The skin is the largest organ of our body. It protects us from external elements, helps regulate temperature, and allow us to feel physical sensations. It also helps remove waste through pores. The oils and sweat secreted by the skin are naturally antibacterial. A crucial part of Vitamin D synthesis occurs on the skin with the appropriate skin exposure. Our skin does more than we can see.
The layers of the skin
The skin is made up of three main layers, the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis, in order from superficial to deep.
This is the outermost layer that we can see with the visible eye. It is mostly made up of keratinocytes, which constantly grow outwards, resulting in the dead skin we see on the outer surface. The outermost layer is called the stratum corneum. It takes about 5 weeks for new cells to make their way up to the surface. The thickness of the stratum corneum varies on the parts of the body. For instance, it is thicker around the feet than the eyes. The epidermis also has special immune cells to help protect us from infectious agents. It also contains melanocytes that produce the skin pigment melanin. Melanin gives our skin its colour.
The Dermis is the largest layer of the skin. It is made up of collagen fibers and elastin, giving the skin strength, support, and elasticity. Fibroblasts are responsible for synthesizing collagen and elastin. Moreover, blood vessels dilate or contract here to regulate body temperature. Network of nerves, hair follicles, sweat glands, and oil glands are also found in this layer.
This is the most abundant protein. It prevents wrinkles and fine lines. Over time, factors such as aging and environmental damage decreases collagen production and also breaks down existing collagen
This gives structure and support to the skin and organs. It is diminished by similar factors as collagen, which results in wrinkles and sag
This is the strongest protein in the skin, the dominant component of hairs and nails. It makes the skin rigid and makes up kertinocytes in the epidermis.
Hypodermis or Subcutaneous Tissue
This is mostly made up of fat. Fat serves as insulation, fuel, and cushion. It also attaches the dermis to muscles and bones and is a point of connection for blood vessel and nerves to the rest of the body.