What Does Healthy Skin Really Look Like?

by Melissa Chichester

In a world where beauty standards often dictate our perceptions, it might be confusing to know what healthy skin really looks like. 

It’s not just about aesthetics; healthy skin is a reflection of your well-being. As your body’s largest organ, three primary layers play a distinct role in maintaining skin health:

  • The epidermis
  • The dermis
  • Subcutaneous tissue

The epidermis

As the outermost layer, the epidermis is a barrier, protecting from environmental factors such as UV rays, pollutants, and microbes. It consists mainly of keratinocytes, which produce keratin—a protein crucial for skin strength and elasticity. The epidermis also has melanocytes, the cells responsible for melanin production, which gives skin its color.

The dermis

Under the epidermis is the dermis. This is a complex network of connective tissue, blood vessels, nerves, hair follicles, and sweat glands. Collagen and elastin fibers within the dermis provide structural support and elasticity to the skin, helping maintain skin firmness. 

Subcutaneous tissue

Under the first two layers of the skin is subcutaneous tissue. It’s primarily composed of fat cells and connective tissue. This layer serves as insulation. It helps regulate body temperature, cushions internal organs and provides a source of energy storage. 

The characteristics of healthy skin

In a world of airbrushed advertisements and pressure to have poreless, flawless skin, it can be difficult to know what healthy skin looks like. By the time we reach a certain age, it’s just not possible to have skin like a newborn baby. After all, we’re experiencing life and our skin is constantly exposed to the environment around us. 

>>How to Self-Check Your Skin

However, there are certain characteristics of healthy skin to know. Here are some key indicators of healthy skin.

#1 Hydrated

Maintaining adequate hydration is vital for skin health. Healthy skin strikes a delicate balance between retaining moisture and regulating oil production, resulting in a plump, supple complexion. Dehydration can lead to dryness, flakiness, and dullness, while excessive oiliness may indicate an imbalance in sebum production.

#2 Unbroken

Every so often, most of us will get a cut, a scrape, or dryness will contribute to broken skin. However, consistently broken skin could be a sign of an underlying skin issue. 

#3 Smooth texture

Healthy skin boasts a smooth, even texture, free from roughness and bumps. This smoothness signifies optimal exfoliation, where dead skin cells are shed efficiently, revealing fresh, radiant skin underneath. However, it is normal to have some texture on your skin. 

#4 Minimal irritation

Healthy skin has minimal sensitivity and irritation. Factors such as genetics, skincare products, and environmental exposures can influence skin sensitivity. Consistent redness, dryness, tightness, or tingling could be a sign of other skin issues. 

Don’t fall for this skin myth 

Healthy skin looks different on everyone. What your skin looks like will depend on your age, your lifestyle habits, your genetics, and much more. What is healthy skin on one person may look different on another.  So if you find yourself looking at airbrushed photos and wishing your skin was different, know that this look is not realistic.

If you are concerned about your skin health, consult a healthcare professional.