An Overview of Your Skin
Skin is the largest organ on our body, made up of components like water, protein, lipids and different minerals and chemicals. It takes a lot to protect you, too: your skin weighs just about six pounds and regenerates itself approximately every 27 days. Proper care and treatment is essential to maintaining the health and vitality of this crucial protection.
What Your Skin Demands Daily
It’s easy to skip that glass of water during the haste of your daily routines or to cleanse yourself. But over time, those bad habits can take a toll on your skin. Each day you should make certain to provide your skin with:
- Plenty of water.
- Cleansing twice daily. At night, remove all make-up and cleanse properly before going to bed.
- Balanced nutrition.
- Toning – that is, after you cleanse with your bar soap or other cleanser, make sure you use a formulated toner or astringent to remove fine traces of oil, dirt, and make-up that you may have missed when cleansing.
- Moisturizing – this is a necessary step even for those who have oily skin. There are plenty of moisturizers on the market that are oil-free.
Over the course of your life, you should pay attention to all parts of your skin. Familiarize yourself with it, so you’ll notice any changes that might occur, such as different moles or patches that might require further attention.
The Skin’s Structure
Your skin is made up of three different layers, which work together to form the ultimate protection for your body. The layers include:
1. Epidermis: The Outer Layer
The thinnest layer is responsible for protecting you from the harsh environment, with five layers of its own: stratum germinativum, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum, and stratum corneum. The epidermis also hosts different types of cells: keratinocytes, melanocytes and Langerhans cells. Keratinocytes produce the protein known as keratin, the main component of the epidermis. Melanocytes produce your skin pigment, known as melanin. Langerhans cells prevent things from getting into your skin!
2. Dermis: The Middle Layer
This is the layer responsible for wrinkles. The dermis is a complex combination of blood vessels, hair follicles, and sebaceous (oil) glands. Here, you’ll find collagen and elastin, two proteins necessary for skin health, because they offer support and elasticity. Fibroblasts are the cells you’ll find in this layer, because they synthesize collagen and elastin. This layer also contains pain and touch receptors.
3. Hypodermis: The Fatty Layer
Reduction of tissue in this layer is what contributes to sagging skin. This layer is also known as the subcutis. It hosts sweat glands and fat and collagen cells, and is responsible for conserving your body’s heat and protecting your vital inner organs.
The Skin’s Proteins
Your skin is also made up of several different proteins. These proteins include:
It’s the most abundant protein in the skin, making up 75 percent of your skin. Collagen is responsible for warding off wrinkles and fine lines. Over time, environmental factors and aging diminish your body’s ability to produce collagen.
Think elastic. This protein is found with collagen in the dermis. Elastin is responsible for giving structure to your skin and organs. As with collagen, elastin is affected by time and the elements. Diminished levels of this protein cause your skin to wrinkle and sag.
This dominant protein in your skin makes up hair, nails and the surface layer of the skin. Keratin is what forms the rigidity of your skin.