Monday, May 20, 2013

The Basics of Skin, with Dr Richard Young

To understand what makes beautiful skin, you have to understand the anatomy of skin >

Time and time again I see claims by beauty enhancement products that just don’t make sense, if you know the basics. I will give you the most beginner lesson on skin anatomy, and it will help you to decide in a flash whether a claim is likely to be bogus or not. 

Stratum Corneum: This is the top layer of skin, the one that you see. It is mainly comprised of a layer of dead cells on top, which can appear dull and lifeless if they build up too much. This layer is also a very effective barrier to trauma, bacteria and anything else that tries to invade us (take note creams that supposedly “penetrate”).

Epidermis: The second layer, and is all living. It is also a very effective barrier to pretty much everything, especially water based products (slightly more open to oil based).

Dermis: The thicker living area where most of your collagen and elastin lie, the proteins that give skin its stretchiness and ability to bounce back. It is also where a lot of the water resides and so can deplete and sag. The important hair follicles are here as well so this layer needs to be healthy at all times. Being protected by the first two layers, almost nothing applied to the surface can reach this vital layer (I did say almost!).

Fat layer: No one wants to hear those words, but the subcutaneous fat layer is super important for appearance. We can lose fat with ageing, especially in parts of the face, and dehydration can also make this layer flatten and sag.

Ok, that all sounds very technical, but the take home message is: the vast majority of beauty products that say they penetrate the skin to get to the vital areas don’t! They sit on the surface and make it look shiny and smell nice. Over the next few weeks we’ll talk about which ones can get in, which ones actually have ingredients that work and how to keep all the layers healthy and looking good.



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