Skin is affected

by diet, exercise, rest and stress. Even the climate in which a person lives can play a big role in his/her appearance. People who live in warm places inevitably get more exposure to the sun than those who live in colder areas. Skin cells absorb the sun’s rays. These cells produce vitamin D as well as a healthy looking tan. Excessive exposure to the sun can cause signs of premature skin aging.

Internal skin care begins with proper nutrition, including whole grains and plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. It includes drinking plenty of fresh, pure water, which helps to hydrate skin from the inside out as it helps flush toxins out of the body. Obesity can make an individual prone to skin problems because extreme weight makes people sweat too much. This generally interferes with the body’s own systems of self-disinfection. At the other extreme, a diet containing too few calories can give skin a withered, dry, rough, inelastic and even cold appearance.

Adequate amounts of nutrients including the B-complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Omega 3-EPA, Zinc, Iron and protein are all important for healthy skin and hair—as are exercise and rest. Finally, stress has been called one of the biggest enemies of beautiful skin.

For external skin care, a good daily treatment regimen is vital. This can help maintain the skin’s current state of health by nourishing and protecting it, as well as removing any oily buildup of debris that accumulates throughout the day.

Like skin, hair is affected by diet, cleanliness and stress. Proper nutrition is essential for healthy hair that looks its best, while thinning hair can sometimes signal anemia or a hormonal problem. The skin on the head renews itself about once a month, occasionally the rate of this regeneration becomes unusually rapid  The result is flaky dead skin cells known as dandruff.

The health of nails can be affected by things as obvious and simple as exposing them to harsh chemicals (while cleaning, etc.) or continual moisture. Nutrition plays an important role. Whitening of the nails may indicate a protein-deficient diet, whereas spooning—when the nails become concave—may signal iron deficiency.


There are many more products that can work that aren’t listed in this article.  

  • I have helped many people and am willing, able and waiting to help you to better health.
  • E-mail or call me for any help or questions you may have.

 For more information Contact:

Karen Olerich, Herb Specialist

Phone: (719) 650-4260


Web:  Nature’s Sunshine Products

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