Flawless, Vibrant, Healthy Skin
How to have and maintain it.
It all starts with understanding the skin you're in.
Our skin is one of our greatest assets – our greatest tools. It protects us from harmful substances in our environment – shielding us against bacteria, viruses and other external threats to our health. It senses touch, pressure, pain, itch and temperature; gives us our unique color and scent. It regulates our body temperature, store energy and acts as a mirror – reflecting our internal health – showing signs of poor diet, lack of sleep and physical or emotional stress. Our skin is tough, washable, stretchable, waterproof and self-regenerating. It is our largest organ. It takes care of us and it's time we take care of it! One of the main causes of premature aging is failing to give our skin the care and attention it needs.
Understanding how our skin performs these tasks begins with understanding the structure of the 3 layers of skin:
This is the surface layer of our skin. It is made up of 4 or 5 layers (the additional layer exists in the palms of hands and soles of feet, etc.). The top layer of the epidermis (stratum corneum) consists of dead, flattened cells that act as both a barrier to harmful external substances and aids in retaining our skin's moisture.
The epidermis also houses:
- Keratinocytes – a protein that protects skin from harmful substances
- Melanocytes – which produces melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color
- Langerhans cells – which identifies harmful substances in contact with the skin and activates the skin's natural defense
- Merkel's cells – believed to be touch receptors
The epidermis is made up of mostly Keratinocytes which originate in the basal layer and are pushed up through the layer of the epidermis until they reach the top layer where the flake off. Keratinocytes are shed and replaced continuously approximately every 28 days, but often slow to approximately every 50 days when we reach our 60's.
The second layer makes up approximately 90% of the skin. Unlike the Epidermis which can repair itself, the dermis, if injured, can be permanently damaged. The Dermis contains the structural elements of the skin, the connective tissue and the nerve cells. Fibroblasts, the main cells of the dermis, produce collagen and elastin.
Connective Tissue (Proteins):
- Collagen – gives the skin its strength
- Elastin – Gives the skin its elasticity (springiness)
- Reticular Fibers – provides a supportive framework
- Glycosaminoglycans – gives the skin it's plumpness (hydration)
The dermis contains many specialized cells and structures:
- Hair follicles
- Erector Pili – muscle fibers that give us “goose bumps”
- Apocrine Glands – scent glands that give us each our unique, natural aroma.
- Eccrine Glands – sweat glands
- Sebaceous Glands – oil glands
- Blood Vessels - transporting blood to and from the tissues, providing nutrients and removing toxins and waste
- Nerves – transmit sensations of pain, itch and temperature
- Meissner's and Vater-Pacini Nerves – transmit sensations of touch and pressure
The Acid Mantel, which protects us from bacterial and fungal infections (overgrowth), is produced by combining oil and sweat from the Sebaceous and Eccrine glands.
The circulatory network in the dermis and hypodermis consists of blood and lymph vessels which ensure the skin is nourished, oxygenated and detoxified.
Hypodermis (Subcutaneous Tissue)
This is commonly referred to as the fat layer. It is composed of fat and connective tissue (septae) that houses larger blood vessels, nerves, fibrous tissue and fibroblast. The septae acts as an anchor to connect the skin to the underlying tissues and muscles. The fat cells are separated by the septae, and organized into lobules. When the septae become fibrous, they may form dimples in the skin (Cellulite)