Skin Care 101: A List of Tissues, Ingredients, Elements and Treatments for Your Skin
The skin is the largest organ of the body. It helps regulate temperature, protects you from microbes and the elements, and enables tactile sensations. It is made up of water, protein, fats, and minerals. In this article we break down the layers that make up our skin, the elements that are used to support healthy skin and the strategies that can help us keep our skin looking healthy.
Layers of The Skin
The skin has three layers: The epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue
Epidermis: Thinnest outermost layer of the skin that forms a protective barrier and consists mostly of keratinocytes. The epidermis also contains Langerhans cells which regulate the immune system, melanocytes for skin pigment, and Merkel cells which are part of sensory structures in the skin.
- Keratinocytes: Highly specialized cells of the epidermis. They are produced by the deepest layers of the epidermis and move up as they start differentiating. They produce keratin, cytokines, growth factors, interleukins and other growth factors.
- Keratin: A tough, fibrous protein found in skin, hair, and nails. It protects the skin and provides strength and elasticity.
Did you know
- Autologous keratinocytes can be used as such to treat burns and other skin conditions, such as vitiligo and diabetic foot ulcers.
- Keratinocytes can be reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells, which can then be differentiated into potentially any cell type. They are 100-fold more efficiently reprogrammed compared to other cells like fibroblasts.
Dermis: Thickest middle layer of the skin. Fibrous layer consists of collagen, elastin, and a lot of other extracellular matrix components and provide structure and support for the skin. Fibroblasts are the primary cells within the dermis and help maintain structure and produce collagen, proteoglycans, and fibronectin. This is also where hair follicles, glands, nerve endings are found.
- Collagen: A protein found in connective tissue, skin, tendons, bone, and cartilage. It’s a major component of extracellular matrix proteins. It gives strength and elasticity to the skin. As people get older, their collagen levels fall and collagen fibers become thinner and weaker, leading to dry skin and the formation of wrinkles.
- Elastin: A protein that helps keep the skin flexible and brings it back to its normal state after it has been stretched. With age elastin begins to fragment and disrupts the elastic fiber network which results in the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.
- Extracellular matrix: A network of proteins and other molecules that occupies the space between cells and maintains their integrity. As we age, these components become fragmented and coarsely distributed, leading to wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Subcutaneous tissue: Deepest layer of the skin. Made up mostly of fat cells, connective tissue and a network of blood vessels and nerves. It provides a layer of insulation to the skin, in addition to thermoregulation, structural support and energy storage.
Key Ingredients in Skin Care
In addition to the layers of our skin, there are different strategies and elements that are leveraged to help keep our skin healthy and looking vibrant. These include elements that are important to healthy skin:
- Hyaluronic acid: Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance in the skin that helps to retain moisture and keep the skin hydrated. It is a popular ingredient in skin care products and can help to plump up the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Retinoids: Retinoids are a form of vitamin A that can help to stimulate collagen production, promote cell turnover, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. They are often used in anti-aging products and can help to improve the overall texture and tone of the skin.
- Ceramides: Ceramides are a type of lipid that help to form the skin's protective barrier. They can help to keep the skin hydrated and protect it from environmental stressors such as pollution and UV rays. Ceramides are often used in moisturizers and other skin care products.
- Antioxidants: Antioxidants are substances that help to neutralize free radicals in the skin, which can damage cells and contribute to aging. Common antioxidants used in skin care products include vitamins C and E, green tea extract, and resveratrol.
- Exfoliants: Exfoliants are substances that help to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. They can help to promote cell turnover and improve the overall texture and tone of the skin. Common exfoliants include alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs).
Advanced Skin Care Treatments
There are many different types of skin care treatments available today, but even more exciting are the new rejuvenating skin treatments that are emerging thanks to regenerative medicine. Here’s a list of some of the more advanced Skin Care treatments:
- Microdermabrasion: Microdermabrasion is a non-invasive skin resurfacing treatment that involves using a special device to exfoliate the outer layer of dead skin cells. This can help to improve skin texture and tone, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and unclog pores.
- Chemical peels: Chemical peels are a type of skin resurfacing treatment that involves applying a chemical solution to the skin to remove the outer layer of dead skin cells. Chemical peels can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and tone, and reduce the appearance of acne scars and hyperpigmentation.
- Laser resurfacing: Laser resurfacing involves using a high-intensity laser to remove the outer layer of the skin. This can help to stimulate collagen production, improve skin texture and tone, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy: IPL therapy involves using high-intensity light energy to penetrate the skin and target pigmentation and other skin irregularities. IPL therapy can help to reduce the appearance of age spots, sun damage, and other forms of hyperpigmentation.
- Radiofrequency (RF) therapy: RF therapy involves using high-frequency electrical energy to stimulate collagen production and tighten the skin. RF therapy can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, improve skin texture and tone, and tighten sagging skin.
- Ultrasound therapy: Ultrasound therapy involves using high-frequency sound waves to stimulate collagen production and improve skin texture and tone. Ultrasound therapy can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and tighten sagging skin.
Regenerative Medicine Strategies for Skin Care
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP): PRP therapy involves taking a small sample of a person's blood, processing it to concentrate the platelets, and then injecting the concentrated platelets back into the skin. Platelets contain growth factors and other molecules that can help to stimulate cell growth and tissue repair, making PRP therapy a potential option for promoting skin rejuvenation and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Exosomes and Growth factors: In a more advanced approach, similar to PRP, we can extract valuable growth factors, exosomes and other molecules from our own cells, and reintroduce them back into the skin. Growth factors play a key role in cell growth and tissue repair, and exosomes (extracellular vesicles) are nano-packages that deliver key elements and messenger agents into our cells to help promote healing and rejuvenation. This approach can help to stimulate the production of collagen and other components of the extracellular matrix, leading to improved skin texture and tone, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Getting the most of next generation regenerative skin treatments will require preparation and preservation of the most important ingredient, our own cells. Learn more about the science behind regenerative medicine by visiting the Acorn knowledge base.
Skin Care 101: A List of Tissues, Ingredients, Elements and Treatments for Your Skin
The largest organ of our body has a complex structure and many important elements and treatment strategies to help keep it healthy. Here's a comprehensive list of terms, treatments and ingredients found in Skin Care.
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