All About the Three Main Layers of the Skin
by Deborah Spalla
When you think of your skin layers, you probably think more in terms of a single layer - the epidermis. In fact, this is just one of the three main layers of skin that protect your body from the elements and the outside world.
Don’t forget that observing a proper daily skin care ritual is a good first start for saying, “thank you,” to the largest organ in your body.
Say “Thank You” to The Three Main Layers of Skin
Without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to the three main layers of your skin:
This is the outer-most layer of your skin. It’s the one that gets freckles, age spots or melasma, can flake when dry or feel nice and smooth when taken care of. The epidermis is also the place where acne is most visible – even though it typically originates and permeates the deeper-skin layers.
Your epidermis contains:
- Both old and new skin cells. The old cells are at the top and flake off in remarkable quantity of about 30,000 to 40,000 skin cells per day! Now do you see why exfoliation is so important? In the meantime, the lower layer of the epidermis generates new, fresh cells which make their up to the top over the course of a month’s time.
- Melanin. These are the cells that give your skin color – the more you have, the darker your skin. African-Americans have a rich and beautiful supply of melanin, while Caucasians have lesser-amounts, and those with albinism lack melanin altogether. Sometimes, melanin is dispersed irregularly, causing freckles over time and with sun exposure.
- Immune system cells. Some of the cells on your top-layer of skin are part of the immune system, helping to fight off unwanted pathogens – like harmful bacteria, fungi or viruses.
Your dermis plays many roles in promoting the health of your skin and body. It:
- Makes you sweat. Sweat is produced via the sebaceous glands that live in this mid-layer of skin. Sweating cools you off and detoxes your body. It does this through openings called pores. Overactive sweat glands combined with clogged pores (as well as overly active oil glands) can be a recipe for acne disaster.
- Helps you to feel…via touch, that is. Nerve endings in the dermis allow you to feel a myriad of sensations – from the pleasurable to the painful.
- Produces oil. Oil glands are found here as well, and they produce essential body oils that moisturize and protect. If overactive, however, they can cause acne that can show up anywhere, from your face to your back.
- Grows hair. Each of the hairs emerging from your skin is rooted, literally, in the dermis. Each of these roots is anchored to a muscle, which is what allows goosebumps to rise and fall due to cold, a chill, an emotional reaction or an eerie sensation.
- Contains blood vessels. Your skin bleeds as the result of blood vessels that start in the dermis and continue throughout the deeper layers of skin, muscles, your interior organs and so on.
The Subcutaneous Fat
Be careful before you wish all your unwanted fat away. Some of that fat is vital to your health and improves the way you look. Subcutaneous fat, the third-layer of skin, is a prime example. This is why people who lose too much weight wind up looking older, gaunt and/or more haggard. That important third-layer keeps you looking younger and more vibrant.
This fat/skin layer plays multiple roles. For example, the subcutaneous fat layer:
- Anchors. Without it, your skin wouldn’t look so nice and shapely across the rest of your frame.
- Supports. The smaller blood vessels in the dermis pass through this layer and its protection allows them to expand deeper towards other parts of your body.
- Controls. Without this layer of fat, your body has a much harder time keeping you warm or cool. It acts as a layer of insulation
- Protects. The next time you bump up against something without bruising too much or breaking a bone, give a shout out to the subcutaneous fat layer. Without that extra layer of protection, you’d get injured much more often.
Are your skin layers looking for a little extra attention? Pay us a visit here at Skin Deep. Our knowledgeable and conscientious aestheticians are passionate about helping you personalize your skin care for a healthier, vibrant and more confident You!