Basic Skin Facts
* the epidermis
* the dermis
* the subcutaneous
The epidermis is the outer-most layer of the skin that you see every day. Its main purpose is protection and it consists of epithelial tissue. Epidermal cells lie in rows that resemble bricks in a wall. As these cells age they slough off and are replaced with newer cells that originate at the base of the epidermis.
Beneath the epidermis is the dermis, a.k.a. the true skin, which contains small blood vessels, nerves, sweat glands, oil glands, and connective tissue. Elastic and collagen make up the connective tissue component of the skin and are found throughout the dermis to provide flexibility and firmness to the skin. Collagen is produced by cells known as fibroblasts. Collagen used to be thought of as the scaffolding for the skin due to its support-like structure. Researchers have discovered that fibroblasts as immature cells can differentiate into other more highly specialized connective tissue cells throughout the body. These specialized fibroblasts have different functions within the body that can impact fat accumulation, how inflammation and immune reponses arise, wound healing, and how scars are formed.
The subcutaneous layer lies directly beneth the dermis and consists of loose connective tissue called adipose tissue or fat. Adipose tissue provides cushioning and insulation for the skin and our internal organs.
More about the ageing process
It's a combination of these events that are occuring at the cellular and molecular levels that lead to ageing. As the collagen and elastin atrophy, we see lines and wrinkles. The epidermis will sag and droop over time due to a lack of tone in the underlying facial muscles and a thinning of the skin itself. Years of repetitive facial expressions can also become permament fixtures on the face.