The science behind your skin’s amazing sensory power

As the largest external organ, your skin acts as a vital barrier between the internal workings of your body and the outside world. It actively safeguards you from the bacteria, temperature extremes, and chemical exposures that could do you harm.

It also enables skin perception allowing you to feel sensation and communicates this with your brain so you can experience exactly what’s going on around you.

The skin’s sensory power puts it in the same category as your eyes and ears, but how do the receptors that make your sense of touch possible really work?

Here we dig deeper into the skin’s sensory receptors and how complementing them with the right products can boost skin quality, condition, and function.

Understanding the skin

The skin consists of three layers. The epidermis is the outer layer and goes much deeper than what the eye can see.

The epidermis itself consists of five sublayers which slowly rise in the ranks to replace upper layers as dead skin cells shed.

The dermis comes next and it’s here you’ll find your sweat glands, connective tissues, nerve endings, oil glands, hair follicles, and lymph vessels.

This middle layer provides a vital source of support for the skin’s structure thanks to its collagen and elastin content.

The final and deepest layer is the hypodermis, also known as the subcutis or subcutaneous tissues. This layer has a particularly vital, protective part to play as Verywell Health reveals:

“The thickness of this layer varies depending on where it’s located on the body—for example, it’s thickest on the buttocks, the soles of the feet, and the palms of the hands.

Subcutaneous tissue is a vital component of body temperature regulation. It also acts as a cushion, so if you ever fall or hit something with your body, it protects your insides and makes the injury hurt less.”

Find out more about the skin’s structure by reading our guide to understanding the layers of your skin.

The sensory receptors

You’ll find the all-important sensory receptors of the skin in the dermis along with the nerves, blood vessels and lymph vessels, although deeper elements of these receptors are found in the hypodermis. These sensory receptors transmit sensations of pain, pressure and touch.

The Meissner’s corpuscles and Pacinian corpuscles are just some of the cells classed as sensory receptors, whilst free nerve endings can also be defined in this way.

There’s a series of special sensory receptors that are found in specific locations within the skin, this includes the retina in the eye and taste buds in the mouth.

Many of the sensory receptors in the skin have specific roles. The Pacinian or lamellar corpuscles for example are receptors for deep pressure, while the Meissner’s corpuscles relay feelings of touch.

Optimising your skin’s sensory power

Healthy, nourished skin is better functioning skin, which means your skin’s sensory and perceptive abilities will be helped no end by a good skincare routine.

The skincare products you use have the power to disrupt or bring balance to skin function. Products that contain emulsifiers, alcohol and artificial fragrances strip your skin of its ability to function at its best. And so does bombarding your skin with toxins and harsh treatments.

By using skincare products that are natural, organic, unprocessed and fluid, you can help the skin function better.

Our skincare products actively improve from within to make your skin healthier and beautiful – a fact that means you can feel and appreciate so much more in life even as the seasons change and your skin faces tougher environmental challenges.

Image: Nadya Lukic /