Doctor Eshani Karu MD
Eshani Karu, MD Pomona, California
Melanin, Keratin, Sunburn, Melanoma
The Hypodermis is our third layer of skin found below the epidermis and dermis, although the "purists" will tell you that the hypodermis is not technically considered skin. They hypodermis has a few technical scientific terms - subcutaneous layer - superficial fascia layer - but at the end of the day the Hypodermis is made up of blood vessels, veins, arteries, capillaries, connective tissue and fat, which technically are called adipose tissue. The Hypodermis has a layer of fat that is there to help keep our body protected from the heat and cold; it gives us padding to protect us from hits, bumps and bruises; and, through the fat it is a storage unit of energy that if and when we are in the middle of the somewhere lost and no food is to be found, a place to help us get through the day.
The Hypodermis is where our dieters find their fat. Adipose tissue that is found in the hypodermis is made up of fat storage cells this the energy reserve we talked about in the above paragraph. Hopefully for you and I our beautiful faces do not have an abundance of adipose tissue in our own Hypodermis, but the right combination to protect us from the elements.
The Hypodermis is also where the color of our skin is controlled. The color of our skin is determined by the combination of our skin pigments that are made up of melanin, carotene and hemoglobin. Melanin is found throughout the stratum basale in the Epidermis. The melanin through the miracle of life goes from the epidermis keratinocytes by something called a melansome. Now we don't want to be all that technical on this page, but what is important to learn is that melanin is very important in determining whether we are light skin or dark skin individuals.
We are talking about melanin and the Hypodermis because our skin color and our protection from the sun's Ultraviolet Light (UV) is all tied to melanin. UV light causes melanin to be made and it builds up in keratinocytes (keratin), as the sun stimulates a chemical reaction to make melanin. The lag time between UV light and the production of melanin is about 10 days, which is why skin will get sunburn after an initial exposure of too much sun. If one gets too much sun it will eventually lead to wrinkles and the harm or destruction of our skin's cell structure. Side note: if our melanin build up is not normal, we get freckles. And when melanin gets out of control and irregular, skin cancer (melanoma).
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