Monday, December 31

Dermis - Reticular layer of dermis

Home > Know your skin > Dermis > Reticular layer of dermis
In dermis, reticular layer lies below the papillary layer. Reticular dermis is the deepest part of the skin and lies superficial to the hypodermis.
Reticular region, ranging from 1-3mm in thickness, is much denser and thicker than the papillary region.

Dense irregular connective tissue and adipose tissue are the  major constituents of this region. Fibroblasts (fiber producing cells) and adipocytes (fat cells) abound this reticular region. It has densely packed thick collagen fibers, elastic fibers and reticular (netlike) fibers giving skin structural and tensile strength, elasticity and extensibility. These fibers are arranged in parallel to the surface of the skin. The reticular fibers (reticulin), made of Type III collagen, weave throughout reticular layer giving a net-like appearance and hence the name.

Most of the important epithelial glandular structures of skin like eccrine (sweat) glands, apocrine (scent) glands and Sebaceous (oil) glands are located here.

Blood and lymphatic vessels are found traversing this region carrying nutrients, oxygen and immune cells. The deeper vasculature to the skin, the deep cutaneous plexus, are located at the junction of reticular region and hypodermis.

The hair folicles and nails are located in the reticular layer. The 'arrectores pilorum' muscles are located here attached to individual hair follicle. They are responsible for  piloerection and produce goose bumps or cutis anserina. They are innervated by the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system.

Nervous tissues and receptors are located in this area transmitting sensations like pain, cold and heat and make skin sensitive to touch. Special nerve cells like Meissner's, Vater-Pacini and Pacinian corpuscles are found here. They are responsible for transmitting the sensations of touch and pressure.

The criss-crossing collagen fibers form Langer's lines, also called as cleavage lines. They correspond to the natural orientation of collagen fibers. Surgical incisions made parallel to Langer's lines may heal better, faster and produce less scarring than those cutting across the fibers. Any damage to reticular layer of dermis can cause scarring.
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Current topic in dynamic skin care: Reticular dermis layer.

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Sunday, December 30

Hypodermis layer - Function of hypodermis

  ›   Hypodermis layer - Hypodermis function
Hypodermis, also known as subcutaneous tissue, has important functions. Hypodermis layer lies immediately below the dermis.
It is the lowermost layer of our integumentary system. Though hypodermis is not part of the skin, it is very essential for anchoring the skin to the body. Though both dermis and hypodermis are derived from mesoderm, unlike dermis, this layer is not derived from dermatome region.

Subcutaneous tissue layer has many types of cells in it like fibroblasts, fat cells (adipocytes) and leukocytes. Fibrous bands and elastins are found in this region of integumentary system, anchoring the cutaneous layer (skin) to the deep fascia fat. Sudoriferous glands (sweat glands), papilla region of hair root and pacinian corpuscle (a type of nerve ending) are found in the junction of dermis and hypodermis.

Blood vessels and lymphatic vessels traverse this region, carrying the blood and lymph to the dermis. At the junction of dermis and subcutaneous tissue, arteries form deep cutaneous plexus. Its function is to supply oxygen and nutrients to the tissues in the hypodermis, dermis, hair follicles, sebaceous glands and sweat glands.

The thickness of hypodermis varies considerably in respect of body area, nutritional status, age and gender of the individual. In thin areas of the skin like eyelids, genitals, and nipples, it is nearly absent. With aging drastic changes take place in the hypodermis. It begins to thin out and disintegrate causing deep wrinkles, folds and sagging of the facial skin.

The fat storing cells, adipocytes, are grouped together in lobules separated by connective tissue. Hormones in adults have effect on the pattern of hypodermis fat distribution function. In men fat tends to accumulate over the abdomen, torso and shoulders and in women fat accumulates on the breasts, waist, hips, buttocks and thighs. In weight loss there is usually changes in the amount of lipid content of the adipocytes and not in their number.

The adipose fat also functions as a cushion and padding against pressure and friction, absorbing shocks from impacts to the skin. Fats stored in this layer also functions as energy reserve and the fat is put back into circulation when needed. Another function is in providing thermal insulation to the inner body to slow down heat loss. This helps in the regulation of body temperature. Children and elderly people have less storage of adipose fat in their subcutaneous tissue and are more sensitive to cold.

Panniculus carnosus, a layer of flat sheets of striated muscle is found in hypodermis. Their function in humans is seen in some muscles of facial expression, dartos muscle (dartos fascia or tunica dartos) lying beneath the skin of scrotum, palmaris brevis muscle in the ulnar side of hand and platysma muscle found in the neck.
In many regions of hypodermis vestigial panniculus carnosus is present and is usually covered by panniculus adipose fatty layer. The function of elastin fibers found in the hypodermis layer is in giving elasticity to skin Image source:
Author: US-Gov
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Current topic in dynamic skin care: Functions of hypodermis layer.

