Sign up for exclusive discounts, product launches, and new stories on The Lab.
To truly appreciate the role that skin plays in your overall health, it's worth it to understand the structure and function of the skin at the cellular level.
We talk a lot about skin….like a lot. We also talk a lot about the importance of skin health and the skin’s barrier function. To truly appreciate the role that skin plays in your overall health, it’s worth it to understand the structure and function of the skin at the cellular level.
We created this post to briefly bring you up to speed on the anatomy of your skin!
The key thing to note is that your skin is made up of three distinct layers – each with distinct structures and functions. While the layers are distinct, they work together to protect your inner body and form the outward appearance of your skin.
B-SILK PROTEIN acts like an extension of your own epidermis by forming a lightweight barrier on your skin. It defends against pollution and other environmental aggressors (think: things that give you wrinkles) while delivering vital skin nurturing ingredients. Better yet, it has been clinically shown to give you healthier, firmer looking skin that you can’t stop touching. Science for the win!
Outermost Layer: The Epidermis
The epidermis is commonly described as a brick wall. The keratinocyte cells (the bricks) are packed closely together with a thin lipid layer encircling each cell (the mortar). These cells are constantly on the move upward from the bottom of the epidermis (where they are “born” from stem-like cells) to the top. When they reach the top they form what is called the stratum corneum.
This stratum corneum is the layer of skin that you can see and touch and is the location of the “barrier function” (click here to learn more about what makes up the skin’s barrier function). But don’t get too attached to your current stratum corneum because it is constantly getting sloughed off. Have no fear, however, there is a new layer of keratinocytes right underneath waiting to take over. All in all, the cycle from beginning to end takes about 14-28 days. As you age, the cell turnover in the epidermis slows down, which means the cells don’t slough off as much. The result – the appearance of more dull looking skin.
Simply put, the epidermis is your barrier for keeping the bad stuff out (allergens, pathogens, and toxins) and the good stuff in (water). Your epidermis has some cool ways of making this possible. First of all, the cells in this layer of the skin are tightly bound together (think the most formidable red rover line ever). Second, the epidermis is a rather inhospital place for microbes – it has a low pH and is rather dry. The epidermis also has roaming immune cells that attack anything undesirable that gets through. In recent years, we’ve also found that the healthy microbiome population on your skin helps to fight off unwanted visitors.
Middle Layer: The Dermis
Whereas the epidermis is commonly described as a brick wall, the dermis is much more free-form. The predominant cell type is the fibroblast cell (aka your collagen factory) and it is scattered throughout the dermis suspended in a sea of collagen and elastin. The structure of the dermis is chock full of other fun stuff. It is also where you will find sebaceous glands, sweat glands, hair follicles, nerves, capillaries, and lymph vessels.
The dermis is the main source of your skin plumpness, or sense of strength and elasticity. No surprise, the source of this strength and elasticity comes largely from collagen and elastin. Signs of aging (e.g. wrinkles, volume loss, sagging) are due largely to the dermal layer becoming thin, the fibroblasts producing less collagen, and the elastin reserves wearing out. The dermis also plays important roles for producing sweat and oil, growing hair, protecting against unwanted microbial visitors, and supporting the epidermis with nutrients (the epidermis does not have it’s own blood supply).
Inner Layer: The Hypodermis
The hypodermis contains adipose tissue (fat cells) and collagenous tissue as well as nerves, blood vessels, and immune cells. The thickness of the hypodermis varies in different regions of the body and can vary considerably between different people.
The hypodermis helps to regulate body temperature and provide protection to internal organs. The high fat content of the hypodermis acts as thermal insulation. It also acts as a cushion that absorbs everyday impacts. This layer also plays a role in aging. Over time the volume of the hypodermis lessens, which results in skin sagging.
Where does B-SILK PROTEIN come into the picture?
B-SILK PROTEIN, the first polypeptide to mimic spider silk protein, acts like an extension of your own epidermis by forming a lightweight skin barrier. The b-silk protein barrier defends against pollution and other environmental aggressors (think: things that give you wrinkles) while delivering vital skin nurturing ingredients. Turns out, by properly defending and nourishing your skin with the b-silk protein barrier, your skin can focus on maintaining a healthy state for long term visible results. Our clinical studies show the b-silk protein barrier supports healthier, firmer looking skin that you can’t stop touching.
This is why we say,
B-SILK PROTEIN: Breaking Barriers by Building Yours
Figure 1. A cross-section of your skin layers: epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. The stratum corneum is the upper most layer of your epidermis.