Skin health isn’t skin deep: How skin health impacts overall health and longevity

When you think of the purpose of your skincare products, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Now, what if we told you that skin is your largest organ, serving as your body's first defense against external pathogens and aggressors and playing a key role in your body's regulation?

Reference Lab

Jun 15, 2021

When you think of the purpose of your skincare products, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Now, what if we told you that skin is your largest organ, serving as your body's first defense against external pathogens and aggressors and playing a key role in your body's regulation?

For many, the skincare industry serves one purpose: improving appearances. This is not surprising, since the beauty industry tends to focus on aesthetics, with the top skincare marketing words including "tightening", “brightening”, and “perfecting"[1]. But what the industry is almost completely missing is that skin is a vital organ — and like other vital organs, such as your heart and brain, skin can have a huge impact on your health and longevity!

For instance, have you ever considered skincare as a way to help lower your risk of age related diseases? Scientists are finding that skincare could be the missing link, with a recent study on aging and skin health finding that age-related changes in the skin can contribute to systemic inflammation and diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes[2].

As the correlation between skin health and systemic health becomes increasingly clear, there has never been a better time than now to reframe the way we think about skincare and understand what we can do to take care of our body’s natural protective layer.

01Healthy Skin = Healthy Body: An Overview

At two square meters in size, and weighing in at over fifteen percent of the average adult’s body weight, skin unsurprisingly wears several hats in the protection and preservation of our bodies. The outermost layer of the skin, known as the “skin barrier”, plays an important role in defending our body from external threats. At the same time, the skin also serves several homeostatic functions to help the body maintain a constant internal state. The vast blood supply and sweat glands within our skin allows us to effectively regulate body temperature and water balance[3].

Due to skin’s expansive and critical role, the impact of skin health on overall health should not be underestimated.

02Skin, Aging, and Longevity

As we age, each organ is individually impacted, the net result of which is our overall health; skin is no exception in the process. In fact, a majority of the population over the age of 65 are coping with at least one skin disorder, which can play a key role in accelerating the aging process. So what is happening biologically as our skin ages[4]?

At the surface, aging skin is characterized by a reduced blood supply, an increase in inflammation, and a rise in the production of enzymes that degrade collagen, the main structural protein in skin. As skin strength deteriorates, the body becomes more susceptible to infections, which can have negative effects system-wide[5].

Furthermore, “inflammaging”, which is an age-related and continuous state of body-wide inflammation, is strongly linked to skin due to its direct vulnerability to both intrinsic and extrinsic factors, such as oxidative stress and UV exposure[6].

In an attempt to restore hydration and repair defects in barrier functionality, aging skin greatly increases the production of inflammatory molecules known as cytokines. These cytokines soon accumulate in the blood and result in a state of body-wide inflammation that has direct connections to chronic conditions ranging from Alzheimer’s disease to heart disease[7].

03What can you do? Treat your skin like it’s your largest organ

If healthy skin truly does correlate with a healthy body, what can you do to take good care of your skin?

The answer begins with the overarching idea that, above all else, we should treat our skin as our largest organ, prioritizing skin health and experiencing subsequently better looking skin as a result!

When it comes to skincare, the anti-aging market sits at the helm, generating more than $2 billion annually, as society places a heavy emphasis on treating aesthetic declines such as wrinkles, fine lines, and sagginess. Just look at the Botox industry, which has now reached a whopping $3.5 billion per year! But consider for a moment what Botox is actually treating. Aesthetic declines, such as wrinkles, are really just symptoms of your skin's health decline, making the plastic surgery and injectable industry a way to treat the symptoms of aging rather than the causes of aging. Just as you wouldn't treat an aged heart with injectable plumper to make it appear healthier, the goal of skincare shouldn't be to just treat appearances, but rather to treat the skin's underlying health, a consequence of which will be improved appearances!

OneFact Increased levels of cytokines in aged humans have been linked to the development of certain age-related diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease[7].

So what products should you be using to improve the health of your skin in the long-run? Less invasive products that you can use over time on a consistent basis will offer the most reliable long-term skin benefits, provided they have healthy and non-toxic ingredients. For example, by simply using a basic lipid-rich skin cream every day for one month, participants in one study found that their skin was more hydrated, more effective as a barrier, and even had cytokine levels of individuals nearly thirty years younger than them[8]! While most skincare products, such as the lipid-rich cream just mentioned, work externally to temporarily augment your skin’s lipid barrier, using products that work on the molecular level to boost the function of your cells will provide longer term and more sustainable skin health benefits. In fact, this concept is the foundation of our flagship product, the OS-01 Topical Supplement, which works at the molecular level to reduce the accumulation of damaged cells and promote proper cell function so that your skin is able to produce a stronger epidermal layer using its natural functions. Just as we use supplements to optimize our body’s ability to stay healthy, the OS-01 Topical Supplement supports proper skin cell function to keep your skin healthy!

In addition to using supplements and products that prioritize consistent and long-term skin health, simply putting on sunscreen and filling up your water bottle at the start of your day can improve skin hydration and reduce early-onset damage in skin layers. Applying sunscreen before you step outside helps to minimize direct sun exposure, and can consequently reduce UV-induced breakages in the skin[9]. Drinking more water each day has also been found to positively impact skin integrity and its role in thermoregulation[10].


  • As our body’s largest organ, the skin plays several key protective roles in maintaining good health
  • Age-related changes in skin integrity have strong correlations with increased risk of infection, systemic inflammation and chronic diseases.
  • Simple actions such as using topical supplements and hydrating can do wonders for skin health and overall well-being. Healthy skin means a healthy body!