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Fundamentals of the Skin

We all know the basics of the skin; its the largest human organ, there's 3 layers, it ages, it can be oily or dry and its what everyone sees first. But there's more to the skin then just the basics, or what your beauty therapist told you at your facial appointment.

Here we will learn the fundamentals about the skin and how it functions.







The Layers

Okay so above I noted there are 3 layers to the skin, they are the Epidermis, Dermis and Hypodermis. Understanding what each layer contains is vital information when treating and understanding the skin. This is because each layer contains the cells that have their individual roles in making up the function of the skin. Below we are going to pick it apart bit by bit.


Epidermis

The Epidermis is the outmost layer of the skin and the more commonly known layer, within the epidermis there are another 5 layers that make it up! They are the Stratum Corneum, Stratum Lucidum, Stratum Granulosum, Stratum Spinosum and the Stratum Basel.


Stratum Corneum - pretty well so is dead skin, that sums it up quite nicely. Your Stratum Corneum is the first layer of your skins barrier, these dead skin cells also known as Keratin, make a shield on your skin. This Shield protects the underlying and live layers of the skin becoming damaged from products, pollutants, UV ray, dirt ect.

Fun fact, the Stratum Corneum is the layer that controls how stem cells, sebum and other skin functions work! So it is really important that we look after this layer of the skin, because if we don't the skin doesn't function properly!


Stratum Lucidum - another key player in the barrier functions of the skin! your Stratum Lucidum or Acid Mantle is the next layer of the epidermis and the middle layer to your skins barrier, its made up of oils and lipid. These oils and lipids cause a layer similar to putting oil over water in a glass, everyday stress factors of the skin, like the ones listed above find it hard to penetrate through this layer, it also helps highly concentrated ingredients dilute and work their way through the layers of the skin. Most products that aren't meant for live layers of the skin, stop at this layer as they cannot penetrate through. If the Stratum Lucidum is damaged and starts to break down, this can mean big trouble for the layers of the skin below causing skin conditions such as Rosacea.

Fun fact about the Stratum Lucidum, 85% of its oils and lipids come from the skin cells membranes! so best have healthy cells or else you wont have a healthy barrier.


Stratum Granulosum - the end of the road for skin cell. The Stratum Granulosum is where cells start to break down and die, their oils and lipids leak out and create the Stratum Lucidum and the once Keratinocyte becomes Keratin. There's not much more to this layer however the process that happens within it is the most important parts.


Stratum Spinosum- this layer needs a drum roll.... The Stratum Spinosum is the major player when it comes to the Epidermis, located in here is your Langerhans cells, your Keratinocytes, dendritic arms from your melanocytes and pretty well so everything that forms the epidermis and majority of skin conditions.

So first things first, these Langerhans cells we mentioned, what are they? Well these are the last layer of your barrier for the skin, they work like a second shield for the Keratinocytes. Langerhans cells have what could be described as little arms that assist in the breakdown of bacteria and ingredients that can cause harm to the skin. If these cells break down, your skin has no natural ability to fight of infections within the Stratum Spinosum or products that can harm your deeper layers of the skin.

Next up we have the Keratinocyte or the Skin Cell, made up of 3 layers; the Membrane, Cytoplasm and Nucleus. The membrane is formed from hydrophilic heads and hydrophobic tails that later go on to make the Stratum Lucidum! The membrane surrounds the cytoplasm and protect, it plus gives the cell its structural integrity. The membrane also regulates the cells growth. But what we love about this component of the cell is, it has the ability to pick and choose what ingredients pass through its walls (by way of receptors) and into the other layers of the cell! Now the next layer of the cell is the Cytoplasm, which is made up of mostly of water but also contains enzymes. This area of the cell also holds the pigment of your skin. The final component of the cell is the Nucleus which contains the DNA structure of the skin! The nucleus controls the health and ability of the cell, if the nucleus is damaged well that cell is damaged and wont function properly.


Stratum Basel- The junction of the Epidermis and Dermis. Here we have our Stem Cells and Melanocytes! Our Stem sells are the DNA mapping of the Keratinocytes, each stem cell duplicates itself to create another skin cell and this is how the Stratum Spinosum builds its structure of cells! but if one stem cell is damaged, all the cells it creates will have the same damages, so beware and take care!

The Melanocytes are the cell that create pigment, in a process call melanogenesis. Other than just our DNA pigment process, the melanocytes produce excess pigment as a protective mechanism of the skin.


Well that sums up our Epidermis! I understand that may of been a bit to read, but its very important to know these few basics of the skin before treating a skin condition because it all plays its part. And in our later blogs we will be referring back to this when recommending treatments and explaining skin conditions.

Now to the next layer...


Dermis

Unlike the epidermis, our Dermis isn't made up of as much layers, but it still has a few things going on inside it! So we are going to break it down into two sections; The Papillary Dermis and the Reticular Dermis. Here we go...

The Papillary Dermis is the top layer of our dermis and is quite thin compared to our lower Reticular Dermis, it contains mainly our capillaries which give the skin its vital supply of nutrients and oxygen.

The Reticular Dermis contains our Fibroblast Cells, Collagen, Elastin, Hyaluronic Acid Blood vessels, Glands, Hair follicles and Nerves. The Reticular Dermis is responsible for majority of the skins structure, elasticity, flexibility and strength thanks to those amazing proteins and fibres called Collagen and Elastin! Its also home to our Sebaceous Gland which provides the skins natural oils and Hyaluronic Acid which gives the skin its hydration! The Reticular Dermis is where we focus on repairing when it comes to ageing as it holds so many key components that affect the ageing process.


Hypodermis

Lucky last layer, the Hypodermis. The hypodermis is made up of fatty tissue basically to protect all your organs under the skin. It contains blood vessels that supply the capillaries of the skin. larger nerves and some hair follicles. Although it doesn't sound like it has much going on in the way of our skin but it has a few key roles. The hypodermis helps attach the dermis and epidermis layers of the skin with the underlying bones and muscles, it also gives us fullness and volume to the skin.


So there we go, you've learnt the basic fundamentals of the skin and a tiny bit of our knowledge on the skin.

Each of our blogs will refer to this information and the Fundamentals of The Skin will be the base of nearly everything we blog about as its the building block to treating skin concerns.

We hope you enjoyed reading this as much as we did writing it, but as always if you cant understand it or need help please book in for a skin consult.


Love

Elle x


P.S don't forget to hydrate






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