Skincare 101: Our Skin Structure

skin structure

Skincare 101: Our Skin Structure

Understanding how your skin is structured can make you more aware of how to care for it. Learn about the different layers in our skin to pinpoint the root of a skin problem!




Did you know our skin consists of three layers? There is the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of our skin. 


The dermis is the second most outer layer of our skin, and is where important regenerative elements reside – things like collagen, elastin are all produced in our dermis! So if you’re looking for results that aid skin firming and collagen rebuilding, all the good stuff in your skincare should be able to reach the dermis. Is this possible? Read on in our next post!


Lastly, there is the subcutaneous layer of our skin, which is the deepest layer of our skin and it contains blood, fat, lymph vessels, nerve cells, hair follicles and sweat glands. 


The epidermal layer consists of five layers:


The topmost layer is known as the Stratum Corneum. It is the layer of skin that we see. A healthy epidermis is essential to protect the deeper layers of our skin from stress, water loss, and other external elements.


The different layers of our epidermis (image from wikipedia)

The different layers of our epidermis


There are five layers in the epidermal layer:


  • Stratum basale: This is the innermost layer of the epidermis. At this layer, the cells, known as basal cells, continuously divide. This forces the older cells to move up to the upper layer of the skin where they are shed. Melanocytes, which give our skin its colour is also contained at this level.
  • Stratum spinosum: The spiny layer is next to the basal layer which consists of 8-10 layers of keratinocytes, from the cell division that happens in the Stratum Basale.  Its main function is to keep out foreign materials as well as retain our moisture levels. This is also the site where Keratinocytes create pre-keratin.
  • Stratum granulosum: In this layer, the cells become flattened out and take on a grainy appearance. Keratinisation (the process where keratinocytes cells accumulate a protein called keratin) occurs. Lipids and keratin are formed. 
  • Stratum lucidum: The stratum lucidum is a clear layer of dead skin cells found just before the outermost skin layer (stratum corneum). The stratum lucidum found only in thick, hairless skin (eg. palms and the soles of our feet). Did You Know? Thinner skin only has 4 layers, there is no stratum lucidum in thin skin!
  • Stratum corneum: It is the most superficial layer of skin, also known as the “horny layer”. There can be multiple layers of stratum corneum. This layer consists of dead skin cells filled with keratin – which helps skin stay waterproof and prevents microbial infection.


Now that you’ve learnt about how our epidermis works, find out what methods we can use to aid the penetration of skincare – after all, we don’t want that layer of goodness just sitting atop our skin, do we?


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Sue Lin

Sue Lin’s beauty inclinations include learning and trying out what’s new and innovative in the world of skincare and beauty.