The skin is the largest organ of your body, but perhaps because it is also the most visible, its complex underlying functions are often overlooked. In order to properly care for your skin and treat various conditions, it’s important to understand how your skin works and what its general make-up looks like. Here’s everything you need to know about your skin’s anatomy and physiology to better understand how to maintain its health and radiance.
The Layers of Your Skin
Although you only physically see one layer of your skin, it’s actually comprised of three different layers, including the:
- Epidermis. The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin, which is made up primarily of dead skin cells and serves as a protective barrier to keep harmful pollutants out and to also lock moisture and nutrients inside.
- Dermis. Next is the dermis, or the middle layer of skin. This is where most of your skin’s primary functions take place, as your nerves, proteins, glands, enzymes and blood vessels are located here. The point at which the dermis and the epidermis meet is called the dermal epidermal junction (DEJ), where a network of blood vessels supplies nutrients and oxygen to the epidermis from the dermis (Current Opinion in Cell Biology).
- Hypodermis. The hypodermis, also known as subcutaneous tissue, is the undermost layer, which is primarily made up of fat, blood vessels and nerves. The main purpose of this layer is to keep the body insulated and cushioned.
Your Skin’s Essential Proteins
There are two primary proteins that are utilized in the dermis to give your skin its structure and support. These are:
- Collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and serves as the main building blocks for your skin. This protein is responsible for your skin’s firmness and structure, so lines, wrinkles and sagging skin may result when it breaks down due to the aging process and UV exposure (American Journal of Pathology).
- Elastin. Like collagen, the breakdown of elastin, an important protein that allows your skin to bounce back into place after being stretched, can lead to some of the common signs of aging.
Other Defining Characteristics
- Sebaceous glands. Located in the dermis at the root of each hair follicle are sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, or oil.
- Sebum. Sebum keeps your skin and hair lubricated and hydrated. Sebum can, however, build up inside your pores, leading to blemishes or other unwanted skin conditions.
An Anti-Aging Approach from the Bottom, Up
Understanding the basics of how your skin functions and self-regulates is integral to establishing an effective skin care routine. Knowing which parts and elements of your skin to target with the right ingredients is the most effective way to help improve the appearance of lines, wrinkles, discoloration and sagging skin. Seek to develop your best, personalized, anti-aging strategy.
Skinbetter science AlphaRet™ Overnight Cream employs a revolutionary and proprietary blend of a retinoid and alpha hydroxy acids to nourish collagen and elastin in the dermis and to help protect against the degradation of these proteins and hyaluronic acid, helping to visibly reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles and uneven skin tone. Simultaneously, this formula contains a unique blend of humectants, including squalane, niacinamide, ceramides, fatty acids and shea butter to help keep your skin moisturized and hydrated.
When sagging skin is a concern, skinbetter science Daily Treatment Cream FACE may help to reinforce the dermal epidermal junction, which can break down as part of the aging process, leading to a sagging appearance.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to keeping your skin looking and feeling healthy and rejuvenated, taking a bottom-up approach to anti-aging is often the most effective solution. Your skin is a powerful organ capable of repairing and restoring itself to improve its overall appearance, and providing it with the right nutrients in your skin care products can help to promote these functions.