Science of the Skin

Did you know that skin is the largest organ that our body contains? Yup, that’s right folks our skin is an organ. Now, I know it may seem odd that I am sharing an anatomy lesson with you , but it is important to know about the basic components of your skin if you want to keep it healthy and well balanced. Knowing about your body and how it functions is quite important in general to stay healthy.

So… let’s get started.

As you can see below, our skin contains multiple different parts that work in conjunction with one another.

Layers of Skin
Photo Credit: National Cancer Institute

Cells:
First, we will begin with cells. Technically not the smallest, but the smallest we need to go for our purposes, cells are what make up the skin. They are like tiny puzzle pieces that fit together and adapt to create our own sort of body armor that shields us from heat, cold, water and multiple other conditions. Since these cells have to adapt to many different conditions they have an array of settings that they rely on. This is what sometimes makes it difficult to treat our skin, especially, when we move or visit places that differ in climates, altitudes, humidity, etc. There are a lot of different components that go into maintaining cell health.

Layers: 

The cells make up three separate layers of skin. There is the epidermis, the dermis and the hypodermis.

Epidermis:
The outer, nonvascular, nonsensitive layer of the skin, coverin the true skin or corium. It’s what makes us waterproof and contains melanin.

Don’t worry if you didn’t quite catch that I will explain. It’s basically the top layer of skin that is visible to our eyes. It prevents water from soaking in at too quickly of a rate which would drown us otherwise. Melanin is what determines the color of our skin. If we have smaller amounts of melanin than we are a lighter color. If we have larger amounts of melanin then we are a darker color.

Dermis:
The dense inner layer of skin beneath the epidermis, composed of connective tissue, blood and lymph vessels, sweat glands, hair follicles, and an elaborate sensory nerve network.

So, basically, the dermis is the middle layer. It contains most of the components that we think of when we think of skin such as hair follicles, sweat glands and sebaceous glands. This is the layer that often causes us problems with pimples and acne. The hair follicles aka pores get filled with dead skin cells and infection which leads to acne and pimples.

Hypodermis:
The hypodermis is the deepest layer of skin. This layer is very deep beneath and we will never be penetrating this layer. If you have then you have gone too far!!!

So what does all of this information have to do with skin health? All of our skins components work together. Knowing about these will help us to better identify the problem that is happening, so we know what to use instead of guessing blindly.

Example:

Skin Issue:
There is white flakiness on your nose. These are dead skin cells on our epidermis (top layer of skin).

What it can lead to if not removed:
These cells can potentially fall into the dermis layer (middle layer) of the skin inside the pores, mix with the oil that is created by the sebaceous gland and can create a plug that leads to black heads.

Preventative Solution:
You can remove the dead skin cells by exfoliating the epidermis (top layer of skin) once or twice a week depending on how sensitive your skin is.

Already have blackheads:

You can remove the blackheads by using a comedone or nose strips.

Once you know more about your skin it is easier to identify the problem.
With that being said any severe skin conditions need to be treated by your doctor or dermatologist. This is not meant to be a substitute for a physician. It’s merely here to help guide you with your skincare journey by using the knowledge I have gained through trial and error throughout my own life.

10 thoughts on “Science of the Skin

  1. Thank you for this post, it is very interesting to learn about the skin and the many different layers. I think that our body is a magnificent machine that works so well without us even needing to control it…
    Are there any products or natural ingredients that are good for the skin?
    Paulina

    1. Hi Paulina,
      Thank you for stopping by! Our bodies really are pretty magnificent when you think of all the processes working together just right to make us be able to live. YAY SCIENCE.

      And there are tons. I am working on reviews for them that I will get up soon, so stay tuned and I will refer you to them.

  2. I know that your website and info seems for geared to women, but men have skin issues too. It was great to learn about the biology of the skin. Thank you! I am really looking forward to your reviews on products, especially geared towards acne.

    1. One hundred percent they do and I am always glad when our fellow gents stop by! 🙂 Knowledge is key to understanding what our needs are. And stay tuned, cause I have some awesome reviews coming your way.

  3. Its amazing to think of our skin is an organ. We don’t always treat it with the respect it deserves. I agree – exfoliating is the best preventative measure we can take to avoid blackheads. I found out the hard way when I was a teenager!

    1. Skin so often gets bypassed as something that doesn’t really matter that much when it comes to staying healthy, but it is such a big part of our lives. It does sooooooo much for us!
      And me to my friend. I didn’t even know what exfoliation was until I got into college.

  4. Love the post! Your skin is definitely something a person should pamper whenever possible. Keeping your skin healthy and hydrated will only help you as you get older. Thank you.

  5. Betsey – once again an excellent post, As I said it is lively and not formal which is good for reading. Thanks for letting us know that the skin is an organ as all these days we were thinking of something else about skin. Also in the recent days I have heard about laser treatments for skin – is it worth going for or does it have any side effects for future?

    1. Hi Manasir,
      Always a pleasure to read your comments! 🙂

      About laser treatment I really don’t know a whole lot about it. I typically stick to more of topical treatments when it comes to facing acne.
      What I do know, is that it is still a newer treatment that they are conducting research on, so it is one of the last resort kind of things. It’s also rather expensive to get done professionally. Typically, one needs multiple treatments and they can cost anywhere from 200$ to 500$ a session depending on where you get it done.
      And whether good or bad everything always has side effects! When I was researching this kind of treatment I didn’t find anything that was significantly terrifying though when it came to harmful side effects. Pain, redness, inflammation, and peeling of skin is the majority of what I found.
      I hope this helps and please keep coming back for more.
      Cheers!

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