Your skin is alive and dynamic. It breathes, grows, and changes. It protects your body from bacteria, viruses, and pollutants, takes in nutrients and through sweat helps remove toxins. It regulates body temperature, manufactures vitamin D from Sunlight and provides information through touch and pain. Every day the skin reflects and reacts to what you eat and drink, your exposure to the elements, how you sleep, the stress you are under and your general health.
Under your Skin
The skin consists of 3 layers: epidermis, the dermis and the sub-cutis. Each layer has particular functions that help skin to renew, react and protect your body.
The main cells of the epidermis, keratinocytes are formed by cell division at its base. New cells continually move towards the surface. Gradually, as they move, they die, are flattened and are sloughed off. This process takes around 14 days(longer as we get older)
Flattened dead keratinocytes, coeneocytes make up a tough, protective and virtually waterproof layer called the stratum corneum or horny layer. This layer continually renews and is sloughed off. In fact, each of us slough off millions of dead skin every day.
These produce the pigment melanin that protects against UV radiation and gives skin its colour. Exposure to the sun stimulates increased melanin production and this result in the skin becoming darker or tanned. When melanin is unable to absorb all the UV rays because of prolonged and unaccustomed exposure, the skin is damages and it will burn.
This inner layer of the skin is composed of connective tissue, containing both elastin (the fibres that give the qualities of stretch and suppleness to the skin) and collagen (the fibres that provides strength). The dermis also contains numerous blood vessels, follicles and glands.
These are pits where hair grows. Protective hair plays a role in temperature regulation.
These produce sebum (a natural oil) to keep hairs free from dust and bacteria. Sebum and sweat makeup the surface ‘film’of the skin.
Sweat is produced in the glands and travels via sweat ducts to openings in the epidermis called pores. They play a role in temperature regulation. Specific types of sweat glands called apocrine glands occur in hair p[arts of the body and only become active during puberty.
Under the dermis lies the sub-cutis or subcutaneous layer, which is made up of connective tissue and fat. It is good insulator.