Skin is one of the body's largest organs with a surface area of approximately 1.8-2.0 (square) meters and weighing 12-15% of the body's total weight. Skin is a vital member of the integumentary system, doing its duty to protect the body from harmful external factors. The skin is an expert at protecting our body from bacteria, harmful chemicals and regulating body temperature.
Your skin is comprised of 3 major layers.
1. Epidermis is the most superficial layer of skin. The levels of thickness vary depending on the area of the body, the thinnest is on the eyelids and the thickest is the palms of the hand and heels of the feet. The epidermis contains five layers.
a. stratum basale
b. stratum spinosum
c. stratum granulosum
d. stratum licidum
e. stratum corneum
The deepest layer stratum basale is comprised of column like cells being pushed upward into the upper layers. As the cells make their journey toward the most superficial layer they become flatter due to the breaking down of the nuclei. Eventually, these cells die and become the statum corneum (the skin that we see).
2. Dermis is thicker than the epidermis and is comprised of only living cells. The dermis also varies in thickness depending where it is. Three different types of tissue are found in the dermis: collagen, elastic tissue and reticular fibers. Blood capillaries, hair follicles, sweat glands, nerve endings and receptors are all found in this middle layer of skin.
3. Subcutaneous Tissue is the deepest layer of skin. It is a layer of fat and varies in thickness from person to person and is the home to larger blood vessels and nerve endings. This layer of skin is responsible for temperature regulation and protects the inner organs upon external impact.
Due to the complexity of the skins structure if there is a dysfunction with any layer a rash, spot, irritation, dryness, discoloring or inflammation may occur.
By Worldwide Health Editor
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