Layers Of Our Skin

Layers of Our Skin – Know Your Own Skin

Your skin is a complex structure of layers each with its own function. We outline the layers of our skin in this article and the effect aging has on our skin.

Skin Health hub Skin Health Layers of Our SkinThe Epidermis

This is the skin layer between you and our external environment. The total thickness of the epidermis is between 0.5 to 1 mm. The three types of cells of the Epidermis are keratinocytes, melanocytes and Langerhans cells. The keratinocytes are the predominant cells in the epidermis and make up the protein Keratin.

At the lowest layer of the epidermis are immature keratinocytes that keep dividing. As these cells divide and move upward towards the outer most layer of the Epidermis the cells begin to lose moisture and flatten out.

The Sub layers of the Epidermis

  • Translucent or transitional layer – this is a translucent thin layer of cells.
  • Suprabasal layers – 3 to 5 layers of flattened cells. Below them are cubed shaped cells containing little pieces of keratin traces.
  • Basal or cell division layer – this is the layer where the cells undergo division to travel to renew and replenish the upper layers. This is the bottom most layer of the Epidermis.

Stratum Corneum

This is the outer most upper layer of the Epidermis. At the end of the cells life span, here in the outer most layer of the epidermis they die. This layer is made up of primarily dead keratinocytes, keratin (which is hardened protein) and lipids which together form a protective crust. The dead cells from this outer most layer constantly slough off only to be replaced with the ones that come to the surface. Skin completely renews its self every 3 to 5 weeks.

The stratum corneum layer also has a buildup of the protein Keratin which is the protein that is important to the strength of the skin, nails and hair.

The Dermis

The dermis is the middle layer located between the Epidermis and Subcutaneous tissue. This is the thickest of the skin layers. It is made of tight meshed collagen and elastin fibers. These two elements are crucial skin proteins. Collagen is a protein that is responsible for structural support and elastin for skin resilience.

The primary cells in the dermis are fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are very important in overall skin health. The dermis contains capillaries which supply oxygen and nourishment to the skin and lymph nodes which are depots for immune system cells which help fight infections from entering the body.

The dermis houses sebaceous and sweat glands, hair follicles, a small number of nerve and muscle cells. The sebaceous glands located around the hair follicles lubricate the skin with an oil substance called sebum. Sebum lubricates and water proofs the skin and hair.

As we age we produce less sebum making the skin prone to drying and wrinkling whereas an over production of sebum can contribute to the formation of acne. The dermis is also responsible for the structural integrity, the elasticity and resilience of the skin.

The Subcutaneous Layer

This is the innermost layer of skin that is made up mostly of fatty tissue and cells. This layer serves as a shock absorber and heat insulator thereby protecting the underlying tissue from cold and trauma. Sweat glands and miniscule muscles that attach to hair follicles also originate in this layer.

How we treat the layers of our skin shows by how we look on the outside in our facial skin appearance. Although as we age we lose subcutaneous tissue which results in facial sagging and wrinkles developing in the lower skin levels, how healthy and fresh our skin looks is based on the epidermis.

For ways to prevent the epidermis making us look older than we really are read our suggestions to improve microcirculation, texture, tone and color of your skin by reading our article on Facial Skin and 10 Skin Care Tips for Healthy Skin.

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