Healthy, glowing and wonderful skin is determined by the maintenance, protection and supplementation of the skins natural structure and functions. In order do these things well, it is important to know a little more about skin structure and composition.


QUICK FACTS

  • The skin is the body’s largest organ, in surface area and weight – accounting for a huge 16% of a person’s body weight.
  • The skin is made up of three layers: the epidermis ( the outermost layer of the skin), the dermis ( the layer of skin beneath the epidermis), and the hypodermis (the deepest layer)
  • The primary function of the skin is to act as a protective barrier.
  • The skin provides protection from, mechanical pressure, changes in temperature, micro-organisms, chemicals and radiation.

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The Epidermis

The epidermis is the thin outermost layer of the skin which acts as a physical barrier, preventing water loss and the entry of germs.

What’s it made up of?

  • KERATINOCYTES: The cell that makes up most (95%) of the epidermis is called the keratinocyte. They produce a tough protein called keratin. Keratin gives skins it’s well known resistance to physical wear and tear, and also makes the skin waterproof.
  • MELANOCYTES: Another cell contained within the epidermis is the melanocyte. These cells produce melanin, which gives the skin it’s colour. The more melanin production there is, the darker the skin will appear. Melanin offers protection from the sun’s ultra-violet rays.

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The Dermis

The dermis is the layer immediately underneath the epidermis and is about four times thicker. The main function of the dermis is to protect the skin from stress and strain, to provide sensation and to help with temperature regulation

 

 

What’s it made up of?

  • BLOOD VESSELS: The blood vessels present in this layer provide nutrients for the epidermis above and help regulate the body temperature.
  • FIBROBLASTS: The fibroblast cells produce collagen and elastin, which give our skin strength and elasticity.
  • HAIR FOLLICLES: Hair follicles in the dermis play a role in temperature regulation.
  • HYALURONIC ACID: hyaluronic acid is a molecule which binds collagen and elastin to give the skin its firm, smooth structure. Hyaluronic acid also retains water, therefore acts as a skin moisturiser.
  • LYMPHATIC VESSELS: Lymphatic vessels are responsible for transporting cells of the immune system, which help to destroy infectious organisms.
  • NERVES: The dermal layer contains nerve-endings which give rise to our different sensations, such as pain, pressure and temperature.
  • SEBACEOUS GLANDS: Sebaceous glands produce sebum which helps to lubricate the skin and prevent it from drying out.
  • SWEAT GLANDS: Sweat glands also exist in the dermis can contribute to body odour (in the groin or armpits) or help to regulate our body temperature by sweat evaporation.

The Hypodermis

The hypodermis is the deepest layer of the skin. It is thickest in the buttocks, palms of hands, and soles of feet.  The main functions of this layer are insulation, shock absorption and energy provision.

What’s it made up of?

FAT CELLS: The hypodermis consists largely of fat tissue which provides insulation in cold conditions and also acts as a protective coat to our internal structures, such as muscle and organs, when something hits us. This layer of fat is also acts as a store for nutrients and energy.