The Nature of Skin

The body is a complex set of organs with the skin being the largest of all of them.  It is very important to consider what the skin functions are and figure out what would be the best for the health of our skin.

We all know that the skin is a sensory organ that allows us to know when it is too hot, too cold or something is causing irritation such as a bite, rash, an infection or injuries.

Not only is it sensitive, but it is a barrier that helps prevent water loss, protects from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun, prevents entry of microorganisms, foreign material, helps cushions, and produces Vitamin D.

There are three main layers of the skin and they are:

  • Epidermis:

The Epidermal layer continuously regenerates, provides a protection barrier and has five of its own layers.

It plays an important role in the production of skin cells, to the shedding phase.

The lowest layer produces a protein called keratinocytes (these cells contain keratin) that provides strength to the skin for the barrier protection.  In addition to this, melanocytes are made and form the pigment (color) of our skin and protects against UV radiation. As these new cells in the lowest layer form, they push the older cells steadily to the top and takes about 30 days for your skin to have regenerated new skin.  

This journey begins in the Stratum Basale and moves into the Stratum Spinosum and the Stratum Granulosum, where the keratinocytes dies and create the next layer, the Stratum Lucidum. This layer is only found in areas that do not have any hair, such as the palms and soles of the feet.

From there the keratinocytes moves into the 5th layer called Stratum Corneum and become corneocytes which are dead skin cells filled with keratin and forms a very tough protective layer and this layer continually shed these dead cells.

  • Dermis:

The Dermal Layer main function is to support the Epidermal Layer and enable the skin to thrive and has two of its own layers.

Its makeup is a thick layer of fat and has nerve endings, sweat glands, sebaceous glands and blood vessels. It gives the skin its strength and flexibility and is a cushion to the body from stress and strain, plus provides elasticity to the skin and a sense of touch and heat.

The Dermis layers are: Papillary & Reticular

The papillary consist of capillaries, lymph vessels and sensory neurons. This layer has a loose network of connective tissue and separates it from the reticular layer.  

The reticular layer is made up of thick collagen fibers that are arranged in parallel to the surface skin and strengthens the skin, providing structure and elasticity. There are nerve endings, lymphatic vessels, elastin and proteins.

  • Subcutis:

This tissue layer helps keep the body’s temperature stable and insulates, while offering a passageway from the dermis to the muscles that protects the bones and muscles from damage. The fat in this layer is known as a source of energy for the bodies needs.

Aging

In the illustration above you will notice the difference in our skin as we age. These are significant to consider as we notice the changes in the hyaluronic acid, collagen and the elastin from 35 to 55 on this chart. As our face, eyes and neck area matures we will need to find the correct help to keep them functioning as best we can.

These three areas have specific task to play:

Hyaluronic acid is a naturally produced gooey substance, with the largest amounts of it are found in your skin, connective tissue and eyes. Its main function is to retain water to moisturize and keep our skin soft and supple.

As we mature, our skin naturally losses some of this hyaluronic acid, though this acid can be derived from plant-based extraction from microbial fermentation.

The role of collagen is to provides structure to your skin and helps with filtration in the skin. As your skin matures your skin becomes less firm and supple.  You can think of it as the glue of your skin.

As we loss some of our skins collagen we are able to use natural plant base ingredients such as Bakuchiol which is cold pressed from the seeds of the plant Psoralea corylifolia.

Many will go to their doctors for prescription Retinol which is the most powerful form of collagen, but also can be harsh to the skin.

For those who would like a natural plant base ingredient that doesn’t cause the dryness, irritation, or flakes that often Retinol does, I suggest Bakuchiol.

Elastin is a protein that is very stretchy and found in connective tissue and skin. It helps the skin tissue to return to its original position after stretching and contracting.

One of the natural products that have been studied to help build elastin is algae extract that has nutrients, minerals that can draw out toxins from the skin. High in antioxidants and peptides that are known to condition, hydrate and soften the skin.

Personally, I do not believe in going to get beautified by the doctor, though I do believe we should take care and value what we have. No this is not vanity, it is wisdom. Often, we take care of everyone/everything else and forget about ourselves and then wind up having to deal with our own mismanagement years later.

When I first came to Hawaii one of the first thing on my list was to get golden tan. Well, I didn’t just get golden tan, I tanned until my skin was as dark as my Hawaiian friends. Those wonderful outing have had an impact on my skin these many years later. Thankfully at one point I made sure to stop crisping myself and started using sunblock and making sure I had a tree to shade me!

Another Thought:

Maybe we should begin to look for greener products and not have a huge beauty regimen and minimalise what we do?

I hope you have learned a little something today and I would love to hear back from you with questions or comments. See you next time!

Join me at In the Garden Body & Bath Botanical for more on Skincare!