While the average lifespan of an adult in the US has steadily climbed over 15% in the last 50 years, you may be surprised to learn that the average person spends the last 13 years of their life afflicted by chronic disease. Research continues to show that this gap is largely influenced by your lifestyle, spurring a new movement geared towards optimizing your daily habits to live better for longer.
Nov 13, 2020
When it comes to improving your longevity , deciding where to start can seem overwhelming. The truth is, there are many different approaches, some are more effective than others. Regardless of where you are in your health journey, what matters most is that you are ready to take control of your future, starting with your body’s largest organ.
Your skin is a big deal. It is estimated that the human body contains approximately 10 trillion cells, and over 1.6 trillion of these are skin cells, making this our largest organ.[ 1 ] These 1.6 trillion cells are largely made up of fibroblasts, keratinocytes, melanocytes, and immune cells - but more to come on that later. These cells work together to form 3 main layers of the skin: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis.
Photo adapted from https://kitng.me/2016/09/05/skin-layers/
While each of these layers plays a different role, they all work together to serve as our first line of defense and act as a critical part of our overall health.
"Scientists have found that skin appearance can be used as a predictor of an individual’s blood pressure"
With the constant stress of pollution and UV radiation from the sun, being placed on our skin, it’s no wonder it needs some extra TLC in the form of SPF and sleep, just to name a few. When your skin lacks this extra love, combined with the external stress of the aging process, it begins to weaken. Weak skin means a lot of things, none of them being things you want. It means you are more susceptible to disease and even have a decreased ability to retain water, leading to accelerated skin aging.
01So, what does this all mean for your longevity?
As the skin is one of the few visible organs, scientists have discovered that we can use it as a tool to better understand various aspects of our health that are not visible to the naked eye - such as your heart health and risk of disease. In this way, scientists are leveraging the visibility of skin health to act as a mirror for what is going on internally. In a study of over 500 men and women, scientists found that skin appearance can be used as a predictor of an individual's blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Individuals with fewer wrinkles and stronger skin had both lower average blood pressure and risk of CVD. To further investigate this connection, scientists then looked at the skin of individuals from families with long-lived members and found that they have significantly fewer wrinkles and more youthful-looking skin.
Skincare isn't just about what you put on your skin, but also what you don't. Stay tuned for our upcoming post where we uncover some of the hazardous ingredients commonly used in skincare products!
-  BBC, Science, Human Body & Mind, n.d.
-  Gunn, D., et al. The Journals of Gerontology, 2012.
-  Popkin, B., et al. Nutritional Reviews, 2010