Understanding the layers of your skin

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What is your skin made up of?

Your skin is the largest organ of your body, covering a total area of about 15 to 25 square feet. Its’ job is to protect your body from microbes (viruses and bacteria) and the elements, help regulate your overall body temperature, as well as give you the ability to experience sensations such as heat or cold, rough or soft, etc.

The main barrier between you and the outside world is your skin. Even though your skin may seem thin and delicate, it’s full of nerve endings and made to be tough yet stretchy, so it can protect your body throughout your day.

What are the different layers?

Like an onion, your skin is comprised of various layers; these include:

  • The epidermis layer
  • The dermis layer
  • The subcutaneous fat layer

These layers are crucial for different aspects of your body’s systems. As we mentioned above, protection and temperature regulation are two major functions of the skin; however, there are many additional duties each layer is in charge of.

Epidermis

The epidermis layer of your skin is in charge of three vital activities: making new skin cells, protecting your body from viruses and bacteria, as well as giving your skin color (melanin). This top layer of the skin, varies from thin to thick depending on where it is located on your body.  In addition, the epidermis acts as a waterproof barrier. To reiterate the epidermis skin layer’s main jobs:

  • Immunity – Protect your body from viruses and bacteria.
  • Physical protection – The epidermis skin layer acts as a waterproof and physical injury barrier.
  • Skin color – Provides your body with melanin that produces the color of your skin.
  • New cells – The epidermis makes new skin cells when others die off.

Dead cells are shed continuously from the epidermis layer as new ones take their place. Making new skin cells is important in the healing process when you get injured and to make way for healthy skin cells. This process takes between two weeks to a month from the time cells are created at the bottom layer of the epidermis, to when they rise to the skin’s surface and die.

Dermis

This layer resides just below the epidermis. The dermis contains connective tissue, sweat glands, blood vessels, and hair follicles.

  • Sweat glands – The dermis’ main job is to create sweat glands that travel through your pores.
  • Nerve endings – The nerve endings that reside in the dermis layer send signals to your brain if something you touch hurts, itches, burns, or feels pleasant.
  • Blood vessels – Blood vessels expul skin waste from the dermis layer.
  • Oil retention – Just like sweat glands, the dermis layer produces oil glands that help keep your skin waterproof and flexible.
  • Follicles – The root of each hair on your body starts at a follicle within the dermis layer. This is where the hair grows, as well as tightens when you are cold or scared.

Your dermis layer is full of tiny blood vessels that keep your skin cells healthy by bringing them the oxygen and nutrients they need. In addition, they also have the job to take away any waste.

Subcutaneous Fat

The final, bottom layer of your skin is known as the subcutaneous fat layer. This layer’s job is to:

  • Attachment – The subcutaneous fat layer attaches the dermis layer to your muscles and bones.
  • Network – Your blood vessels such as your superficial veins as well as nerve cells start at the dermis layer and network through your body getting large within the subcutaneous fat layer.
  • Storage – Fat is stored within this layer to protect your bones, muscles, and organs from physical injury.
  • Thermostat – The subcutaneous fat layer assists your body in regulating its temperature so you don’t get too cold or too hot.

Oil storage within the subcutaneous fat layer feeds the hair follicles oils, which acts as a waterproofing. When it comes to regulating your temperature, your blood vessels, hair, and sweat glands cooperate to keep your skin and organs comfortable.

Where are your veins located?

Small blood vessels start within the dermis layer of your skin and travel lower throughout your body. These also connect to larger superficial veins underneath the skin and then deep veins located within the muscles. The blood vessels remove skin cell waste and bring the vitamin D produced within the epidermis layer back towards the other organs. These vessels also branch out to feed the veins and arteries.

Superficial veins right beneath can become damaged if the vein valves cease to circulate blood properly resulting in varicose or spider veins and even venous ulcers. Deep veins can also become damaged and cause harmful conditions such as blood clots.

Healthy Skin Means Healthy Veins

For Healthy Skin Month, we are highlighting how important it is to treat underlying vein disease. If your blood is not circulating properly and is allowed to pool within the veins, your skin can become harmed. Left untreated over time, vein disease can result in skin discoloration, bulging varicose veins, leg pain or swelling, restlessness, venous ulcers, or even blood clots. These symptoms can cause immense pain or discomfort as the disease progresses.

If your skin is cracked, dry, itchy, or hardened, these can all be signs of an underlying issue. When your legs do not receive the proper nutrients and oxygen from your blood flow, you may start seeing or feeling the effects.

Explore our website to learn more about underlying vein disease and discover how vein treatment can help improve circulation and skin health.

Don’t wait for your symptoms to worsen, give us a call at 888.768.3467or schedule an appointment by clicking the button below.

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#HealthySkinMonth #VeinDiseaseAwareness

 

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