What’s Underneath Your Skin?
When you look at your skin, it’s easy to think of it as just one continuous sheet of tissue, but nothing could be further from the truth. Did you know that your skin is made up of layers? Do you know that taking care of your skin means taking care of it from the inside out, tending to all of its layers?
Having healthy skin takes more than just applying a beauty product topically. If you want truly healthy skin, then you need to pay attention to all of the individual layers of the skin, and nourish them equally.
Let’s take a look at what your skin is made of, how it amazingly regenerates itself, and what you need to do to help it stay healthy.
What Is Your Skin Made Of?
We have three skin layers that protect our bodies. These layers combine to form a tough and stretchy tissue that performs important jobs like keeping sun and bacteria out, and holding nutrients in.
The top layer of our skin is called the epidermis; this is the part of the skin that you can see. The second layer underneath is much thicker than the epidermis; it’s called the dermis, and it’s assigned many critical tasks in your body. The bottom layer of skin is the subcutaneous fat layer. This layer also has some vital roles to play in your health.
The epidermis layer is very thin on certain parts of your body (like your eyelids) and thick on others (such as the bottoms of your feet). This skin layer is in charge of producing new skin cells, which happens about every month or so.
Cells from the bottom of the epidermis travel up to the top of the skin and then flake off, giving you new, healthy skin cells underneath. The epidermis is what gives skin its color. And, it plays a crucial part in the workings of the immune system, acting as a barrier for would-be invaders.
The job of the dermis is complicated; it creates perspiration through sweat glands, keeping you cool and helping you get rid of toxins. The dermis also helps you feel things, because nerve endings in this skin layer send signals to your brain and tell you if something hurts, is cold or hot, or even if it tickles.
You grow hair from your dermis, as well. The hair roots live here and they attach to tiny muscles, which can appear to rise when you get goose bumps.
The Subcutaneous Fat Layer
The skin’s subcutaneous fat layer is the bottom layer of skin, and it attaches to your bones and muscles. It keeps things connected, and it gives the blood vessels and nerve cells a “ground” that they can lay roots into so they can connect to the rest of your body. The subcutaneous fat layer keeps your body from getting too cold or warm, and it stores fat that protects the insides of your body from falls and bumps.
What Happens to Skin Over Time
In order to keep all of our layers of skin healthy and working as they should, we need to make sure we’re giving them the necessary tools. Healthy, functional, useful skin on every layer needs water to keep it hydrated, and healthy food to nourish it. The epidermis, in particular, needs protection from the elements, and both the epidermis and dermis require distance from toxic chemicals.
Since the skin rejuvenates every 30 days or so, we have a bit of a buffer if we accidentally do something to damage or neglect our skin. But in order for our skin to provide for us over time, we need to be mindful of what we eat and put on it.
As we age, our skin naturally gets a bit less capable of taking care of us compared to when we were younger. This is when we need to give it extra attention by really watching our water intake, diet and lifestyle. Due to age or other factors, sometimes the fat underneath the skin is reduced, which can make us prone to bruises and broken blood vessels. Years spent in the sun can damage skin, which means it’s not as effective at keeping harmful things out of our bodies.
Smoking hurts the skin, lack of sunlight affects skin, and excess sugar and alcohol consumption damages skin. Sometimes we see the effects of these detrimental choices right away, though often, it’s not until years later that we realize we’ve actually damaged our skin.
It’s important to know that while we make new skin cells quite quickly, there are some activities and lifestyle decisions that may permanently impair our skin’s health.