The components and
structure of your skin
Beauty Specialist / Writer / Beauty Commentator
Though you see and interact with it everyday, do you really know what your skin is made of? By learning about the skin's structure and components, you will learn to not only love it more, but will be able to increase your skincare knowledge. With your future skincare routine in mind, lets learn more about the skin now.
What does the skin really do?
The Skin's Structure and Components
Protecting the body from various outside threats
The skin is the body's largest organ and plays an important role in preventing outside matter from entering the body. In addition to protecting the body, it also reacts to outside conditions and helps to maintain body temperature through sweating. It is divided into three layers—the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue—each of which has its own properties.
About the Epidermis
Protection from Outside Stimuli—The Skin's Outermost Layer
The outermost layer of the skin is called the epidermis. Only 0.2 mm thick, it serves as both a barrier for outside stimuli and in moisture retention. In terms of skincare, this is where proper skincare has the greatest effect. From it's base, the epidermis is composed of the stratum basale, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, and stratum corneum. New cells, created in the stratum basale, are slowly pushed up until they're exposed to the surface as keratinocytes—dry, dead cells that will eventually flake off.
About the Dermis
Composed mostly of collagen, it is responsible for the skin's elasticity
About 70% of the dermis is composed of protein fibers called collagenous fibers, which are interconnected with elastin fibers. Embedded in this mesh of protein fibers is gel-like extracellular matrix composed of things like hyaluronic acid. The decay and deterioration of these fibers by UV light or oxidation is what causes the symptoms of skin aging, such as wrinkles and sagging.
About Subcutaneous Tissue
Containing mainly subcutaneous fat, it acts as a cushion
Resting between the skin and your muscles or bones, subcutaneous tissue is mostly composed of fats. This is where fat is produced, and it serves an important role as a cushion that protects the body and assists in temperature retention. This fat, the production of which increases in the neonatal and adolescence periods, also serves as an important reservoir of energy. Beyond fat, subcutaneous tissue also contains blood vessels.
The Cycle of Skin Regeneration
All about Turnover
The Skin is Regenerated Roughly Every 28 Days
Turnover refers to the birth and regeneration of epidermal cells. Produced in the basal layer, these cells become keratinocytes after about two weeks. Another two weeks later, after protecting the skin as it's outermost layer, they naturally flake off. Although age and other factors may affect this process, the average is about 28 days.
However, this turnover process may be disrupted. First and foremost is improper lifestyle choices. Because cell division and creation in the basal layer takes place while sleeping, a lack of sleep can negatively affect the process. Alcohol and eating habits also lead to problems in skin turnover. Other issues, such as aging, low blood, or a cold temperatures may slow turnover, whereas UV light exposure or chapped skin may lead to faster turnover—the body's desire to promote recovery.
- Chapped skin
- UV Light
- Lack of sleep
- Drinking and eating habits
- Low blood pressure, cold environment
- Hormone imbalance
Skincare Tip to Restore Skin Turnover
Although correcting improper lifestyle habits is key for restoring proper skin turnover, it is also important to review proper skincare. If skin turnover is slowed, the skin may become thick with excess keratinocytes. In such cases, mild treatments, such as peeling or enzyme face washes, may be effective. Furthermore, ingredients such as Vitamin C, human stem cell culture extracts, hyaluronic acid, or placenta extracts, positively incorporated into skincare routines, will help the skin grow and maintain moisture. If turnover is faster than usual, it is important to protect against UV rays, such as by using sunscreen. In addition, as new keratinocytes are quite sensitive, it is important to use products that don't cause skin irritation.
Maintaining a healthy diet will create beautiful skin
Food that is good for your body is also good for your skin. In addition to consuming a well-balanced diet, that is low in carbohydrates and sweets, you should also consume plenty of green and yellow vegetables, proteins that serve as the building blocks of the skin, and enzymes that are essential for life. While you can add supplements, they should really be supplementary. The most important thing is preparing proper meals.
Beauty Specialist / Writer / Beauty Commentator
After being selected as a Clarion Girl in 1991, Sachiko Ueda worked as a model and reporter before becoming a beauty writer in 1996.
In addition to Japanese beauty trends, she also reports on beauty trends from across Asia, including Korea and Thailand.