Oh, Your Beautiful Skin!

Have you ever wondered what each layer of your skin is made up of and what it does? We know there are three main layers –Mammal skin diagram - 2001 by fatboygotsick

  • Epidermis – top layer
  • Dermis – middle layer  (with everything that keeps our face “up”)
  • Hypodermis – the base layer

That’s about all there is to the simplifies version, yet with more and more information about toxic ingredients in skin care products, and the abundant choices of sunscreens and makeup, it is a good idea to gain a little more knowledge about your skin and what each layer does.

Human Skin is composed of 3 distinct layers, the Epidermis, Dermis, and Hypodermis, each of which plays a vital role in maintaining healthy skin structure and function!

EPIDERMIS

The Epidermis is the outermost layer of skin, the epidermis provides a waterproof, protective barrier between our internal and external environments. The epidermis is made up of 5 sublayers: The Stratum Corneum, Stratum Lucidum, Stratum Granulosum, Stratum Spinosum and Stratum Basale.  The surface sublayer, the Stratum Corneum, consists of dead, keratin infused, flattened cells that are naturally replaced as new cells are created in the Stratum Basale and migrate upwards through the epidermis. These “keratinocyte cells” make up a large majority of the dermis, and help skin to retain moisture by both preventing evaporation and absorbing water from the environment.  The Epidermis also houses a variety of specialized cells including Melanocytes (producing the pigment, Melanin), Langerhans cells (process antigens, immune system support) and Merkel Cells (role in creating the sense of touch).

The Stratum Corneum is made up of flattened keratin filled cells, which are naturally shed every 2 – 3 weeks when we are younger. As we age this time period of shedding increases significantly.

DERMIS

The dermis is located directly below the Epidermis, and is a dense layer composed of blood vessels, hair follicles, sweat glands, sebaceous glands, nerve endings and connective tissue. If you were to remove all of the cells in the dermal layer, you would be left with a network of fibers made from the structural proteins, Collagen and Elastin, which give skin its strength and elasticity. In young, healthy skin, Collagen and Elastin are abundant, but begin to degrade and are renewed less frequently as we age.  The matrix between cells where Collagen and Elastin exist, known as the Extracellular Matrix, also contains a jelly-like substance composed primarily of Hyaluronic Acid.  Hyaluronic Acid’s many functions include an important role in the inflammatory response, tissue repair, cell movement and cell communication.

HYPODERMIS

known as the subcutaneous or fatty layer,the Hypodermis cushions the skin and provides a connecting layer between the skin and underlying bone and muscle tissue.  The Hypodermis contains a great majority of the body’s fat stores, varying in width depending upon location (very thin in the face to several inches thick in the thighs and buttocks).  It also houses larger blood vessels and nerves, and plays an important role in thermoregulation (keeping your body temperature within normal range).

What Did You Skin Do For You Today?

  • It’s the largest organ in our body – Yes! it is an organ.
  • Protects from the external environment ~ Protecting us from mechanical impact, heat and cold, irritants and toxins, UV Radiation, and bacteria and other microorganisms.
  • Prevents evaporation and water loss.
  • Temperature Regulation ~ The skin produces sweat, which evaporates to help cool the body.  Shivering and subcutaneous fatty tissue give the body thermal protection against cold temperatures.
  • Sensation ~ Our fifth sense, the sense of touch, comes form nerve endings and other specialized cells in the skin.  These cells also allow us to sense temperature, pressure, vibration , and pain.
  • Vitamin D Synthesis~ Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin after exposure to UVB radiation.  Humans need approximately 10 -15 minutes of sun exposure daily to produce sufficient amounts of Vitamin D.  This should be outside of peak sun hours to avoid overexposure.
  • Social Importance ~ Blushing, paling, and facial expressions all help us communicate.  Healthy looking skin is also an indication of internal health and is considered a valuable part of our appearance.
  • Because skin provides so many valuable functions, maintaining skin health is not only critical to looking great, but feeling great as well.  We can’t stop the clock, but by caring for our skin we can greatly reduce the effects (and signs!) of environmentally induced aging.

When looking for healthy skin care products, check to see if your company has signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics with www.SafeCosmetics.org.  This gives you a good idea that the company producing the products you are using is doing their best to use ingredients that are the least toxic.

Make sure your skin care products are at the same pH or acidity of your skin. The protective barrier function of your skin is optimal within the acid mantle and pH of about 5.5 – slightly acidic.  At this pH, the natural  immune properties within your skin can function at full capacity when you come in contact with bacteria or viruses or you receive an injury to the tissue.

Taking in nourishing nutrients through healthy eating and keeping well hydrated also affect your skin by feeding the new cells in the base layers.

A good night of rest allows your body to produce its own collagen and elastin, the elastic matrix of firmness and support that keeps gravity from taking hold as you age.

Lastly, skin care products that have natural oils soothe, and soften your skin are best. No longer should you have acids in your daily skin care that exfoliate all day long.  A good exfoliant scrub or natural acid peel once or twice a week should be sufficient to do the job of removing dead skin cells. Your daily skin care should be filled with nutrients that nourish, rejuvenate, protect and hydrate.

(Thank you to Apriori Beauty for the above information.)

Thanks for stopping by and “Making My Life Beautiful”!

About Candace

Candace Dye is an Apriori Beauty Consultant and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner. Her passion is helping others to uncover and enhance their true inner radiance with tips for health, wellness, skin care and beauty!

Comments

  1. Thanks for finally talking about >Oh, Your Beautiful Skin! – I’m Looking Fabulous <Loved it!

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