Know your Skin

What is Skin?

Skin is the largest organ in our body, and it has several physiological functions. Mainly, it is a barrier that contains all our organs, so It is the first and most important innate immune system. It keeps us protected from all pathogenic organisms such as bacteria and viruses. Its immunological function plays an important role in heat regulation, absorption, and sensation. Apart from the physiological function, Skin has the most important cosmetic appeal.

Skin Anatomy:

skin is comprised of three layers


The Epidermis typically consists of 5– 6 separate layers (depending on the body location). As the outer portion of the skin, the Epidermis plays a vital protective role against external factors that require constant renewal (usually every 28 days); irregular or abnormal epidermis peeling will result in an unhealthy look and rough texture of the Skin. The Epidermis layer is further divided into the outermost non-living layer, the stratum corneum, and the living cellular layers of the stratum granulosum, stratum spinosum, and stratum basale. Throughout the layers, there are four types of cells. It comprises four cell types: keratinocytes, melanocytes, Langerhans cells, and Merkel cells.

  • The stratum corneum comprises corneocytes (non-living keratinocytes) and lipids and is referred to as the epidermal barrier. It functions as an evaporative barrier maintaining skin hydration and suppleness and as a protective physical barrier against microbes, trauma, irritants, and ultraviolet light. The Epidermis requires continual renewal to maintain its integrity and function effectively. In young, healthy skin, it takes approximately one month for keratinocytes to migrate from the living basal layer of the Epidermis to the stratum corneum surface and desquamate during the epidermal renewal process. Melanin pigment, which determines skin color and causes hyperpigmentation, is primarily concentrated within the Epidermis and, in some conditions, is found in the dermis (e.g., some forms of melasma). Melanin has a protective physiologic role in the Skin to shield keratinocyte nuclei by absorbing harmful UV radiation, and eumelanin has the greatest UV absorption capabilities. When Skin is exposed to UV radiation, melanin synthesis is upregulated, clinically apparent as skin darkening or tanned Skin. Stratum corneum is the target for all peeling procedures such as chemical peel (Jessner peel) and mechanical peel (microdermabrasion)

The dermis:

lies beneath the Epidermis and is divided into the more superficial papillary and deeper reticular dermis. The main cell type in the dermis is the fibroblast, which is abundant in the papillary dermis and sparse in the reticular dermis. Fibroblasts synthesize most components of the dermal extracellular matrix (ECM), which includes structural proteins such as collagen and elastin, glycosaminoglycans such as hyaluronic acid, and adhesive proteins such as fibronectin and laminins. All wrinkles and Skin tightening work mainly on the dermis layers.

Subcutaneous layer:

or superficial fascia is the layer below the dermis and above the underlying muscle. This layer is composed of both fatty and fibrous components. This layer is not involved in any cosmetic treatment.

Why do we have different skin colors?

The number of melanocytes is similar for light and dark skin types; however, the quantity and distribution of melanin within the Epidermis differ. Light Skin has less melanin per square centimeter and smaller melanosomes closely aggregated in membrane-bound clusters. Dark Skin has more melanin and larger melanosomes that are distributed singly. In addition to differences in coloration, other histologic and pathophysiologic differences exist between light and dark Skin. The stratum corneum is thicker in dark Skin, contributing to skin conditions exacerbated by compaction, such as acne. The dermis also tends to be thicker in Dark Skin. Dermal blood vessels are more prominent and dilated, suggesting an exaggerated inflammatory response, contributing to increased susceptibility to hyperpigmentation.

Why do we age and get wrinkles?

A photoaged skin has slower, disorganized keratinocyte maturation and increased cellular adhesion relative to healthy, young skin. These factors reduce natural peeling and result in a rough and thickened stratum corneum that impairs barrier function. The stratum corneum also has poor light reflectance, evident as dullness or a sallow (yellow-gray) discoloration. Water escapes more freely from the Skin, causing dehydration, which can be measured as increased water loss and dry skin. The disrupted epidermal barrier also allows for increased irritant penetration associated with skin sensitivity, redness, and itchiness. It also demonstrates pigmentary changes due to overactive melanocytes and disorganized melanin deposition in the Epidermis. Regions with excess melanin are evident as hyperpigmentation, and regions with melanin deficits appear as hypopigmentation.

What are skin care procedures?

All skincare procedures aim to restore the natural cellular structure of the Epidermis and dermis. Skincare and skin rejuvenation procedures can be gentle, medium, and aggressive. The treatment of choice depends on the client’s complaint, skin type, and other compatibilities.

Regular exfoliation with chemical peels and microdermabrasion, in combination with at-home skincare products, improves the general function and look of the skin and successfully cures photodamaged skin. Chemical or mechanical exfoliation treatments are used to exfoliate the outer skin layers. Their effects on the skin are based on wound healing principles, in which controlled wounding of the epidermis combined with removal of superficial skin layers encourages cell regeneration and results in a healthier epidermis and dermis. The natural cell turnover process of the skin is a complicated set of stages that culminate in the exfoliation of dead skin cells.

Aging, skin diseases, and environmental insults can be easily disrupted. Improper peeling leads to a dull complexion and rough, dry skin and is a key contributor to many common skin concerns. Regardless of the exfoliation method used, the effects are similar, regulating the Skin’s natural epidermal renewal process, stimulating the production of ECM components such as collagen and glycosaminoglycans, even melanin distribution, and improving melanin distribution epidermal barrier function. Histologic changes observed in the Skin after a series of exfoliation treatments include a thinned, smoother stratum corneum, increased dermal thickness with enhanced production of new collagen and elastin, and increased skin hydration. Clinical improvements may be seen in rough skin texture, fine lines, pore size, superficial acne scars, acne, and hyperpigmentation. These procedures are good enough to be considered gentle and good for maintenance.

One of the best examples are laser carbon peel and Skin tightening by the YAG laser and Q-switch laser (read more about this procedure here)

this includes microneedling and fractional ablative and non-ablative laser (please click here to know more about these types of procedures)

At Albany cosmetic and laser center, we are the most advanced skiskincareinic in Edmonton. We combine the most advanced beauty machines with Edmonton’s most experienced medical staff.

Our consultation is always free and has no obligation. Do not hesitate to contact us and let us help you shine again.