Sunday, March 15, 2009

Backyard Basics: The layers of the epidermis

Iman once said "it don't mean a thing if you ain't got that skin". Well, this is indeed true. A beautiful face starts with beautiful skin. So what does beautiful skin look like? If you will notice my header's picture of the lovely Ali Michael, beautiful fresh faces look youthful, supple, a little dewy but not too much, and ultimately blemish free. Fortunately, this is also a sign of good skin health! To achieve this look takes time and once achieved requires some maintenance. First, one must know how the skin works and why it can come out of a healthy state in the first place.

The skin is made of two main layers: the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is actually for the most part composed of many layers of dead cells with only the last two layers made of live, regenerating cells. The dead cell layers' purpose is to serve as a protective barrier for the rest of your body, keeping bacteria and other harmful matter outside. The first three layers are the Stratum Coroneum, Stratum Granulosum, and sometimes the Stratum Lucidium. They are made out of dead skin cells that replace themselves completely with new dead cells over a 28 day cycle. They contain cells called keratinocytes, the skin cells responsible for toughening the skin and keeping it waterproof. The next two layers are the Stratum Spinosum and the Stratum Basale. These layers are actually made of living and regenerating cells. Though mostly composed of Keratinocytes, these layers are also composed of several types of skin cells. In order of frequency they are Melanocytes (the cells that synthesise melanin, absorb, and disperse UV light) Tactile Cells (responsible for touch), and Nonpigmented Granular Dendrocytes(responsible for ingesting bacteria).

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