The skin consists of three main layers: epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue.
The very top layer is called the stratum corneum, which is the top part of the epidermis. The stratum corneum is what people tend to call the 'dead layer of skin.' Within the epidermis is melanin. Melanin is what gives each one of us our skin pigmentation; this pigmentation helps to protect us from the sun's rays.
Underneath the epidermis is a much larger layer called the dermis. It is within the dermis that blood vessels, sweat glands and collagen fibres reside. These layers make up what we refer to as the skin. The dermis is the layer responsible for the skin's structural integrity, elasticity and resilience. Wrinkles arise and develop in the dermis. Therefore, an anti-wrinkle treatment has a chance to succeed only if it can reach as deep as the dermis.
Underneath the dermis is what is referred to as subcutaneous tissue (otherwise known as fat). This fat is healthy and gives the skin an even shape especially on our faces. The loss of subcutaneous tissue, often occurring with age, leads to facial sag and accentuates wrinkles. A common procedure performed by dermatologists to counteract this process is to inject fat under the wrinkles on the face.
When skin is exposed to the harmful effects of ageing:
- UV rays cause age spots to form on the surface of the skin
- Contraction of facial muscles creates deep wrinkles, expression and fine lines
- Collagen and elastin fibres weaken causing skin to lose its firmness and elasticity
- Loss of moisture due to damaged skin barrier