The Skin – The Dermis

The Skin

As mentioned in our previous blog, the skin is our biggest organ which consists of three layers. Only by understanding the skin’s structure and needs can we create the most effective programme to protect and support our skin’s health and beauty. In this blog we’ll be looking at the middle layer – the dermis. For more information on how the epidermis is structured take a look at our Epidermis Blog.

The Dermis


The dermis is the middle layer of our skin and is connected to the epidermis by the basement membrane. The dermis is thicker than the epidermis and is made up of mainly blood vessels, lymph vessels, muscles, sweat glands, hair follicles, sebaceous glands and nerves.

Our body supplies the dermis with water on a constant basis and makes sure it stays moist. Across the dermis are fibrous strands which are nearly completely made of collagen (80%). Collagen is a type of protein which gives skin elasticity and bounce.

The remaining 20% of the fibrous strands are elastin. Elastin is responsible for snapping the skin back in its original state if it is pulled or stretched.

As we age, collagen and elastin break down due to sunlight and other external problems like free radicals. The fibres start to dry, shrink and cross-link with other collagen strands leaving the skin with wrinkles.

We can support our skin by eating lots of fruit and vegetables that are full of antioxidants and by applying these plant based antioxidants directly onto your skin. If you want to find out more about antioxidants and the right skincare take a look at our blog – You are what you eat – Beauty from the inside out.

The blood vessels and sweat glands act as your internal air conditioning system. If you are cold, blood vessels begin to move quicker to provide the body with warmth. If you are hot, sweat glands start pumping moisture to the surface where they cool the skin. Sweat glands can pump up to one litre of sweat an hour and even more if you are in a hot environment.

The hair follicles originate in the bottom of the dermis. Some are empty and some contain a hair. Just next to them are the sebaceous glands which produce an oily compound, known as sebum.

Sebum is made of fatty acids, alcohols, waxes and salts. They moisturise and give the skin its protective acid mantle which protects the skin from bacteria and other diseases.

When the sebaceous glands are overactive, sebum can collect in the openings, or pores of the skin and in the places where the hairs appear at the surface. When this happens, pores and follicles can become blocked, causing blemishes and scarring.

If you suffer from blemishes I recommend Dr Hauschka Clarifying Day Oil which is a fast absorbing moisturiser that not only regulates the overproduction of oil but also minimises pores at the same time. It’s rich in antioxidants that heal the skin of blemishes and acne. In turn the skin becomes normalised with a beautiful complexion.

The Skin – The Epidermis

The Skin

The skin is our biggest organ which has a surface between 1.5 and 2 square meters (which is around 20 square feet). Believe it or not, each square inch contains around 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels and more than 1000 nerve endings.

The skin is a talented all-rounder that accomplishes many tasks:

• It protects us from diseases and attacks of particles
• The skin heals injuries and wounds
• It regulates our temperature, warming us when we’re getting cold and cooling us when things get a bit too hot.
• The skin produces vitamin D with the help of sunlight which is essential for healthy bones and teeth
• It renews and restores itself to preserve its beauty

There’s quite a lot of tasks here and many of them go unnoticed and unappreciated as the skin does this all on its own. However the skin still needs our help.

Every rash, wrinkle or spot is a sign that the skin needs assistance and support. Unfortunately many of us don’t react to these signs or even worse, they injure their skin even further by using the wrong skincare.

Only by understanding the skin’s structure and needs we can create the most effective programme to protect and support our skin’s health and beauty.

We’ll be having a closer look at our skin, which consists of three layers and this blog concentrates on the first, outermost layer – the epidermis.


The Epidermis

The epidermis is the top layer of our skin, the part that you can see. This layer has its own five levels and acts like a protection shield. It is a very tough layer and therefore it’s hard to believe that it is only around 1mm thick. The delicate areas like the eyelids are even thinner, only 0.05mm while our feet and the palms of our hands are thicker, around 1.5mm.

New skin cells are produced every day in the bottom level of the epidermis – the basal layer.

These cells migrate upward to the surface and are transformed into protein-producing cells during their journey. These cells are also known as “keratinocytes”.

Once they have reached the surface, also known as the horny layer or stratum corneum, they die and form your defence shield. After a week or two they are being cast off and they make way for another round of cells that form a new horny layer.

This process is called “exfoliation” and usually takes 28 days. The older you get the longer it can take (up to 42 days) which is also the reason why the skin of older people looks less radiant.

