Your skin

This guide is about dermaroller: a form of treatment which is used to regenerate the skin thereby causing it to look younger and fresher.

Before you look at dermaroller treatment find out more about the structure and function of the skin in this section of the guide.

This is particularly useful if you have suffered skin damage as a result of prolonged exposure to the sun or have acne scars and are thinking about using a dermaroller.

This section will help you to understand about the way the skin works in regard to tanning or how the sweat glands cause acne.

What is ‘skin?’

To start with, the skin is the largest organ in the human body which covers around two metres (or 6.56 feet). It is comprised of several layers of tissue which protect the internal organs, muscles, bones and tendons. It also contains thousands of hair follicles.

The skin layers include:

  • Epidermis
  • Dermis
  • Hypodermis (also known as subcutaneous tissue)


This is the outer layer of skin which acts as a form of protection against the elements, diseases and infections. It is mainly comprised of dead skin cells, melanin and a chemical called ‘ergosterol’. Ergosterol is responsible for producing Vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight.

The process of shedding dead skin cells works as follows: live skin cells are located in the bottom part of the epidermis and these rise up through the five inner layers to the top part of the epidermis. Once there they are then shed as dead skin cells. This process is called ‘keratinisation’.


This is the next layer of skin, underneath the epidermis. It contains blood vessels, hair follicles, nerve endings and sebaceous glands. It acts as a barrier against external stresses as well as enabling the sensations of heat and touch. This layer also contains two types of sweat glands: eccrine glands and apocrine glands. One set of glands produces a clear, salty sweat which escapes onto the surface of the skin. The other set releases a thick, greasy type of sweat which emits a strong odour after contact with bacteria.


This is not technically a layer of skin but it is in fact a layer of fat cells which connects the skin to the bones and muscles lying underneath. It also supplies nerves and blood vessels to that area.

This layer is comprised of connective tissue which contains two proteins that are particularly important in regard to dermaroller treatment. These proteins are collagen and elastin which help give skin its flexibility and strength.

These are discussed in more detail in the dermaroller treatments section.

Skin colour

Skin colour is determined by a pigment called melanin. The colour of skin is determined by the amount of melanin with the lightest skins containing the least amount through to dark skins (which contain the most).


Melanin is also responsible for our ability to get a tan: if you tan very easily then you will have a greater amount of melanin compared to someone who is fair skinned. A fair skinned person has a much smaller amount of melanin in their skin. Many people spend long periods of time in the sun or on sunbeds in the hope of obtaining an all over tan but fail to understand the potential long term damage to the skin.

Sun damaged skin can be treated using a dermaroller.


The colour of the skin denotes a person’s ethnicity, for example a white skin denotes a Caucasian person whereas a black skin denotes someone of African-Caribbean descent.

These variations in skin pigmentation have occurred for evolutionary reasons, usually as a form of adaptation to intense sunlight. But they may have developed for a variety of other reasons such as a protection against changes in temperature, the risk of infection or as a form of sexual attraction.

Function of the skin

The skin acts as a form of protection against changes in temperature, e.g. hot or cold, bacteria, germs and viruses and excess water loss (i.e. sweating).

It also controls the sensation of touch and core body temperature. Plus it absorbs Vitamin D via sun exposure which is essential for strong bones and a healthy immune system. The skin also has self healing properties, for example, the formation of scar tissue over a cut, graze or wound. Whilst this is a highly effective process for minor cuts or grazes, in severe cases it can result in discoloured, unsightly scar tissue which may cause long term problems.

A major function of the skin is temperature regulation. The skin contains numerous sweat glands which produce a clear, acidic fluid on the surface of the skin. This fluid or sweat acts as a cooling device in that it lowers the temperature of the body and prevents overheating.

Note: there are some people who suffer from a condition called ‘hyperhidrosis’ in which they sweat to excess. This occurs for no good reason and is caused by a variety of factors. If you think that you may have hyperhidrosis then find out more about this condition in our complete guide to excessive sweating.

Skin types

There are different types of skin which are as follows:

    • Normal
    • Dry
    • Oily
    • Sensitive
    • Combination


Normal skin is the ideal type of skin to have. It means a healthy, smooth looking skin which has a youthful appearance. There are very few problems with this type of skin.


This type of skin is clean looking but has a tendency to flakiness and tightness after cleansing. It shows the signs of ageing more readily than a normal skin, for example the development of lines and wrinkles, and has a dull coloured tone.


