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September 24, 2014

Skin 101: The Anatomy of Skin

This post is all about the anatomy of skin, or to be more specific the epidermis and dermis ... Insert excited jazz hands here!

I know, I know boring....

There is no hiding the fact that this isn't exactly a sexy subject, and on a normal day is likely to send you into a snooze fest, but if you are serious about sorting out your skin it's fundamental, so listen up

I suggest grabbing some tea and  bickies and then settling down for what is hopefully a helpful skin read


What is it?

Epidermis = Top layer of skin

What does it do?

The outermost layer of your skin, it's your body's first defence against intruders i.e germs, the elements, bacteria etc. providing essential support to your immune system

The bottom layer of your epidermis produces melanin which gives your skin it's colour and also protects you from the harmful rays of the sun. For example when it's sunny, as your skin gets exposed to the UV rays, your melanin gets activated and produces a tan to protect your skin from being damaged by the suns rays

It has 5 layers of cells and millions of cells per square inch. It's also constantly producing new cells on a daily basis. These cells are created and move from the lowest layer to the top layer were they then flatten out and eventually die ( it's where the phrase dead skin cells comes from)

Why should you care?

Your epidermis acts as your face to the world. It's what you present to the world on a daily basis. If it's clear and blemish free, you most likely would like to keep it that way, and if it's not you most likely would like to get it to that clear state.

Remember those cells we talked about earlier? Well the surface of your skin is made up of those dead skin cells. They play a big part in making your skin look dull, clogged and lifeless. They can also build around your pores and exaggerate them, making them appear even larger

What can you do to help your skin
  1. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate! It helps to rid your skin of all those dead skin cells which results in brighter, clearer and smoother skin. There are many different options of exfoliation from Aha's, Bha's, Acids, treatments such as peels, microdermabrasion etc ( I will be talking about this in more detail in a future post) but I would avoid the harsh nut type exfoliators, they are usually quite large and rough in texture which can scratch the surface of your skin.
  2. Hydrate with moisturisers, serums etc to keep your skin plump and moisturised
  3. Protect with products such as vitamin c, antioxidants and sun protection


What is it?

It's where the action really happens on a functional level. It contains things like our nerve endings, sweat glands and hair follicles

What does it do?

It sends nutrients and moisture up to the epidermis to keep it healthy

It's comprised of key proteins and moisture:
  • Collagen - this gives your skin it's fullness and form
  • Elastin - it's how our skin bounces back. Try pulling your cheek and watch it bounce back
  • Hyaluronic Acid - a lubricant and cellular lipid that holds water and keeps your skin hydrated from the inside out

Why should you care?

All these key elements determine your skins overall quality and appearance

As we get older, external factors such as sunlight and internal factors like stress and diet can cause collagen and elastin to breakdown as well as increase moisture loss.

What can you do to help your skin?

To protect and build up your skin some of the key things that can help are

  • Inside out approach - we have all heard the old adage you are what you eat. So:
  1. Eating the right foods that nourish your skin and reduce inflammation
  2. Supplementing with the right vitamins, minerals, green foods etc if you can't get it from your diet
  3. Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate with water
  • Applying the right topical products. Some key ingredients are known to help fight free radicals and to stimulate collagen such as Vitamin C, Retinol and Hyalurolic Acid

This will hopefully give you a little guidance on how these two layers of your skin work and why it's important to protect and build up your skin to ensure you have the best skin that you can.

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