Renewing-Night-ConditionerYou can support your skin with the right skincare. I use and recommend Dr Hauschka Renewing Night Conditioner which was specially designed to support the skin’s natural healing process at night.

It encourages cell renewal and provides powerful strength and elasticity to your skin. It balances the moisture content of the skin and brings colour and vitality to pale skin.

It is recommended to do one 28 day cycle of Renewing Night Conditioner per year for each decade of life. You will see astonishing changes in your skin if you chose to use this product consistently though.
 

The SkinStructure of the epidermis

1. Basal Layer
This is the layer where new skin cells are produced around the clock. The basal layer also contains melanocytes which are the cells that provide all the colour in our skin.

There is another group of cells that originate in the basal layer – the skin’s immune cells. These cells defend the skin from diseases and bugs.

2. Spinous Layer
Cells start to produce keratin, the main protein for healthy skin, nails and hair. This is also the layer where lipids appear.

3. Stratum Layer
Keratin, lipids and ceramides go through extra development through this stage.

4. Stratum Lucidum
This is a layer of dead cells and only exists on the soles of your feet and your palms. Its main function is to give an extra layer of protection for these areas.

5. Horny Layer (Stratum Corneum)

This is the surface layer which is made of dead cells, called corneocytes or squamous cells.

Function of the epidermis

The corneocytes contain many chemicals that regulate our immune system. These cells are responsible for triggering an immune response that fights bacteria trying to enter the open wound if you get cut or injured. You will see red swelling around your injury which is a natural inflammation caused by this immune reaction.

The more poisons that enter through a wound, the more aggressive your immune response will be. The more aggressive the response, the greater the inflammation will be which results in faster aging of your skin.

By the way, the same effect applies to skincare. A lot of synthetic skincare products contain parabens and other harmful substances like benzophenone or PEGs that cause rashes, skin irritations and inflammation. The more synthetics we use, the quicker our skin ages. That’s why we should avoid these products at all costs and only use products with natural ingredients.

The epidermis protects us from the environment and prevents the loss of water. Water is the most important treasure within the skin. A well hydrated-skin makes your skin look smooth, soft and shiny.

One important group of chemicals within the epidermis is the Natural Moisturising Factor (NMF) which keeps the moisture inside. If the moisture in your skin would come to the surface, your skin would be dry, rough and wrinkly. That’s why people with dry skin often lack in NMFs. Good moisturisers contain oils that mimic the NMFs and help hydrate the skin, restoring the surface.
 
So any skincare that supports the epidermis supports the health of the skin. If you use chemical products it may appear that they give you a short-term benefit but the reality is that they will injure the epidermis or even worse, destroy the skin.

Some acids in chemical beauty products strip the upper layers of the epidermis, leaving the soft tissue below unprotected. Your skin might look enhanced for a short while, but in reality it speeds up the aging process of the skin in the long run.

Therefore it’s really important to think about the skincare products you buy. Some will work in harmony with your skin, helping and assisting it to do its job properly. Whereas other products try to replace or override the skin’s function which may provide short-term results, but can cause longer term damage.

Plant Profile – Relaxing Lavender

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

lavender flower isolatedLavender, with its beautiful blue and violet flowers, is native to the Mediterranean region and is now grown in many parts of the world. The lavender shrubs can grow as high as half a meter and bloom from July to August.

Effects on your Physical Body

In ancient times, lavender was used as bath essence in Persia, Greece and Rome and is still one of the most widely used herbs in skin care and healing. It has an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effect and is often used in treating acne, dermatitis, oily and dry skin as it balances the skin and stimulates skin renewal.

Effects on your Psychological Body

Lavender is also often used in aromatherapy where the essential oil is inhaled to treat symptoms like anxiety, stress and depression. Lavender is not only deeply relaxing but also uplifting and inspiring at the same time.

Side Effects

The use of lavender oil is generally considered as safe. There have been some reports that lavender can lead to headaches and drowsiness.

My Personal Opinion

Although some people say there is only little scientific proof of all these positive effects I can say that lavender works very well on me. I use lavender oil when I have sunburn or get stung by mosquitos. For me, I find it does really help to reduce swelling and redness.

