How skin works
Skin is amazing! Did you know it is the largest organ of your body and the only one you can see! Your skin is essentially made up of 3 layers. Let’s start with the top layer:
1. The Stratum Corneum – or ‘The Barrier’ as we call it
This layer is made up of dead epidermal cells, which are held together by a special waterproof cement. Even though this Barrier layer is pretty tough, but just like a wall it can crack and leak if it is not looked after properly or if something damages it. And if this happens, you may well experience signs of sensitive skin. Thankfully this layer replaces itself almost once a month, but by being kind to our ‘top layer’ you can keep it looking and feeling at its healthy best every day.
2. The Epidermis – we like to call this the ‘middle layer’
In the Epidermis, new cells are produced. These cells are called keratinocytes and they go through a process called ‘terminal differentiation’; it’s the process of change from a normal cell into the special building blocks that make up the Barrier layer. During this process they even make their own natural cement.
3. The Dermis – the ‘bottom layer’
Finally, the ‘bottom layer’, the Dermis. The Barrier and the Epidermis layers have no blood supply of their own, so all their needs are provided by the Dermis. Tiny blood vessels called capillaries carry nutrient and oxygen rich blood very close to the Epidermis, giving it the fuel it needs. Whereas the Epidermis is nearly all cells packed tightly together, the Dermis is nearly all a matrix. We don’t mean the Keanu kind; the matrix we’re talking about is made by cells called fibroblasts. It’s this dermal matrix that gives the skin support, plumpness and flexibility. It’s made of proteins including collagen and elastin, and lots of water.
The three layers of the skin sit on a layer of fat. We don’t usually think of having a layer of fat as a good thing, but when it comes to your skin, this layer is vital for much needed support and cushioning.