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Human Anatomy: Skin Care Facts Our Amazing and Wonderous Skin (Part 1)

Updated on January 18, 2011

Skin Care and Skin Layers

So often we take our skin for granted.  It is bothersome when our hands get too dry or our face gets too oily.  Skin care is something your body needs you to do for it.  Our skin does more than cover our bones. It guards our inner tissues against the outside elements of light, heat, infection and injury. Our skin is what regulates our body temperature, alerts us to pain and stores fat, vitamin D and water. Our skin is made up of 3 layers, but the thickness varies on different parts of the body. The bottom of our feet and the palms of our hands are the toughest layers. Our lips and eyelids are the thinnest layer and our back has the thickest layer of skin.  So when someone says you are thick skinned, maybe you should just turn your back on them. Our face has many different kinds of  skin characteristics. Our nose and cheeks have more oil glands than other parts of our skin, which makes them more oily. Our eyelids have very thin layers, that is why we can see light even when our eyes are closed.

Skin care is an important regimen to have and you  probably haven’t  given much thought to all the talented things our skin can do::

Know the layers of your skin for good skin care treatment

 Proper skin care  is important
Proper skin care is important
Layers of the skin
Layers of the skin
epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous layers
epidermis, dermis, subcutaneous layers
  • Our skin is considered an organ, and is the largest organ in our body
  • A little piece of skin about the size of a coin like a quarter will contain nerve endings, blood vessels, over 3,000,000 cells, 100 plus sweat glands, oil glands, lymph vessels and hair follicles
  • hair and nails contain similar cells to our skin
  • the more melanin (pigment) you have in your skin, the darker the color of your skin
  • it takes about 2 weeks to a month for new cells to be made at the bottom of the epidermis until they reach the top of the epidermis where they will then slough off.  
  • the skin we see is really dead cells. Below this layer is where the skin is busy doing all of its work.  
  • proper skin care is important to our overall health
  • hair follicles and oil glands (part of the dermis layer) are found all over our body except for the palms of our hands, and the soles of our feet, and our lips.
It has been estimated that we shed approximately thirty to forty thousand skin cells every minute on a constant basis.  (if you are good at math, you can tell me how many cells you lost during the time you have read this article). It has been calculated that it comes out to about nine pounds per year. Luckily, we are a skin cell factory that is constantly reproducing more new cells, so don’t worry  about running out of skin. 

Three Amazing Layers

Skin care will help keep your skin looking and feeling good. There are three layers of the skin, the top layer is the epidermis (outer layer), dermis (inner layer, and subcutis (fat layer).  Each layer serves a specific function.  In addition, our nails, and hair are extensions of our skin.  They are made up of similar cells to the skin.

The epidermis consists of 3 layers within itself.

  1. Stratum Corneum also known as horny layer. This is the layer we shed.  Dead Keratin is very important. It protects the skin from harmful substances and comes from the dead cells of our skin.
  2. Keratinocytes are the main type of cell in this layer of skin. Keratin is very important. Keratinocytes are also known as squamous cells. These cell serve the useful purpose of giving our entire body what it needs
  3. Basal Layer is the most inward layer of the epidermis. Basal cells are constantly dividing and growing new keratinocyte. The old ones are replaced as we shed the dead keratinocytes.

Skin Has Many Important Functions

New cells in the skin grow from the bottom up. The most bottom layer, the basal layer constantly grows new cells.  The cells in the in between layer of the epidermis are designed to be the toughest. Their strength and resiliency act as a protector for all that is beneath it.  The top layer, the stratum corneum is constantly shedding the dead cells that have risen to the outermost part of our skin.

Our skin gets its pigment color from melanin and is also produced in the epidermis. Sunlight triggers the melanin, which is why we tan.