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Saturday, December 29

Skin types - Different types of face skin

Home > Different face skin types
There are five basic different face skin types seen in the general population. For proper skin care and beauty enhancement you have to know and identify these different types to make right decisions.
Use of wrong skin care products in fact can be disastrous to your face skin.

Factors contributing to different face skin types

Different seasonal weather conditions and atmospheric and environmental factors have effect on your skin. The hormones produced by your body and the genetic and hereditary factors can have a lasting effect on the skin. Mental and physical stress, emotions, your food habits, general health conditions and aging can contribute to your having any particular condition.

The types of different beauty products and topical applications so far used have a direct bearing on your epidermis. There may be a constant state of fluctuation of the types and the situation may change from one to an entirely different one even in a weeks time. Hence periodic testing for your face condition is necessary.

Different face skin types

There are basically five different conditions. They are,
  • normal,
  • oily,
  • dry,
  • combination and 
  • sensitive.

Normal face skin

This is an ideal condition, least common and a very small percentage of people have it. The truth is that such people will be having an excellent state of overall health. Normal skin is smooth to touch and is not oily, shiny or dry. It has even tone and complexion and appears healthy with fewer blemishes. This type has small pores and balanced levels of natural oils and moisture. It is firm and elastic showing few wrinkles. Taking care of such dermis is easy and requires only some protective applications. Overdoing any cosmetic procedures may in fact ruin and change this condition.

Oily condition

The skin of the person with this condition, especially on the face, appears shiny and oily and has enlarged pores.
The individual with this condition is very much prone to acne, blackheads and whiteheads. Oily condition is more common in teenagers and young adults in twenties. Due to hormonal inducement, sebaceous glands secrete excess sebum in this age group. Though the whole face gets oily, the "T" area of the face, namely neck, chest and back are more affected.

Dry condition

Skin in this condition is chronically dehydrated. It appears dry, flaky and parched with small pores. It is tight, dull and leathery in appearance and sometimes wrinkles begin to appear. Loss of moisture and natural oils leads to this condition. Excessive exposure to sun or cold winds, aging, nutritional deficiencies, recurrent infections and inappropriate use of cosmetics can cause or aggravate this problem. Different dry dermal care efforts are necessary to get relief. Elderly people quite often suffer from this condition.

Mixed or combination types

Many people have this condition with mixture of normal, dry and oily skin. Forehead, nose and chin area of the face is known as "T" zone. This area appears oily with enlarged pores. Cheeks, sides of the forehead and neck may progressively be normal or dry. In beauty care and treatment different types of products have to be used in this condition. Dry areas may require moisturizer whereas oily areas may require products like cleanser to remove excess oil.

Sensitive skin types

In this condition dermis is usually thin and fine textured. Rashes and redness may appear as allergic reactions to cosmetics, sun and cold exposure. These mild to severe reactions may leave it sore and dry. In order to protect this condition of face it is advised to wear sunscreen when going out. Beauty care products which do not have harsh chemicals and have only natural substances are best suitable.
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Current topic: Different facial skin types.

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Friday, December 28

Skin facts - Main functions of human skin

Home > Main functions of human skin
Human skin has the major function of protecting the internal organs from external elements.
Being an organ of regulation, skin regulates several aspects of human physiology like fluid balance, body temperature, vitamin D synthesis, peripheral circulation, desquamation and immunological surveillance. Being an organ of sensation, human skin detects and relays main senses like heat, cold, touch and pain with the help of network of nerve cells present in it.

Barrier and protection

Being the natural barrier, skin protects the internal organs of the body from exposure to the natural elements and pathogens. Further it provides mechanical support to the body by covering and holding together the internal organs.

One of its main functions is two way water proofing. In normal healthy conditions it neither keep absorbing water and bloating nor losing water continuously and dehydrating. The natural layer of lipids, oil, cross linked keratin, corneocytes, salt and lipids from sweat and sebaceous secretions present on the outermost surface is the main defense from attacking bacteria and viruses.

Desquamation and self-healing

The outer layer of human epidermis is prone to physical damage and it has to be repaired continuously. It is continuously renewed by cell proliferation at dermis level and in epidermis the  outer most layers undergoing desquamation.

UV protection

The melanin pigment present in the skin, by filtering the Ultraviolet rays to some extent, protect it from sun damages and cancer.

Thermoregulatory functions

Sweat glands present in the human skin produce sweat (perspiration) in hot conditions.
By the effect of latent heat of evaporation it is cooled when the sweat evaporates.


Excess heat from the body, as in the case of exercise or having fever, is radiated by the skin to the surroundings to stabilize and bring the body temperature down.
This is brought about by increase in blood supply to the dermis and dilation of dermal blood vessels.

