We sometimes forget that our skin composition is considered the largest organ of the human body. Its primary job is to protect our internal organs, muscles, and bones from infection and the elements. It also regulates our body temperature, and produces the sensations of touch, heat, and cold.
Your skin weighs approximately between six to nine pounds. The density of your skin also varies across the body; it is thinnest on your eyelids and thickest on the soles of your feet.
Your hair and nails are also considered part of the skin, they are just made a little differently in order to serve other protective purposes. Body hair provides protection to the skin’s outer layer, for example it acts as a filter for the nose and ears. Nails serve to protect and support the tips of your fingers and toes.
Skin Composition: Breaking it down
The skin is made up of 4 main layers: the stratum corneum, the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous tissue.
The stratum corneum.
It is the outermost layer of the epidermis, consisting of dead cells (corneocytes). This layer is composed of 15–20 layers of flattened cells with no nuclei and cell organelles. The Stratum Disjunctum is the layer that we wash away during our skin care routine, it is about 3-4 layers thick. Unfortunately, as we age, it becomes difficult for our skin to get rid of dead skin cells which leaves our skin looking dull and dry. In order to help we can manually exfoliate or utilize Hydroxy Acid products like our Complexion Soap Bar to help slough off dead skin cells. However, if you over exfoliate you risk taking off too many layers of the stratum corneum which serves to protect the epidermis layers of the skin. This will leave you with very raw and sensitive skin that will be more prone to breakouts.
This is the outermost layer of your skin composition. There are three sub-layers within the epidermis: the outer stratum corneum, the middle squamous cell layer, and the bottom basal cell layer.
These layers are made up of the following types of skin cells.
- Melanocytes make melanin, the pigment that provides color to the skin. People with darker skin have melanocytes that produce more melanin. Exposure to sunlight also increases melanin production, causing freckles or a suntan. Melanocytes also cause hyper pigmentation which affects darker skin toned people much more due to the fact that their cells produce more melanin naturally. Our Medicated Fade Creme targets those areas that are uneven or darker than natural to revert them back to their original shade. In order to maintain an even skin tone it is extremely important to use SPF, sun protection, every single day rain or shine to prevent excess melanin production in the skin.
- Langerhans cells are part of the body’s immune system and help fight off infection.
- Basal cells are at the bottom of the epidermis and continually reproduce to form new keratinocytes.
- Keratinocytes or squamous cells are in the middle layer of the epidermis and produce keratin, the protein that forms the protective outer layer. Keratin is also used in the production of hair and nails.
The larger two lower levels of the epidermis, the squamous and basal layers, are responsible for regenerating new skin cells at a rate of about four weeks. As older cells are moved up to the top by the new cells they create the stratum corneum. The cycle continues as the dead cells flake off or are manually removed and new cells take their place. Healthy skin care habits help keep this cycle moving efficiently. Taking care of your skin composition translates to a beautiful outer complexion!
It lives directly underneath the epidermis, the dermis is held together by a protein called collagen. Collagen is what helps give our skin composition structure and keeps it firm. The dermis contains many structures that help keep the outer layers healthy.
- Nerve endings transmit sensory input to the brain. These nerves allow you to sense texture, pressure, heat, and pain through the skin, all part of your overall sense of touch.
- Blood vessels deliver nutrients and oxygen to the epidermis and dermis and get rid of waste products.
- Oil glands keep the skin lubricated and prevent hair follicles from becoming brittle. This is why we shouldn’t wash our hair with harsh shampoos as they get rid of this natural oil and make our hair brittle.
- Sweat glands keep the body’s temperature regulated.
The subcutaneous tissue.
This is a layer of collagen and fat cells at the base of your skin.
Your Hair and Nails
Human hair grows from the root, a bulb that rests in the follicle. Cells multiply and produce the hardened keratin protein, which forms a hair shaft.
Nails grow in a very similar way as hair does, but they begin in deep folds in the skin of the fingers and toes. Just like hair, your fingernails consist of dead cells held together by hardened keratin. As the nail cells at the root accumulate, they push the nail outward. Your hair and nails can tell you a lot about your health and diet! This is why you’ll see small ridges on your nails, they are signs of lacking nutrients.
Now that we have gone over the way your skin functions we can further understand how to take care of it!
Stay tuned for more beauty and skin care tips to help you achieve healthy radiant skin!