When you think of or look at skin, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Does it have a healthy glow? Is it a certain color? Is it wrinkled or blotchy or just plain dull? Skin is the first thing you notice when you look at yourself and others, and it is also your body’s first line of defense from UV exposure, weather, germs and other insults.
As skin care professionals, you look at skin more closely and, more importantly, you try to understand why skin looks a certain way. The skin is the body’s largest organ, and is part of both the integumentary system and the excretory system, where it is responsible for removing waste from the body in the form of perspiration, or sweat. Skin is a canvas, painted by each individual’s genetics, lifestyle choices and product use, requiring skin care professionals to understand skin function and ingredient mechanism of action in order to provide each client with the best treatment plan for their skin, regardless of Fitzpatrick type or condition.
One brick at a time
The skin is comprised of two main sections, separated by the stratum basale, or basal layer. The dermis, which is the lower portion of the skin, lies just above the adipose layer; the epidermis, the outermost layer, is protected by the stratum corneum (SC). Each section of the skin works together and, if just one component is not functioning properly, then the entire structure can become compromised. In short, outer, visible skin is a reflection of everything that is happening underneath.