To understand how to deter the aging process and how to get beautiful skin using skin care one must first understand the basic biology of our skin. The skin is the body’s largest organ, comprising 16 percent of your total body weight and measuring two square meters of surface area. The tone and texture of skin vary greatly depending on the area of the body, thickness, and exposure to the elements. The skin is made up of 70 percent water, which is very important for us to know, especially when hydration is key to anti-aging. The skin can be divided into three fundamental layers: The epidermis, dermis, and the hypodermis.
What is the Epidermis?
The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin that most people only pay attention to because it is the most visible. The outer layer of the skin is responsible for our skin color and protects us from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. The epidermis is where skin cells are constantly renewing, being pushed to the surface, and eventually sloughing off. The process from skin cell birth to skin cell death and sloughing off typically takes six weeks. As we age, this process of skin cell renewal slows down, leaving aged skin cells on our face longer, thus leading to dryness and dullness to the appearance of your skin.
Not only does the rate at which new cells come to the surface of the skin slows down as we age, also the shape of the skin cells become irregular. This irregular shape of new skin cells leads to uneven skin texture. Think about how smooth and soft a newborn baby is and compare it to your skin right now. The difference: Babies have brand new evenly textured and sized skin cells thus they are baby smooth.
What is the Dermis?
The dermis is where our collagen and elastin fibers reside which give the skin strength, flexibility, and elasticity. The dermis makes up roughly 90 percent of your skin’s thickness, and changes in the dermis have a profound impact on your overall elasticity and firmness to your skin. Noticeable changes in the dermis, resulting in visible signs of aging, include the loss of bonding between the dermis and epidermis resulting in decreased nutrient delivery throughout and ultimately dryer, rougher skin that is more prone to injury.
Another common sign of aging in the dermis deals with the blood vessels found in this layer. Overexposure to the sun causes the blood vessels in this layer of skin to thicken and dilate over time. This thickening and dilation process leads to the spider web effect you see in older individuals and an overall ruddy appearance of the skin tone.
What is the Hypodermis?
The hypodermis or subcutaneous fat layer is comprised of fat tissue and fibrous bands that anchor the skin to the underlying muscle network known as deep fascia. The subcutaneous fat loss is inevitable in the aging process and leads to sagging skin and hollowing of the skin in more evident areas such as the eyes, cheeks, jawline, and hands. As you age the loss of collagen, elastin, and subcutaneous fat found in the hypodermis, coupled with dehydration leads to wrinkling of the skin resulting in thinner, less supple, and sagging skin as we age. The only weapons we have against this fat loss include staying hydrated, cosmetic filler, and fat transfer.
How do you get beautiful skin? Beautiful skin starts with great skincare and the knowledge of how the skin works. When considering new skincare, it is important to find products that are backed by research and are proven to work. A partnership with an experienced board-certified plastic surgeon who is an expert in the field of anti-aging can be your greatest asset to fighting off the natural aging process. For your safety, I cannot stress the importance of discussing your skincare goals with a board-certified plastic surgeon who understands the aging process and can determine whether proper skincare, noninvasive procedures, or invasive surgical procedures will be required to achieve your desired results.
Dr. Rod J. Rohrich is an internationally known, highly respected and skilled plastic and cosmetic surgeon from Dallas, Texas. He is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and has led most of the key professional organizations in plastic surgery in the USA. He has received numerous honors and awards in plastic and cosmetic surgery, both nationally and internationally. In addition to his extensive surgical expertise and talent as a gifted surgeon, he is the Founding Chair and Distinguished Teaching Professor of Plastic Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He has authored hundreds of innovative academic publications in the field and he also serves as the Editor in Chief of the leading plastic and reconstructive surgery journal, the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Dr. Rohrich has also performed philanthropic work as a civic leader of organizations such as the March of Dimes, American Cancer Society and Save the Children and has established the Rod J. Rohrich, M.D. Foundation, which supports medical students in his native North Dakota. He is also a founding member and President of AiRS, the Alliance in Reconstructive Surgery, which serves to support education and reconstructive surgery for breast cancer survivors, regardless of financial status. Dr. Rohrich has repeatedly been featured as one of the best plastic surgeons in the country by US News and World Report, Harper’s Bazaar, Good Housekeeping and Texas Monthly as well as being quoted in notable publications such as the New York Times and Boston Globe. He has appeared on many television shows including Oprah, the View, and Good Morning America and is currently working to provide a reliable source of public-centered information in the fields of plastic and cosmetic surgery as well as other areas of medicine.