Our skin is a beautiful bundle of a present. That present is ourselves and we have to take care of it because it is for all our lives….
It is our safety wall against the environment, it protects us from bacteria, for example, and also acts like a communication system between what exists around us and ourselves. If we burn a finger, the skin gives signals to our brain to move the finger out of that heat source.
It is the biggest organ in our body but also for the rest of specicies and it occupies an area of approximately 2 m²!
Its thickness ranges between 0,5 mm and 4 mm. The small thickness is for the skin of the eyelids and the biggest thickness is for the skin of the heel.
Also, it is very interesting to know that the weight of our skin is about 5 kg!
The skin is made of 3 layers. Each one has different functions and composition, but the three of them are highly interrelated:
1- Epidermis: the most superficial
2- Dermis: the middle one
3- Hypodermis: the deepest layer
As we know now, its thickness can be different depending on the area of bodies it but let’s find out more about its three parts:
This is composed of the most superficial layer (cornea layer) in death cells can be found. These death cells are the consequence of the journey of the deepest cells, from the basal layer, to the surface. New cells are continuously forming, growing and its way can be 28 days longer. They star off circular, when they are newborn, and flatten towards the end. Then, they fall down and we renew our skin.
Sometimes, these cells do not fall away at the right time, and our skin seems dull and faded… Then is the moment to use a soft scrub to help cells to go and obtain a brightlight skin.
See, our epidermis can replace between 30,000 or 40,000 cells every day!
Also in the epidermis, but deeper than the cornea layer, the Malpighi layer where a kind of cell called melanocyte lives. These cells produce a pigment called melanine who is responsible for the colour of our skin, hair and irises. We can have more or less melanine depending on our race and also on the time we spend in the sun.
Its function is to protect us against the ultraviolet rays of the sun.
Melanine is responsible for the stain of our skin due to pregnancy, age, sun and, of course, of our birth stain.
We must protect our skin with sunscreen and renew it every two hours (if we have not sweat, wet or rub) or the time the laboratory tells us in the prospectus.
That will prevent skin cancer, a disease with one of the highest mortality rates in the world.
I will talk about it in a later post.
So, the epidermis is the real frontier between ourselves with the world. It keeps us away from external aggressions, such as bacteria, and keeps the normal state of liquids of our body and permits permeability when required.
It is made of collagen and elastin, net blood, capillaries, adipocytes, hair follicles, sweat glands, sebaceous glands and nerves.
- Collagen and elastin fibers are located in the deepest layer of the dermis and their function is to place the skin in the right position to have a young, elastic and smooth skin. When collagen and elastin fibers fail the first wrinkles and slump appears.
- Blood capillaries supply the cells to provide with nutrients and oxygen.
- Adipocytes are the fat cells. They protect the organism from the hits and provide the heat that the body needs. When there is an accumulation of adipocytes it turns into cellulite.
The adipocytes reproduce easily and if they cannot have more fat inside, send signals to the sleep adipocytes to start to work. Suddenly, there are more adipocytes than the dermis can hold and then bulges can be appreciate from the epidermis: that is the cellulite.
- Hair follicles go through the dermis until the epidermis. They have a fat gland to give the hair protection and muscles that activated when we are cold or scared. Inside every follicle the hair is growing.
There is a pilar cycle in which every hair grows, lives and dies. It has a duration from 2 to 7 years and it can repeat the cycle over 25 or 30 times more during our lives. So, it is really important to try to keep every cycle as much as possible to reach old age with hair.
- Sweat and sebaceous glands produce sweat and fat to protect the skin. This film keeps the optimal level of water of our body and combats the allergens from the outside. If this barrier or film has any deficiency skin problems can appear like dryness, sensitivity, allergies, etc.
- Nerves produce feelings. They pick up through the receivers all the sensations and send to nervous system all the information caught. These receivers can identify different feelings like: thermal, tactile, vibration and pressure, and painful sensations.
In women there are more adipocytes in the buttocks and thighs area and men have more in the abdominal area.
It is the deepest layer and we can find there:
- Blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, which are responsible for catching up toxins and driving immune system cells.
- Skin ligaments that enable the movement of the skin over the organs.
- Lymphocytes, that produce the fat to protect the organism against external attacks, like traumas and cold. Also it gives the skin the consistency to avoid that the skin going inside or be laying down.
I am trying to explain the physiology of the skin as clearly as I can because it is important to understand how beauty products act in our skin and how far they can get into the skin.
In the next posts, I will talk about why our skin is oily or dry, why I now have wrinkles! what cellulite is and why my hair is falling out….
Maybe if we learn more about our skin and its reactions, we will take better care of it and we will have healthier skin!
And remember it is a must to go to the dermatologist once a year for a general check up.
See you over here!