Breaking Down Barriers: Understanding Your Skin Anatomy

Breaking Down Barriers: Understanding Your Skin Anatomy

We are in direct contact with our skin every single day. It plays a huge part in how we look and how we feel. So, what makes this part of our body so important? 

The Barrier

The skin is an organ. And, it may be hard to believe that it is also the largest organ making up about 15% of your total body weight. While it is the largest organ, it is also the most exposed. Our skin comes into contact with so many things everyday-whether that be from our environment or from what you choose to put on it. Understanding the mechanism and structure of this organ is the first step in better treating it. 

What exactly is the skin anyways? There are 3 main layers that form it. They are the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous tissue. These layers work together and act as a barrier to maintain the integrity of the skin in order to protect your body from external sources and prevent water loss. Here’s a quick breakdown of each! 

The Epidermis 

The epidermis is the outermost layer of your skin. It is the layer in which you can see and is responsible for giving the color to your skin, making new skin cells, and protecting your body from the outside world. 

The Dermis

The dermis, or the middle layer, is what is responsible for many of the skin’s functions. This layer contains nerve endings which helps you feel objects, the hair follicle and root where your hair grows from, sweat glands and oil glands, and blood vessels. One of the most important components of the dermis is collagen. You might have heard of collagen for its use in beauty products. Collagen is responsible for maintaining the structure of the skin and is often credited with its ability to maintain youthful looking skin. 

Subcutaneous Fat

The last layer, or the subcutaneous fat, is the layer that holds everything together. This is also the part of the skin that stores fat and helps control your body temperature. 

The Trifecta

All of these layers work together to form and maintain your skin. And, what we choose to apply to our skin affects each layer! Understanding what each of these layers do can help you understand what certain skincare and cosmetic products are a must in your routine. 

References:

https://journals.lww.com/jdnaonline/fulltext/2011/07000/anatomy_and_physiology_of_the_skin.3.aspx

https://www.aad.org/public/parents-kids/healthy-habits/parents/kids/skin-layers

 

Sabine Puglia

Sabine Puglia is a Pharmacy Student Intern at EpiLynx. She is a second year pharmacy student at the UIC College of Pharmacy.

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