What makes up the skin?

Skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis (outer layer), dermis (middle layer) and hypodermis (innermost layer). 

The epidermis, protects our skin from infection. It is continually making new, and shedding old, skin cells. 

The dermis is full of collagen and gives skin its firmness. It helps us feel sensations such as heat, cold and pain. 

The hypodermis is made up of fat and connective tissue. It’s what connects our skin to the bone and muscle beneath it. 

Our skin is covered in pores, which, as well as being the home to hair follicles, allow sweat and sebum (natural oils) from the sebaceous glands to travel up to the skin’s surface. This allows the skin to hydrate itself.³

Why is skin so important?

The skin is the largest organ in the human body. As well as performing a number of functions that are vital to health, such as temperature regulation and insulation, skin plays a key role in preventing water loss and protecting us against bacteria that cause disease. 

   What is normal skin?

  • Top layer keeps irritants out and locks moisture in
  • Built like a brick wall from corneocytes (bricks) and lipids (mortar)
  • Corneocytes retain water to stop gaps forming
  • Keeps itself hydrated through natural oils (sebum)
  • Not too dry or too oily

   What is eczema?

  • Defects in the skin barrier allow moisture out and infection in
  • Severely itchy, sometimes with cracked, blistered or bleeding skin
  • Appears on face, back of knees, wrists, hands and feet
  • Skin is dry, thick, red and scaly
  • Can be hereditary


Download our poster eczema v. normal skin

   What is dry skin? 

  • Rough, red, dry patches that itch and feel tight and stretched
  • Affects arms, hands, lower legs, abdomen, ankles, soles of feet
  • Not as painful as eczema
  • Doesn’t present as cracking, blisters or sores
  • May be the result of over-bathing or showering in hot water

   What is contact dermatitis? 

  • Rash caused by something your skin comes into contact with
  • Two types: irritant and allergic
  • Irritants include soaps, detergents, chemicals and plants
  • Allergens include nickel, cosmetics, preservatives and rubber
  • Most commonly affects hands
  • Causes redness, stinging, burning, soreness and scaling

   What is psoriasis? 

  • Red, flaky, crusty patches of skin with scales
  • Caused by increased production of skin cells
  • Linked to problems with the immune system
  • Not contagious
  • Often runs in families

   Did you know..?

  • If you were to stretch out the skin of the average adult it would cover 22 square feet 
  • Every minute of the day we lose about 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells from the surface of our skin ¹
  • 1 in 5 children and 1 in 12 adults suffers from eczema in the UK ¹¹
  • The thickest skin is found on your feet and the thinnest on your eyelids ¹²
  • It takes up to 6 months for babies to develop their skin tone ¹³
  • 4/5 teenagers get some form of acne ¹
  • The skin renews itself every 28 days ¹
  • There are at least five types of receptors in the skin that respond to pain and touch ¹
  • 1 in 3 people with psoriasis has a relative with the condition ¹
  • Each square centimetre of skin contains 70cm of blood vessels, 55cm of nerves, 100 sweat glands and 230 sensory receptors. ¹