Skin 101: The structure of the skin

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It’s important to have an impression of the underlying facial structure, and how this structure functions and alters with age, before understanding how facial rejuvenation works.

The face is composed of 14 bones under a puzzle of 20 key muscles, fat and skin that are stretched taut over the bone structure like a rubber band. Over time this elasticity and resiliency begin to lessen and results in facial ageing. Facial muscles can weaken or stretch and fatty deposits can go south or deplete. This combination of effects can create deep wrinkles, loose skin and jowls.

Regardless of where skin lies on the body, it has the same structure of three layers: the epidermis, dermis and subcutis (subcutaneous layer or panniculus adiposis).

The epidermis

The epidermis is the outermost layer below the exterior surface and continually renews and regenerates. All the cells in the epidermis originate ultimately from a single layer of basal cells in its basement membrane – these are called keratinocytes, which are stacked on top of each other to form several strata, melanocytes and dendritic cells.

The dermis

Between the epidermis and the subcutaneous fat layer lies the dermis, which contains connective tissue and houses the arteries, hair follicles, lymph vessels, sensation receptors, sweat glands and veins. The thicker dermal layer is composed primarily of collagen, which is responsible for the strength and elasticity of the skin. It is held together by a protein called elastin that is produced by fibroblast cells.

The dermis also contains moisture-strong glycoproteins and hyaluronic acid, which have the ability to attract and bind hundreds of times its weight in water. Here, collagen and elastin production decline with ageing.

The subcutis

Subcutis (subcutaneous layer) is the deepest layer of the skin. It is made up of a loose network of fat and collagen cells. It acts as a protective cushion and helps to insulate the body by monitoring heat gain and heat loss. The thickness of this layer can vary significantly and in different parts of the body.

The changes that happen with ageing

Our faces tend to be the first part of the body to show the obvious signs of age. The key to cosmetic facial rejuvenation is taking into account all aspects of the face and how the features liaise and harmonise with each other.

Facial hollows and gauntness due to loss of volume, shrinkage of the bone structures, loss of collagen and elasticity, and the effects of gravity are all manifestations of the ageing face. While some of the skin related factors can be reined in with healthy lifestyle choices and a good skincare regimen, many of the characteristics of ageing are a matter of genetics.

Platinum Dermatology Skin Specialists offer a range of treatments to help combat the signs of ageing, including:

  • Ultraformer III – a quick, effective and non-invasive treatment that stimulates new collagen in the skin. This treatment can lift and tighten sagging on the face and neck.
  • BBL (Broad Band Light) – delivers pulses of light energy that gently heat the upper layers of skin. Within the skin, damaged areas such as fine, broken blood vessels causing facial redness and brown age spots absorb the light energy. It can also target and correct pigmented lesions that are the result of an over-production of melanin.
  • CLATUU – a quick and effective treatment that freezes and kills fat from stubborn areas such as the abdomen and thighs, tightening skin and shaping the body.
  • Injectable Fillers – used to restore volume and fullness to your face, creating a natural-looking, more youthful appearance without surgery.
  • Chemical Peels – a treatment that removes the top and middle layers of the skin, along with some majority of fine lines, folds and wrinkles.
  • Anti-Wrinkle Injections – a series of small injections made into facial muscles to soften existing wrinkles and prevent new wrinkles from forming.

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