Insulation functions

The human skin insulates the body to great extent by not allowing the body to lose heat and absorb cold from the surroundings.
Further by constriction of dermal blood vessels lesser amount of blood flows to dermis and heat loss is reduced.

Immunological surveillance

There are numerous specialized Langerhans cells present  which can identify harmful proteins and substances and take them to white blood cells and neutralize them.


To bring about one of its main functions, nerve endings and special nerve cells in it contribute to the sensations like touch, pressure, vibrations, pain, cold and heat.
Though there are millions of nerve endings in it, their main concentration differs at different regions of the human body and some regions are very sensitive.

Main absorption functions

Skin can take in and/or release small amounts of gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen.
Oxygen is taken in and carbon dioxide is released out in small quantities to help in respiration.
Its absorbing capacity is utilized to send in medicines in the form of ointments and patches.
Various skin care and cosmetic products also get absorbed through it.
The main absorption functions can be either trans-cellular or inter-cellular.


One of its main functions is the excretion of metabolic waste products and toxic substances like salt and urea.

Vitamin production

In humans, vitamin D synthesis is one of its main functions and in the presence of UV rays by chemical interactions with a naturally occurring lipid known as ergosterol, vitamin D is produced.

Storage functions

Lipids and water are stored in the epidermis to control loss of moisture from the body.
Excess lipids in the system are stored in the human skin.
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Author: US-Gov
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Current topic: Main functions of human skin.

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Thursday, December 27

Skin facts - Know your skin

Home > Skin facts - Know your skin
Do you know that your skin is the largest organ in human body? In fact if you are an average adult, its surface area including hair, nails and glands, may measures about 1.5-2 square meters (about 17-22 square feet) and weigh about 3.5 kilograms (about 8 pounds).
Your radiant and glowing skin, in fact, is a very complex structure made up of millions of different types of cells carrying out many varied functions.

Know the structure of your skin

Skin is a dynamic organ in a state of constant change. The layer which is visible to us is in fact dead layer in the process of desquamation (shedding). It is made up of two layers. The outer most of layers is called epidermis and the inner or deeper layer is called dermis.

The epidermis in fact has the outer dead and dying layer and inner rapidly dividing layer. The epidermis on its outer side is mostly made up of flattened dead cells about to be shed off. The inner epidermis consists of rapidly dividing keratinocytes, pigment cells and nerve endings.

The dermis in fact is composed of two layers namely the papillary and reticular dermis. Apart from collagen tissue, elastic fibers and extra-fibrillar matrix make up the structural components of the dermis which give your skin its strength and flexibility. The dermis layer is also interspersed with blood vessels, nerves, hair roots and sweat glands.

Hypodermis, also known as subcutaneous fascia, lies beneath the dermis and is responsible for binding epidermis and dermis to the body. The hypodermis has connective tissue, sweat glands, fat cells, larger nerves, blood vessels and collagen producing fibroblasts.

Know the functions of your skin

Do you know that skin functions as a barrier. In fact it protects the internal organs and muscles from loss of body fluids and also from environmental elements and pathogens. it also has a thermoregulatory function by which the body temperature is maintained both in hot and cold conditions. Senses like hot, cold, touch, pressure and pain are picked up by millions of nerve endings present in it and are conveyed to the brain. Do you know that dermis synthesizes vitamin D on exposure to ultraviolet rays present in the sunlight?

Know your skin tone (color)

The melanin pigment and its type determines the color of a person. In excess presence melanin can give black color whereas its total absence in the dermis as found in certain genetic disorders can give rise to albinism. Blond hair, red hair and color of the iris are the effect of the proportion, density and types of melanin present.
In the same person melanin is concentrated at different levels producing pink lips, whiter palms and soles and white of eyes.

Know your skin type

Cosmetologists have categorized skin types into normal, oily, dry,  combination and sensitive types. The first three types can be easily known. In the combination type oiliness is only on the forehead, nose and chin areas and it appears dry in the rest of the body. When sensitive, it appears smooth in structure and is very reactive to environmental elements and chemicals. Further all of us know that its thickness differs and it is thinnest on the eye lids and thickest on the soles of the feet.

Healthy skin can only be present in a healthy body. It is an indicator of general status of your health. Nourishing and nurturing the body properly will give you true beauty. Poor internal health reflects as acne, wrinkles, blemishes, spots, premature aging, inflammation, infections, allergies and cancer.  Avoiding consumption of unhealthy foods and adding sufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables will improve the general health and give your skin radiance and glow.
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Current topic: Skin facts - Know your skin.

