Understanding your skin

Skin structure

The skin is the largest organ of the body and is made up of 3 main layers, each performing specific tasks.

A. Epidermis

The outermost layer of the skin which acts as a physical barrier.

A. Epidermis

The outermost layer of the skin which acts as a physical barrier.

Most of the cells in this layer are keratinocytes, which originate from the deepest layer of the epidermis. Once these cells reach the skin surface, they gradually die and are replaced by newer cells pushed up from below.

B. dermis

A thick layer of connective tissue that gives the skin flexibility and strength.

B. dermis

A thick layer of connective tissue that gives the skin flexibility and strength.

The major fibres in this layer are collagen fibres which provide the skin with strength, and elastin which provides elasticity. Other tissues include blood vessels, muscle fibres, sensory cells, nerve fibres, pigment cells, sweat glands, hair follicles and sebaceous glands.

c. hypodermis

A layer of fat that provides protective padding for the skin.

c. hypodermis

A layer of fat that provides protective padding for the skin.

Below the dermis is a layer of fat that helps to insulate the skin by monitoring heat loss and heat gain. The fat is contained in fat cells, held together by fibrous tissues.

What happens to our skin
as we age?

As we age, the cells in the dermis gradually reduce in number. Collagen and elastin fibers also reduce significantly.

Environmental factors also cause the skin to constantly produce free radicals which damage collagen, oxidize cells and accelerate ageing.

the formation of wrinkles

1. Young skin

Sufficient collagen and elastin fibres. Skin full of elasticity.

2. Old skin

Epidermis loses support and starts to sag.

Collagen loss, elastin fibres break apart, fibroblasts age and weaken.