Stratum Corneum. Composed of dead cells called keratinocytes, the stratum corneum is the outermost layer of skin, acting as a barrier to keep bacteria out and hold moisture in. As we age, this barrier deteriorates becoming crusty and flaky. Gentle exfoliants can help remove the outermost cells and help skin regain a youthful appearance while preserving this important layer of defense.
Epidermis. The stratum corneum and epidermis are the skin you see when you look in the mirror. The epidermis is made of living keratin-producing cells. As we age, the epidermis gets thinner because the body forms fewer and fewer new keratinocytes. Also, melanocytes pigment-producing cells) can begin to cause pigmentation problems, including age spots. The best way to care for the epidermis is both with topical products that promote keratinocyte production.
Dermal Epidermal Junction. This is a tightly knit layer of skin between the epidermis and the upper layer of dermis, which is mostly collagen. In young people, this junction allows the two layers to function seamlessly so that skin is resilient and has a natural strength. As this layer starts to thin, it caves inward on itself and wrinkles are born.
- Dermis. You can’t see the dermis in a mirror, but this layer gives the skin its natural plumpness, thickness, and elasticity. A dense network of blood vessels, nerves, and hair follicles, the dermis is composed of collagen and elastin, which allow our skin to stretch and then tightly resume its shape. As we age, less collagen and elastin are produced, so the skin starts to sag, leaving droopy eyelids, neck, and jowls. In addition, collagen, elastin, and other cells begin to clump together causing skin to become rigid and less supple. This layer may also become red and inflamed due to environmental factors and stress. Even worse, as the dermis thins beneath the eyes, the eyes can become sunken and darkened.
Hypodermis. This skin layer is composed of fat cells that give skin softness and plumpness. With age, the fat cells shrink and die leaving a hollowed appearance to the face. You can’t treat the hypodermis topically, but taking a supplement with olive fruit extract, lutein, and rosemary extract, which are all known to increase lipid levels in the skin, should improve hypodermis health.
Muscle. Facial muscles contribute movement and volume to the face. Over time, muscles atrophy, or shrink, contributing to a hollow look, while facial expressions create deep wrinkle creases in our foreheads, between our eyes, necks, and around our mouths. A less extreme remedy is facial exercises, which help restore volume to the muscles.
Bone. Bone cells are constantly dying and being replaced in a process. The jawbone and cheekbones are particularly affected as they start to get smaller, causing the skin to sag. And as facial bones shrink, eye sockets enlarge and fat bulges out, leading to puffiness and a hollow-eye look. To help maintain healthy bone strength, therefore, make sure you are getting the 1,000 to 1,300 mg of calcium.minerals to close the gap.