The dermis is the in between layer of the skin.  It sits below the epidermis and above the fat layer. It is made up blood vessels, hair follicles sweat glands, and lymph vessels. This layer serves many important functions.  One of the most important is the regulation of our body temperature.  The dermis is also very busy providing nurtient rich blood to the epidermis. The dermis is made up of proteins that create collagen (for strength)  and elastin(for flexibility). Collagen tissue plays a part in holding our muscles together, and keeping our organs in place.  The dermis is held together by collagen.  Collagen gives the skin its flexibiity and provides structural support. The signals for pain and touch receptors reside in the dermis layer. The water we retain in our body is also stored in the dermis. The dermis is the thickest layer of skin.  About 90% of our skin thickness is the dermis layer. Fibroblasts produce molecules that help provide healthy collagen and elastin by producing proteins that help generate new cells.  Our skin depends on the fibroblasts to be working well, in order to be healthy. Have you checked your fibroblasts lately?  Really you can’t  Scientists need to understand more about fibroblasts. As you age, wrinkles, a thinner dermis (which is why you can see older people’s veins easier) and slower producing fibroblasts affect our skin, the way it looks, and the skin care we need to do for ourselves. 

Each Layer of Skin Has a Special Function

Other parts of the dermis include

  • blood vessels which carry oxygen and nutrients to the skin and delivers vitamin D that is manufactured in the skin to the rest of the body and take away the waste
  • Lymph vessels help fight infection and unwanted organisms that invade our body
  • hair follicles which help nourish and protect the hair that is under our skin
  • sweat glands, we have about three million of them
  • sebaceous glands are oil glands that are connected to hair follicles and help keep our skin waterproof, smooth, pliable, and protects us against excessive fungi and bacteria on our skin
  • nerve endings semd pain, itchiness, temperature, pressure and other sensations to the brain or spinal cord.

The dermis consists of 2 sublayers:

  • The Papillary Layer has some collagen fibers within it. This layer also regulates the temperature of our body and provides nutrients to some of the layers of the epidermis through a special vascular system within the skin.

  • The Reticular Layer is below the papillary layer, and is denser, due to the collagen fibers. Hair follicles, sweat and oil gland and other components of the skin sit within this layer. This part of the dermis helps strengthen the skin.

3 Magic Layers of Skin

The subcutis layer is the third layer of skin and is also known as the fat layer. No matter how thin you are, you still have a subcutis layer. Although different parts of our body, and different people have varying thicknesses of this layer. It is made up of collagen and fat cells. This layer insulates our organs and protects them since this layer acts as a shock absorber. This layer,is where the blood vessels, lymph vessels, nerve endings, and hair follicles start.

Three magic layers of skin that help our whole body function well. Our skin is amazing and I hope you have learned a little bit more about yourself through this article. Take care of yourself and make skin care a priority, its the best way to take good care of you and help your skin look its best. Read more about our skin in Part 2 of this article:: Skin Care Facts Our Amazing and Wonderous Skin (Part 2)


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    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 6 years ago

      Hi Suzanne,

      I agree with you about witch hazel and aloe. I didn't know sunflower oil is a good moisturizer. I have used grapeseed oil and it works nicely too. Thanks so much for your tips and your kind comments. Take care of yourself and your skin.

    • justmesuzanne profile image

      justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

      People spend lots of money on skin care, and it really isn't necessary. I have had better luck with witch hazel and pure aloe gel than any other skin care products I have ever used. Sunflower oil makes an excellent moisturizer for the body.

      Voted up and useful.

    • toknowinfo profile image

      toknowinfo 7 years ago

      I am glad my hub is able to give you useful information. Be sure to check out Part 2 of the "skin series".

    • onceuponatime66 profile image

      Jackie Paulson 7 years ago from USA IL

      This is exactly what i needed to see and hear. I love the photo's you included about the layers of skin. I am still having so many problems with my skin. I will hub about it soon. I appreciate this hub. what I did not know is "it takes about 2 weeks to a month for new cells to be made at the bottom of the epidermis until they reach the top of the epidermis where they will then slough off." Wow. I am in trouble. My skin needs like help big time - two months is a long time to wait. Thanks for caring about me enough to educate me on the skin and all this useful information. A Keeper. ?