The Caribbean skin is such a wonderful array of types and tones. No two islands have the same popular set of skin tones. Isn’t that amazing? A carnival of shades prancing daily in the islands, red, yellow, blue among other undertones! Let’s learn about skin so that we can take care of this wonderful treasure.
The skin is the largest organ of the human body, covering approximately twenty (20) square feet in area. Despite its massive surface area, the skin is just a few millimetres thick and contains approximately 20 blood vessels, over 650 sweat glands accompanied by at least 1,000 nerve endings. Your skin may cover your entire body, but its thickness varies, padding parts of your body more prone to wear and tear with thick skin and placing thinner skin on the parts of your body that take less of a beating. The skin on your face is thinner than the skin on your body, with the exception of the chest, and deserves a bit more TLC. It is also because of this reason that certain products that you use on your hands, are not necessarily the best thing for your face.
Scientists have divided this massive organ into two main areas, the dermis and the epidermis. The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin which provides the skin with its tone/color due to the presence of melanin and is consists of a significant amount of dead cells. It is this area of the Caribbean skin that has proven difficult to match makeup with our variation of undertones. The outermost parts of the epidermis consist of 25–30 layers of dead cells (Newman, 2018). I think this is mind blowing but the epidermis acts as a protective layer and according to Clinimed. (n.d.), “The skin provides protection from: mechanical impacts and pressure, variations in temperature, micro-organisms, radiation and chemicals.” The skin also acts as a barrier against bacteria, parasites, fungi, viruses, heat, ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun, and water loss from the body. This is why skin bleaching is such a dangerous practice and has been plaguing so many Caribbean islands. Skin bleaching reduces the amount of protection that the Caribbean skin has and then it becomes difficult to fight facial infections, heal cuts and limits the protection from UV rays.
The dermis is second principal part of the skin and is composed of connective tissue. Newman (2018) explained that the dermis houses hair follicles, blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels. He further stated that it is home to a number of glands, including sweat glands and sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, an oil that lubricates and waterproofs hair.
The Caribbean skin not only varies in colour but also type. The most common categories of skin types are: normal, sensitive, dry, oily and combination skin. Sensitive skin is normally results from the underperformance in skin’s horny layer, or stratum corneum. This layer is responsible for providing stability and permeability, regulating fluid and maintaining elasticity and firmness of the skin. The lack in production from this layer may also result in an increase in dryness of the
skin. At the other end of the spectrum, skin type with heightened sebum production may be referred to as oily skin. Find the balance between these two extremities is what most person desire in order to have “normal skin”. Combination skin is a very popular skin type in the Caribbean where selective areas on the face are oily T-zone (forehead, nose, chin and cheeks) and the other areas are dry. The table below presents the different Caribbean skin types. Are you able to figure out your skin type? Are you using products for your skin type? When you know your skin type, you can take better care of it.
Table to help you to identify your skin type
Clinimed. (n.d.). Structure and Function of the Skin. Retrieved from http://www.clinimed.co.uk/Wound-Care/Education/Wound-Essentials/Structure-and-Function-of-the-Skin.aspx
Newman, T. (2018, January 11). Skin: Structure and function explained. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320435.php
Skin & Beauty Story. (2015). Guide to Troubleshooting Your Skin. Retrieved from https://skinandbeautystory.blogspot.com/p/guide-to-troubleshooting-your-skin_8.html
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