Skin Structure and Care: Part 1
Our skin is our largest organ. It has many functions:
- Insulation (from fat below the skin surface)
- Protection from the elements for body structures
- Minimizing water loss
- Body temperature regulation (through sweat glands and dilation and constriction of its blood vessels)
- Sensation of touch, heat, cold, pain, itch, and pressure (through sensory nerve endings in the skin)
- Production of Vitamin D (through exposure to the sun’s UV radiation)
- Expression of emotions (through blushing, paling and goose bumps. Goosebumps are the tightening of little muscles at the base of each hair. It makes the hair stand up like a bird fluffing up feathers or a porcupine raising its quills.)
We tend to take all of these essential functions for granted and instead focus on what our skin looks like. Much of cosmetic surgery focuses on the skin and on maintaining its youthful appearance with procedures like chemical peels. To get a good idea of how these procedures work, it is best to first understand the skin’s layers.
Two Main Skin Layers
The visible skin is an unstable top layer with five sub-layers. It is continually discarding cells and replacing them with new cells that rise up from its lowest sub-layer. This relates to the skin function of protection from the elements. The top layer refreshes itself for continued strength against wind, chemicals, temperature changes, radiation, physical impacts, and the other onslaughts it receives on a daily basis. Also in the epidermis is melanin, a pigment that determines the skin and hair color.
The dermis has two layers and holds many structures that enable the skin to perform its many tasks. Here are the sweat glands, oil glands, nerves, blood vessels, tiny muscles, and hair follicles (roots). The dermis also has collagen and elastin fibers that intertwine to support the epidermis and provide elasticity for the skin. When the skin is injected with a facial filler, it is the dermis where those support substances are placed.
Beneath the dermis is a fatty layer with connective tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. The fat here insulates the body and works to regulate the skin and body temperature. Some consider this as a third skin layer and other consider it as separate.
Please watch this space for more on the skin and how we can help you keep yours clear, smooth, and youthful-looking. If you would like to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Rai, please call or email us today. We serve Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas and hope to meet with you soon.