The Skin Structure
The skin, our largest organ, is a flexible protective – shield that maintains body moisture and protects delicate tissues through an elaborate cooling and heating system. The skin is a vital living organ composed of three layers: the dermis, epidermis, and subcutaneous. Two of the layers, the dermis and epidermis, determine our aesthetic appearance.
The three layers of skin tissue vary in total thickness from 1/50 of an inch on the eyelids to as much as 1/3 of an inch on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
The subcutaneous layer connects the skin to the tissue covering the muscle and bones, and is largely comprised of vessels, nerves, and fat lobules. It is the soft, fatty formation of your skin. As you grow older, the fatty tissue is absorbed by the body, removing the springy base from under the outer layers, leaving them to hang loose, form folds, and create wrinkles.
The dermis or second layer contains blood vessels, nerves, nerve receptors, hair follicles, and sweat and oil glands. It contains cells called fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are essential in forming fibers that provide elasticity and suppleness to the skin. Two items within this layer are collagen and elastin, which give the skin its firmness and suppleness. It is within this layer that the skin is provided nourishment essential for cell growth, development, and for the cell renewal process.
The epidermis is the top or uppermost layer of the skin. The surface of the epidermis is made up of a very thin layer of dead skin cells.
The body is constantly manufacturing new skin cells in a process that begins underneath the epidermis and pushes upward. In about 21-28 days these cells will appear on the outer horny layer and form the visible part of the skin. These new cells are called keratinocytes, and are “charged” with keratin.
The skin’s two aging processes are referred to as natural biological aging and secondary aging.
1. Natural biological aging is largely unavoidable and will vary considerably based on age, sex, and skin types. To counteract normal aging one has to address the factors of lifestyle, skin type, needs, moisturization, hydration, protection and nutrition.
2. Secondary aging is determined by lifestyle, external and internal environment, pollution, sun, wind, and cold. These are factors that you can help to counteract by using specially formulated products to offset the damaging effects which cause accelerated aging.