This is a problem type of skin. It has a greasy looking appearance and is prone to blackheads, spots and acne. This skin has a ‘shiny’look on the forehead, nose and cheeks and a dull, coarse tone.

This is caused by an excess of sebum –a substance produced by the sebaceous glands which helps to lubricate the hair and the skin.


This is a dry type of skin which is prone to irritation, spots/rashes and scaly areas. It becomes dry and tight very easily and can often feel prickly or itchy.

The sensitive nature of this skin means a great deal of care and attention to prevent any of these afflictions.


This is self-explanatory: it means a type of skin which is both dry and oily and requires treatment which is targeted at those problem areas. A common example of this is dry skin on the cheeks but oily skin on the forehead and nose.

Other functions of the skin

These include sexual attractiveness, removal of toxins, enables substances such as medicines to be absorbed into the body and a control system for fluid loss.

To put it simply; the skin performs a vital role which is often underestimated. A healthy skin contributes to both our physical and mental wellbeing but this is compromised once a problem occurs.

This is why it is important to look after your skin and to maintain it on a regular basis. There are various ways of doing so which include a good skincare routine and cosmetic treatments such as dermaroller.

The ageing skin

There is not much you can do about an ageing skin as this process is inevitable. Until scientists devise a way of stopping the ‘march of time’we have to look at ways of slowing this process down and minimising the effects on our bodies and skin.

The skin is unfortunately, a very visible reminder of ageing. Lines, wrinkles, crow’s feet and liver spots (age spots) all develop over time and are a sign of wear and tear, accumulated during that time.

So, if you have led a wild, excess fuelled lifestyle in your youth then do not be surprised if the signs of this hedonism are reflected on your skin. Also remember that smoking ages the skin which is just one of several health risks linked to this habit. Plus there is the undeniable fact that our skins become thinner and fragile looking as we age. It becomes less effective at repairing itself and starts to sag.

This is due to a degradation of collagen and elastin over time which reduces the elasticity and strength of the skin. This causes it to lose volume and durability.

The skin also develops a rough looking texture and shows signs of discolouration.

Plus the skin can show signs of ageing due to prolonged sun exposure. There are people who exhibit this as a result of excessive sunbathing over a number of years which has damaged their skin. This damage can increase their risk of skin cancer as well as their chronological age.

A tan may be seen as a sign of youth and attractiveness but there can be a heavy price to pay for this.

What can go wrong with your skin

So apart from ageing which is a natural function, what else can go wrong with your skin?

There are several problems which occur due to external factors, e.g. excess sun exposure or genetic tendency.

These include:

  • Overactive immune system which causes outbreaks of skin rashes such as psoriasis or eczema.
  • Viruses such as herpes simplex
  • Excessive washing/cleaning which removes too many oils from the skin, leaving it dry and tight.
  • Central heating or spending time in hot, humid climates causes dry skin.
  • Puberty: fluctuating hormones often cause acne in adolescents, especially boys. This can also cause greasy skin as well.
  • Blocked sebaceous glands can cause acne and other similar conditions.
  • Permanently dilated blood vessels in the skin which give a hot, flushed facial appearance. This is known as ‘rosacea’.
  • Failure to shed dead skin cells, e.g. those from the scalp, which leads to dandruff.
  • Thick, protruding types of scars know as ‘keloids’ which have a disfiguring effect on the skin.

These are the most common type of skin problems. Many of these conditions such as acne, sun damage and scar tissue can be treated with a dermaroller.

The skin is also a good indicator of a person’s state of health. If you feel tired, out of sorts or depressed then this will be reflected in the condition of your skin. A pale, drawn type of skin can be the sign of an underlying problem as is a skin rash, flushed appearance or dry, scaly skin.

If this is the case then consult your GP.

Myth or reality?

Many people used to think that eating greasy food such as chips or high fat, sugary products such as chocolate would cause greasy skin but this is not the case.

If these people were teenagers who often consume these types of foods then it is logical to assume this but the most likely cause of their greasy skin is hormones rather than fast food.

This is not to say that it is impossible but it is more a case of an old wife’s tale rather than a hard, scientific fact. Many of the conditions mentioned in the ‘what can go wrong with your skin’ section can be treated with dermaroller. Find out more about how it does this in our dermaroller procedure and dermaroller treatments sections.

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