Lavender-Range

Picture from left to right: Dr Hauschka Moor Lavender Bath Essence ~ Dr Hauschka Moor Lavender Body Oil ~ Dr Hauschka Lavender Sandalwood Body Cream ~ Dr Hauschka Lavender Sandalwood Body Wash ~ Weleda Lavender Body Wash ~ Weleda Lavender Bath Milk ~ Weleda Lavender Body Oil

Summer Time is Travelling Time

Summer Time is Travelling Time

Whether you are heading for a trip overseas or just a weekend in Cornwall, our Travel Range will ensure you stay beautiful while travelling.

There are a few new products in store. The Dr Hauschka Soothing Milk comes in a handy 30ml bottle and is extremely gentle to your skin, removing dirt and make-up while protecting your skin at the same time.

Dr Hauschka Facial Toner is a classic that you surely don’t want to miss during your holiday. Now available in a 30ml spray bottle, it not only completes the cleansing process by rinsing away any remaining cleanser, but also strengthens your skin and minimises pores at the same time.

Stay fresh with the Dr Hauschka Revitalising Day Cream. From a 30ml bottle you get a light moisturiser that balances the water and oil content of the skin, giving pale and dry skin a fresh and vitalising look.

The Weleda Mini Lotions Set contains all your favourite body lotions in one pack. Complete with Wild Rose, Pomegranate, Sea Buckthorn, Citrus and Evening Primrose, what more do you need?!

Exercising the Mind, Body and Soul

Exercising Beauty

Being beautiful and healthy not only depends on what you eat, but also on keeping fit. If you hear the word “exercise” you most likely think about jogging 5 miles every day and work out very hard. However, walking the kids to school or cycling to work is also a form of exercise and if done on a regular basis it will go hand in hand with beautiful skin.

Which daily exercise you do depends on which one you can build into your daily life routine. I personally prefer to walk into town rather than using the car and at the weekend I quite enjoy a nice cycle ride where I can enjoy the rural scenery. If you can’t build in any exercise in your daily routine I would recommend you to go for a 20 minute walk at least three times a week. You would be surprised how easily it is to fit that in during your lunch break. You might also want to consider taking the stairs instead of the lift.


Effects on your psychological body

Walking in Nature

Exercising or just going for a walk in nature will massively reduce stress and tension and helps to connect to your body’s rhythm, generally speaking exercise acts as a natural antidepressant.

So your new goal is not to be exercising for muscles and for being super skinny, your new goal is to exercise to come into harmony with your internal environment. This way of exercising will give you an experience of peace and will restore your sense of self, allowing you to think more clearly. Next time you go for a walk, think about a problem that you are facing at the moment. You will be amazed that in most cases you will find a clear solution for your problem by the time you’ve finished your walk.

Exercising according to your body’s rhythm also means that the speed of exercising should depend on how you feel. If you feel full of energy you might want to go for a run rather than a walk. But if you feel that your body needs to slow down at some point, listen to it and take it easy.


Effects on your physical body

Regular physical exercise increases your circulation flow, improves digestion and stimulates the process of waste removal from the internal organs and skin. When exercising, toxins are eliminated through sweat as the pores are opened, and also through deeper and faster breathing. These toxins would normally be dealt with by your skin which contributes to your skin looking less healthy and aging. Without exercise your maximum skin health and beauty can’t be revealed.

Health benefits of regular physical activity:

    • Sport destroys fat cells, which is very important as it also destroys the nasty fat cells that surround our abdominal organs. It is these fat cells that can be responsible for heart diseases, diabetes and even cancer.
    • Exercising cleans the veins and prevents blood fats from settling down that can clog the vessels leading to heart attacks and strokes. Exercising releases fat-splitting enzymes preventing blood fats to settle down in the veins.
    • Exercise strengthens the heart by strengthening the heart muscle. Every time you do physical activities your heart beats faster as it has to pump more blood which strengthens the heart muscle in return.
    • Sport prevents diabetes which is caused when calories are flooding the body and the pancreas has to react by producing more insulin in order to reduce the amount of glucose in your body. Our body cells react less and less to the insulin and that’s where sport can break the vicious circle and reverse the insulin resistance. The reason for this is that the cells need little or no insulin to dispose glucose during physical activity. The blood sugar level drops which decreases the need for insulin.

Product-PicturesAs always, there is no one single magic formula that will keep you healthy and keep your skin looking at its best. A combination of regular exercise, healthy eating and good skin care will work wonders and keep you looking beautiful.

Did you know that Dr Hauschka Hydrating Foot Cream is for sporty people to help care for and reinvigorate your feet? You can also refresh yourself after physical exercise with the Dr Hauschka Sage Bath, it also has a deodorising effect.

