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The Dermis

Skin Diagram75% of the dermis is made up of collagen. In healthy skin it is arranged in bundles in a "basket-weave" pattern, which provides the dermis with its strength and prevents tearing. Collagen decreases as the skin ages, therefore the skin becomes thinner and sags the older we are.

5% of dermis is elastin. Elastin maintains the skin's tension and extensibility. Elastin fibers decrease, fragment and loose their normal structure as the skin ages. In sun exposed skin, elastin increases, and becomes thickened and dysfunctional. Fibroblasts are the master cells of the dermis and are able to produce new collagen, elastin fibers and the dermal matrix when stimulated.

The Cosmetic industry has convinced us that skin ages as a result of skin dryness and that moisturisers re-hydrate the skin to restore a youthful appearance and reduce wrinkles. Unfortunately this is not true.

In order to treat and reverse skin ageing, we need to use treatments that have an effect on the dermis and the fibroblasts to stimulate new collagen and elastin production. That is because the major cause of skin ageing is collagen loss. Collagen loss is determined largely by our genetics, but excess sun exposure accelerates collagen loss and leads to premature skin ageing. Moisturisers only have an action on the epidermis and can make the skin feel softer by filling in the spaces between exfoliating skin cells. Moisturisers can exacerbate skin problems such as acne, rosacea, seborrhoea and clogged pores, and should be used with extreme care on acne prone skin.

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