Beneath The SurfaceAug 12, 2021
About 15 percent of your body weight is skin. If that seems like a lot, remember that skin is your largest organ. And, arguably, the most important. So that’s why I’m here, to remind you of how our skin works to protect us, so we can all play our part in maintaining the health of our armor against the outside world and the magnificent work that happens beneath the surface of our skin.
The Purpose of Your Skin
Your skin comprises a large portion of the integumentary system. This organ system also contains hair, nails, and glands that produce sweat and oil. The three main functions of the integumentary system are protection, regulation, and sensation.
Skin’s primary function in this system is to act as a barrier. It provides protection from various environmental elements—temperature, bacteria, chemicals, the sun, and more. But the blood vessels in the skin also help it regulate your body temperature and skin is where your body uses sunlight to manufacture vitamin D. All why you aren’t even paying attention.
Layers of the Skin
I think we all know that our skin is pretty important, and each of its three layers play a distinct role. Here they are:
The epidermis is the top layer of your skin. It’s made up of millions of skin cells held together by lipids, which are the natural ‘mortar’ that helps lock in moisture and helps lock the cells together. This creates a resilient barrier and regulates the amount of water released from your body.
Part of the epidermis is the basal layer, which makes new skin cells. It’s a natural process that allows your older skin cells to flake off and newer ones come on board to take their place. It’s this process that natural exfoliants in our soaps, like poppyseed and salt, help rejuvenate and refresh your skin to keep it looking lovely.
Your epidermis contains four different types of cells, the majority of which form your water-proof, protective barrier against the elements. The rest of the cells are for skin pigment, immune response, and sensation, like hot/cold/ticklish. The epidermis is basically your armor against the elements. Harvest + Harmony soaps LOVE the epidermis and we fight to keep it clean and healthy.
The next layer of skin is the dermis. It lies beneath the epidermis, and is responsible for a variety of functions.
This layer contains hair roots, nerve endings, blood vessels, and sweat glands that help regulate body temperature and remove waste products. The dermis also contains oil glands and also help with waterproofing. It works hard for you all day, every day. Even when you’re sleeping.
Your dermis has two parts—papillary and reticular. The papillary dermis contains the interlocking connections that help supply blood and nutrients to the epidermis. The reticular dermis is the thicker, deeper portion that contains building blocks like collagen and elastin which give skin its flexibility and strength. Your hair follicles and glands also reside in the reticular dermis.
Overall, a pretty important layer! It’s this layer our soaps also love, as the goat milk and oils in our soaps work with the dermis to keep your skin soft, smooth, and naturally protective.
Hypodermis or Subcutaneous Tissue
The subcutaneous tissue is the lowest layer of the integumentary system. It’s used mainly for fat storage. The hypodermis contains the connective tissue that attaches the dermis to your muscles and bones. It also provides support to the blood vessels, nerves, and glands in the dermis. The subcutaneous fat is the layer that helps keep your body from getting too warm or too cold and it also pads your muscles and bones and protects them from bumps and falls. It’s this layer beneath the surface that let’s you know when you’ve hit something to hard as it will respond with a great big BRUISE to tell you to knock it off. Although our soap loves this layer too, it isn’t as important to us as the other two layers because it has so much work to do we don’t want to bother it with pesky stuff like soap. We let the medical doctors take care of any issues here.
I think the reason I’m telling you all this is because it’s important to know about our skin and how it protects us from the elements. Think about what all it does for us ~ from protection, to hiding our organs, to keeping our bones safe and strong, to showing the world our lovely skin tones, to being so kind to us that when we scrape it and bruise it and cut it and sunburn it, it forgives us and regenerates new skin. It’s like it’s telling us, ‘I know you didn’t mean to do that. I’ll fix it for y’all’. We take a lot of things for granted everyday, don’t let skin be one of them.
Treat your skin kindly, tell it you love it, and wash it with Harvest + Harmony soaps and scrubs. It may be only ‘skin-deep’, but beneath the surface it is working hard for you All. Day. Long.