The skin is the first line of defence against all kinds of germs and infections trying to infiltrate our bodies. The human skin is about 30 square meters large and is the largest organ of the body. A new Yale study published in Nature Cell Biology explains that the skin contains an army of immune cells that resist infection throughout the body.

When your immune system is healthy, it reflects on your skin. But as soon as harmful antigens approach, the immune system triggers an inflammatory reaction to separate these antigens and produce antibodies. This is the strongest connection between our skin and immune system but what happens when the immune system weakens?

Impact of A Weak Immune System on Skin

The skin acts as a physical barrier between infections and the body, and it needs support from a robust immune system. But when the immune system weakens due to poor diet and lack of natural supplements for immunity, we can see the impact on skin health. The skin becomes more vulnerable to inflammation and can even turn hypersensitive, triggering further issues. Some common consequences of a weak immune system on the skin are:

●       Your skin takes time to heal.

Besides protecting the body from viruses, the immune system helps the skin recover from wounds. Our body contains immune cells called ‘macrophages’ that prevent infections from injuries and promote the growth of healthy skin cells. But when a person with low immunity gets wounded, the skin takes time to respond and send macrophages to the injured part.

The immune system also isolates the injured area by triggering inflammatory reactions and dilates the blood vessels to let white blood cells reach the site. The skin needs a mild inflammatory response to injuries but if your immune system is weak, it can struggle to regulate the inflammation. This delays the skin’s healing process, even from minor wounds.

●       Breakouts become your daily friend.

The immunity system acts on viruses and bacteria according to the threat priority. For example, if you catch seasonal flu, the immune system will fight those viruses first. When you have a compromised immune system, it entirely focuses on fighting more potential threats, leaving the skin comparatively unguarded. At such times, bacteria like p.acnes can easily attack your body at this time and lead to breakouts.

●       You get susceptible to bacterial infections.

By now, it must be evident that a weak immune system cannot provide the necessary protection to your body from bacterial infections. Our organs, including the skin and gut, contain a specific level of healthy microbes. But when a compromised immune system is not checking the levels, unhealthy bacteria can also breed in the body.

For example, a strain of bacteria called staphylococcus aureus resides on the skin without causing harm. But if it grows beyond proportion, it can produce super-antigens in 90% of eczema patients. Similarly, the weak immune system doesn’t put any check on the growth of candida yeast. Overgrowth can lead to fungal infections like Athlete’s Foot or Ringworm.

Hyperactive Immune System Does Harm Too

Having a hyperactive immune system is as problematic as a compromised one. When your immune system reacts instantly, it can trigger inflammatory reactions against harmless agents like pollens or dust. Inflammatory chemicals like histamine can cause swelling and itchiness in the impacted area. The situation gets more alarming when you can’t even identify the trigger. Soaps and detergents may also cause inflammatory reactions on the skin due to hyperactive immune systems.

The epidermis, i.e., the outer part of the skin, is already weak in people with pre-existing skin conditions like eczema. They are more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. Add a hyperactive immune system to their case, and you’ll find an array of false triggers and extreme inflammatory skin reactions.

An Exception Case: Autoimmune Condition

Autoimmune conditions also count toward an unhealthy immune system, although it’s slightly different from both weak and hyperactive immune systems. In autoimmune cases, the immune system considers its own cells and tissues as threats, instead of harmful pathogens. Essentially, your body gets into a conflict with itself, and this requires an urgent medical condition.

Striking A Healthy Balance

With so many immune system-related issues lurking around, our key to good health is striking the right cords of the immune system. A healthy immune system nurtures skin health as well in the following ways:

●       Nutrients

The immune system is responsible for passing all healthy nutrients to different organs. Add nutritious food like probiotics, fatty acids, vegetables, fruits, fish and antioxidants to your diet, and you can see their impact on skin health. You can also add in some natural immune system boosters to improve your overall immune system health.

●       Hydration

The immune system also supports the skin by thoroughly hydrating it. Hydration is vital for reducing visible signs of ageing and improving skin textures and colouration. Hydrated skin is also less dry and flaky. Remember to add topical hydration and also natural immune system boosters to keep the skin and immune system healthier.

●       Barrier against dehydration

Preventing dehydration is as essential as hydrating the skin. A healthy immune system helps against transepidermal water loss, especially from the facial skin. People with both dry and oily skin may suffer from dehydration and damage due to water loss from the skin. A well-nourished immune system acts as a barrier against dehydration and keeps the skin supple and ready to ward off infections.

●       Natural healing process

Various agents like pollution and dust severely impact our skin health. Hormonal changes also contribute to some skin damage. As you age, fine lines and discolouration also become norms. A healthy immune system is crucial here as it heals infections and injuries and protects the skin from acne and other breakouts.

Supporting The Immune System

Now that you know the strong connections between a healthy immune system and glowing skin, you must include immunity health in your skincare regime. Support your immunity system by improving your diet, drinking ample fluids, sleeping well, exercising and incorporating natural immunity boosters in your daily routine.