Are you familiar with the structure and functions of the skin? Read the article to find out everything you need to know to care for your skin properly.
In the vast world of aesthetic medicine, in-depth knowledge of skin structure and function is a fundamental element.
The skin is the largest organ of the human body and its complex structure performs a number of essential functions for our health and well-being.
Understanding these dynamics is the first step towards effective and targeted care, helping to keep the skin healthy and preserve its natural beauty.
The goal of this article is to provide a comprehensive overview of the structure and functions of the skin. An indispensable guide not only for aesthetic doctors, but also for careful patients.
In particular, we will review the following:
Although one usually speaks generically about the “skin”, it is essential to know that the structure of the skin is extremely complex.
As we will see in a moment, it is made of several layers, each of which performs specific functions and is, in turn, made up of several sub-layers.
Besides being our largest organ, it is also the most visible one. It is a “shell” that represents the first point of contact between us and the outside world. Not surprisingly, its condition can have a significant impact on the self-esteem of many individuals.
Moreover, it is an extremely dynamic organ, subject to constant changes, linked to external factors and the ageing process.
Although there are different types of skin the basic structure and functions are similar for all types. Let’s take a look at them in detail.
As mentioned, knowledge of the structure of the skin is crucial to understand how to keep it healthy and counteract the signs of ageing.
For example, knowing the skin structure helps us to understand what hyaluronic acid is used for. Consequently, it is easy to understand why fillers based on this molecule are among the most widely used remedies to counter skin ageing.
In fact, Hyaluronic Acid is naturally present mainly in the dermis, the middle layer of the skin, and its function is to moisturise the tissue, helping to keep the skin young, supple and voluminous.
The skin is subdivided into three main layers:
- Epidermis: the outer layer that acts as a protective barrier against external agents (bacteria, viruses, harmful chemicals and UV radiation). It consists of several layers of cells, such as the stratum corneum (the outermost layer, composed mainly of dead cells and keratin). The interaction between the cells of the epidermis is what leads to the constant regeneration of the skin.
- Dermis: the middle layer of the skin containing blood vessels, sebaceous and sweat glands, hair follicles and sensory receptors. The connective tissue within the dermis is rich in collagen and elastin fibres, which give the skin strength, elasticity and structure. This is also where hyaluronic acid is found.
- Hypodermis: the deeper layer of the skin containing fat, larger blood vessels and nerves. This layer plays a key role in regulating body temperature and storing energy.
Analysing the structure of the skin helps to understand how, among the causes of skin ageing is the physiological decrease in the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid.
After analysing the structure, there is another key element of the functions of the skin to be aware of.
With the exception of doctors and professionals, it is very likely that only a few of us are aware of the role played by this organ in the health of the body.
However, many are familiar with the influence of the skin on their individual identity. The skin appearance directly influences self-esteem and self-perception.
And it is this that explains the increasing use of aesthetic medicine to counteract deep wrinkles on the face and other blemishes related and unrelated to skin ageing.
The main functions of the skin include:
- Protective barrier: protecting the body from external agents.
- Thermoregulation: regulating body temperature through sweat and the dilation/contraction of blood vessels.
- Tactile sensitivity: perceiving touch, heat, cold and pain through sensory receptors.
- Vitamin D synthesis: producing vitamin D, essential for healthy bones and the immune system.
- Absorption and excretion: Absorbing certain substances (such as topical drugs), through the pores, and excreting waste, through sweat.
Understanding these functions is crucial, not only for aesthetic medicine, but also for general health. Because any intervention on the skin must take into account its multifunctional role in the body.
In our review of the structure and functions of the skin, we have repeatedly talked about hyaluronic acid (HA). This is a substance that, as we have seen, is naturally present in connective tissues.
This molecule, used as a transparent gelatin injected into the dermis using very fine needles, has gained a prominent role in aesthetic medicine.
The effects of hyaluronic acid on the face are linked to the nature of this substance. Its ability to bind and retain large amounts of water is crucial for keeping the skin well hydrated. Adequate hydration is essential for healthy and youthful skin.
Restoring the ratio of HA, which decreases physiologically with age, allows the skin’s structure to be rebuilt from within.
Being a substance naturally present in our bodies, hyaluronic acid fillers are well tolerated and safe when the procedure is performed by qualified aesthetic physicians.
Hyaluronic acid can be used to correct various facial blemishes, guaranteeing instant, long-lasting and extremely natural results.