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Wednesday, December 26

Nourishing skin - Fruits and vegetables for healthy skin

Home > Nourishing skin - Fruits and vegetables for healthy skin
Nourish your skin from within by eating fruits and vegetables as healthy skin starts from inside. For a lasting smooth clear complexion and a healthy glow of your facial skin incorporate different fruits and vegetables into your diet on a daily basis.

The Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, recommends including half of our food plate with fruits and vegetables to get nutrients vital for the health and maintenance of our body. Following the guidelines will nourish us fully. Women are advised to include 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits in their daily diet. Men are advised to incorporate 3 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits in their daily diet. This requirement pertains to 19-30 age group. In elders (50+) half a cup may be reduced from the requirement of 19-30 age group.

What do fruits and vegetables contribute for nourishing skin?

Vegetables and fruits are naturally low in fat and calories and none have cholesterol. However they are rich in essential nutrients required for nourishing skin. They are actually good sources of less consumed nutrients like potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, dietary fiber and many other trace minerals.

Fruits and vegetables are rich in dietary fiber required for the digestive system. Dietary fiber also reduces blood cholesterol, increases the bowl movement and reduces obesity. The dietary fiber content in vegetables and fruits helps in increasing the flow of amylase enzymes, enhancing the digestive process. Lack of dietary fibers leads to constipation. Incomplete bowel evacuation produces toxins and causing flare-up of pimples and acne on the facial skin. Obesity leads to fat deposits under the dermis layer and causes stretch marks.

Potassium is present in banana, prune, peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, and orange. It is also present in sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato, beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils and kidney beans. Potassium helps to maintain healthy blood pressure and proper blood supply required for nourishing skin.

Vitamin C present in citrus fruits nourishes body cells and helps in increasing the blood flow to skin. Vitamin C also helps in collagen synthesis which is required for skin growth, repair and elasticity. It is also important for protection from chronic skin diseases and in healing of cuts and wounds. Vitamin C also helps in iron absorption essential for red blood cell production and function. Oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes contain high levels of nourishing vitamin C.

Vitamin A is essential for the eye function as well as nourishing skin. It is also a potent antioxidant protecting our skin from free radicals which can cause premature aging. It is also helpful in the control of acne.

Like vitamin A and vitamin C, vitamin E is also nourishing and is a potent antioxidant helping in the protection of cells from the oxidative damages caused by free radicals.

Vitamin B complex, consisting eight vitamins is essential for cell division and cell proliferation. They also help in the maintenance of blood circulation and delivery of nutrients for the skin. Their deficiency can lead to dry and cracked skin, eczema, pimples, skin discoloration and wrinkles.

Trace mineral like zinc are very essential for nourishing skin. Its deficit leads to hair-loss and acne. It is also helpful in the healing of skin and reduction of scars.

Phytonutrients, polyphenols and antioxidants for protecting and nourishing skin

Most the colorful fruits and vegetables have phytonutrients in them of which polyphenols have antioxidant properties. They are found in a wide array of fruits and vegetables.
For example, most legumes; fruits such as apples, blackberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, pomegranate, cherries, cranberries, grapes, pears, plums, raspberries, aronia berries, and strawberries; and vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, carrot, beet, celery, onion and parsley are rich in polyphenols. Many of these also contain antioxidant vitamins C and E.

Skin is continuously exposed to metabolic toxins from within and also exposed to exogenous sources of oxidative stress. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is responsible for the extrinsic type of aging, sometimes termed photo-aging. The effects are thinning of the dermis, loss of moisture, loss of elasticity, appearance of wrinkles and dryness. These damages are due to free radials created by sun exposure as well as from metabolic processes. These free radicals damage cells and kill them. The antioxidants react with these free radicals by neutralizing them and protect us from cell damages.

What types of fruits and vegetables are to be consumed for nourishing skin?

Colorful red, orange, blue, purple and yellow fruits like oranges, kiwi, tangerines, strawberries, mangoes, apricots, plums, Blueberries, blackberries and red grapes and vegetables like tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, beets, purple cabbage, yellow and orange bell peppers have considerable amounts of nourishing alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lycopene, zeaxanthin and lutein. Beta-carotene and lycopene are potent antioxidants protecting our skin from the damaging UV rays of the sun. Many of these also contain nourishing vitamin C.

Dark green and cruciferous vegetables contain Vitamin C, folate and zinc essential for nourishing our skin and also for protecting it from pimple flareups.

Fruits may be consumed as fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed forms. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/ dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up, or mashed.

To sum up what we put inside our body for enhancing the glow and beauty of our skin is more important than what we apply on it. Food laden with sugars and fats overly taxes our digestive system as well as creates free radicals and toxins which cause blemishes, wrinkles and acne breakouts. On the other hand, fruits and vegetables are very essential components of food for protecting and nourishing our skin.
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