The Importance of a Strong and Healthy Skin Structure

Skin plays an important role not only in improving a person’s appearance but also in protecting and enhancing one’s health.  Healthy skin goes hand in hand with a healthy lifestyle

Your skin is an organ, much like your heart and kidneys, is the protective covering of the body and is the largest organ of the body.  Its acts as a protective barrier between our environment, as well as protect the wellbeing in the deeper layer of our skin.  

Skin is made up of the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis. The first is the outer layer, which we want to lock in hydration and protect against harmful toxins. As we age, the renewal of lipids (fatty acids that trap in water and prevent irritants entering the skin) in the epidermis slows down, and UV rays, pollution and lifestyle choices cause damage.

The skin barrier plays the role of keeping the skin healthy and preventing compounds inside the body from mixing with those outside the body. Therefore, the role of the skin barrier is highly important.  For example, if cement plays the important role of connecting bricks to build a firm wall, Corneocytes(dead skin cells) and lipid compounds strengthen the skin barrier by filling in the spaces in between the corneocytes(dead skin cells) at the outermost layer of the skin.

The epidermis (your outermost skin layer), act as the outer barrier is thin, tough and waterproof. This protective shield works to help your body repel damaging bacteria and viruses. It contains several different types of cells, including a specialized kind called Langerhans’ cells, which provide support for your immune system by fighting against these potentially harmful foreign substances.

Its also protects you from the harmful rays of the sun. It contains another important type of cell called melanocytes, which produce the pigment melanin. When you get a tan, it’s this pigment that turns your skin darker or causes freckles. Melanin’s main function, however, is to block out the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, which can lead to cancer or other skin problem.

Skin continuously regenerates throughout a lifetime and maintains a certain level of thickness and its functions. Cells generated inside the skin eventually become corneocytes(dead skin cells), and these fall off every four weeks. On the stratum corneum, not only corneocytes(dead skin cells) exist, but also skin lipid, which binds cells.

Lipid, like oil, does not mix with water, and is tightly and meticulously aligned on stratum corneuvm to prevent moisture loss as well as the infiltration of harmful elements to the body.  Such lipid structure is called a lamellar structure. Because several layers of lipid, which does not mix with water, are aligned in parallel, water and other harmful elements from the external environment do not easily penetrate the skin.

The skin type that is representative of a damaged skin barrier is dry skin and sensitive skin. Both dry skin and sensitive skin water is easily lost, leaving the skin drier and vulnerable to the infiltration of harmful elements from the external environment causing irritation or allergies. Of the several hundred lipid compounds inside dry skin, ceramide is particularly lacking. Skin that lacks ceramide does not show a normal lipid lamellar structure.

Both dry skin and sensitive skin lack ceramide or have an abnormal lipid structure. Lack of ceramide causes various skin problems. As such, several attempts have been made to develop products that supply enough ceramide to the skin in order to improve the function of the skin barrier.

The Dermis (second layer of your skin), is the thick, elastic but firm middle layer of the skin.  The main structural components of the dermis are collagen and elastin, connective tissues, which give strength and flexibility and these fibres are embedded in hyaluronic acid which has high capacity for water binding and helps to maintain the volume of our skin and are the vital components of healthy, young looking skin.  

The dermis plays an important role in protecting the skin from external influences and irritants as well as feeding the outermost layers of skin from within.  Its thick and firm texture helps to support external blow and when damage occurs, fibroblast and mast cell that heal wounds.  It is rich in blood vessels that nourish the epidermis while removing waste.  

Lifestyle and external factors such as the sun and changes in temperature have an impact of collagen and elastin levels and on the structure of the surrounding substance.  As we age, our natural production of collagen and elastin slows down and the skin’s ability to bind in water substance.  Skin looks less toned and wrinkle appear

Essentially, maintaining your skin’s natural barrier which result in protecting the deeper layer of skin is one of the best things you can do to stay looking young.

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