The Weleda Arnica Massage Oil with a powerful scent of rosemary and lavender, is ideal for massage before and after sport to keep the muscles warm and flexible.

You are what you eat – Beauty from the inside out

The Inner Beauty

The skin reveals our physical beauty and is the part of us on which we are most commonly judged. We all like to have beautiful and soft skin and often only rely on our skin care to fix our skin problems. The right skin care can, of course, be better for your skin, but it’s not the only important factor that plays a role if it comes to beautiful skin. We can use the best skincare in the world, but it won’t make our skin healthy if we drink too much, smoke and live on junk food.

What you eat plays a major part in healthy looking skin as it is the skin itself that has to clear out all the chemicals from the food we eat. If you eat a lot of refined and processed food your skin will look pretty unhealthy during its elimination process, trying to clean out all the bad stuff that it contains.

If you consistently eat foods with high toxins, you can’t expect your skin to remain healthy and beautiful. Your skin is made from the inside out, so it draws on the nutrition and chemicals you eat. By eating toxins, an immune response is triggered which affects your skin and also makes you susceptible to illnesses. The saying “garbage in, garbage out” isn’t just one for computer geeks, it is also very apt with your body.

So, it’s important to be very conscious of what you eat, rather than letting the toxins in your system build up and contribute to diseases. You should be supporting your system by clearing these toxins out and replacing your old eating habits with new ones.


Improving your diet

Here are some good tips for a healthy nutrition:

DrinkWater

    • Drink water on a regular basis. Scientists are still unsure about how much water we should drink. Many people are too busy at work to get up and pour themselves a drink. I know many people that fall into this category. So my suggestion is to have a bottle of water next to you and have regular sips throughout the day. Regular sips won’t take a long time and it is so important and beneficial for your skin.
    • Buy good quality food that isn’t processed. I personally buy as much organic food as possible. Biodynamic and organically grown foods are free of all synthetic poisons which means that only natural substance can be used in the growing and harvesting process. This in turn means that the food you eat doesn’t contain all the ugly toxins that will cause a reaction with your skin.
    • Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the day. Plant foods are the only real source of antioxidants, with the exception of fish. These antioxidants fight the free radicals that are the cause for all living things to age and decay. There are many fruit and vegetables that have a high content of antioxidants which you can look up in the list below. Eating a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables will slow the ageing process and protect you against serious illness.
      Berries1

      High Antioxidant Fruits High Antioxidant Vegetables
      Blueberries Kale
      Blackberries Spinach
      Strawberries Brussels sprouts
      Raspberries Broccoli
      Oranges Beets
      Red grapes Onion
      Cherries Corn
      Kiwi Aubergine
  • Cook meals from scratch as much as possible. It can be tricky to juggle work and family, but the extra time that you spend by creating a dish from scratch is definitely worth it. I know this from my own experience.When I first changed my diet a few years ago, I found it hard to break my old habit of using ready meals. The trick I found was to change it gradually. I started with making one meal a week from scratch and increased the number every few weeks until every meal I cooked was from scratch with fresh ingredients. I can guarantee they taste so much better and are so much healthier.

Regenerating-RangeDid you know that Dr Hauschka’s regenerating skin care contains antioxidants? Regenerating Day Cream, Regenerating Serum, Regenerating Eye Cream and Regenerating Neck and Décolleté Cream are all rich in antioxidants that protects against free radicals leaving the skin smooth, soft and firm.

 


Avoid these nasty little habits

bad

    • Avoid eating large amounts of animal foods. The amount of antioxidants in animal food is pretty low or none at all. As well as this, most animals are injected with hormones and antibiotics which will end up in your body and will have a negative effect on your own hormones and overall health.
    • Avoid products that are made with white flour and refined sugar.
    • Try not to eat ready meals or fast food. Heavily processed foods are low in nutrients. This is simply because the act of food processing removes them. It’s because of this low nutritional value that causes a lot of obesity. Your body needs nutrition and if what you eat doesn’t have the nutrition your body needs, it will crave more and you will feel hungry again. You then end up eating more, and adding more calories into your diet. Eating healthily will satisfy your body’s need for nutrients far quicker, which will mean you will naturally eat less.
    • Moderate the amount of Alcohol you drink
    • Give up smoking. Smoking is probably the worst of all and should certainly be avoided. Smoking speeds up the ageing process of your skin causing permanent wrinkles.