What is Our Skin Made of?


Skin is like an Onion, it has layers.


We’ve always been told that our skin is our largest organ. But how big is it? It covers the entire outside surface of our body. Every curve, every indent, we are fully covered by it. In a 1987 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, the average surface area of skin was calculated to be 2 square meters which is over 21 square feet! For how big it is and how much function it provides, the skin is definitely an organ that does not get enough attention until we notice something wrong or something we don’t like about it. So, let’s give it the attention it deserves and learn all about it!

Our skin has three main layers; the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. The epidermis is the surface layer of the skin that protects your body from germs and bacteria. Lying just below the epidermis is the dermis which helps to provide structure and houses a lot of the functional components of our skin. Beneath the dermis is the subcutaneous layer. It is constructed of fatty tissue that helps insulate your body. In general, the products that we apply to our skin mainly function within the epidermis and dermis. So let’s focus on those two layers!

The Epidermis

The epidermis is our first line of defense. If it’s functioning properly, it prevents water from escaping and external debris and microbes from entering. Your epidermis is composed of three types of cells; keratinocytes which are your main skin cells that provide the barrier from the outside world, melanocytes which produce melanin that gives the pigment to your skin, and Langerhaus cells that help to provide an immune response to any materials new to your skin.

The top layer of the epidermis, the stratum corneum, is additionally interesting because it is mainly composed of dead keratinocytes that are constantly being shed through a process called desquamation. This is a regenerative process where the cells that are shed are replaced by cells being pushed up from lower layers of the epidermis. If this process is working well, our skin should look radiant and healthy. If our skin is looking dull and lackluster, the desquamation process needs a little boost. Regularly using gentle exfoliating products like our Fruit & Honey Clarifying Mask will help your skin regulate this process and keep your skin glowing. 

Melanocytes within the epidermis provide us with our beautiful and unique skin tones. These cells can malfunction causing different types of pigmentary disorders. This can lead to hypopigmentation, which is the lack of pigment (albinism or vitiligo), or hyperpigmentation, which is an excess of pigmentation. Dark spots, also called age spots or sun spots, is an example of hyperpigmentation. 

Hyperpigmentation can have many causes including poor communication between cells, protein malfunction, and UV induced stress. Although harmless, it is a common skin concern that people look to correct. One of the best ways to prevent these hyperpigmentation spots is to use sunscreen regularly. If these spots are already present, the best way to reduce the appearance of them is to use products that help target what causes them. Earth & Sea Illuminating Serum was formulated using ingredients proven to target pathways causing hyperpigmentation to help reduce the appearance of dark spots.

The Dermis

The dermis lies just below the epidermis and provides structural support, assists in heat regulation, and houses glands, hair follicles, nerve endings, proteins, and different types of cells. The most abundant cell in the dermis is the fibroblast. This cell is responsible for the production of vital skin proteins and extracellular matrix materials like hyaluronic acid, and provides communication between cell types. 

Two of the main proteins produced by fibroblasts in the dermis are collagen and elastin. These two proteins help to provide structure to the skin and allow it to stretch and spring back. As we age our bodies produce less collagen and elastin leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. One of the best ways to reduce these signs of aging is to use a product that promotes fibroblast production of these vital proteins. Our Goji & Glycine Revitalizing Cream contains ingredients that have been proven to boost collagen and elastin production and help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

The dermis also contains different types of glands including sweat glands and sebaceous glands. Sweat glands are found all over the body and help to regulate body temperature. Sebaceous glands create an oily substance called sebum that helps moisturize the skin preventing it from drying out. While sebum is an important functional component of our skin, it can combine with dead skin cells and air pollutants to clog our pores. Regularly cleansing your skin with a gentle surfactant based cleanser like our Aloe & Agave Gentle Foaming Cleanser will help remove excess sebum, pollutants, and dead skin cells.  


Our skin insulates us and protects us but it can also be a very big insecurity. Understanding how your skin works will help you take steps to effectively improve your skin. At Viriskin, we truly believe that knowledge is power. We hope this information gives you the power to put your best face forward!