Covering an average total area of 20 square feet of the human body, the skin is known to be the largest organ of our body. It is the organ responsible to frontline the body and primarily protect the internal organs from the different elements of the outside world. The skin is also responsible for regulating body temperature, as well as feeling coolness or heat, or the sense of touch. But do you know the structure of skin and the responsibility of them?

How Many Layers of Skin Are There?

The skin has a big responsibility in protecting the body and the internal organs. The fragility of internal organs means that one layer of skin alone is not enough. Thus, the skin has actually three main layers and each has sub-layers. Each one has a responsibility together to ensure that the body is protected from outside elements.

The three main layers of skin are the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutis. Let’s take a deeper look into these layers and learn what their roles are.

The Epidermis

The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin and the one visible to the eye. On some areas of the body, like the eyelids, the epidermis is thin, while it is thick on other areas of the body. The epidermis’ main function is to primarily protect and frontline the body from outside elements. It has cells that are part of the immune system to help one fight away viruses and germs. The epidermis is also responsible for giving color to the skin and makes new skin cells. Its sub-layers and functions are:

  • Basal Cell Layer. This layer contains basal cells which are responsible for reproducing and renewing skin cells. This layer also has melanocytes which produces melanin, the pigment that gives skin color.

  • Squamous Cell Layer. This layer is above the basal cell layer and is the thickest layer of the epidermis. This is where the matured basal cells are stored together with Keratinocytes, a type of protein that makes up hair, nails and skin.

  • Stratum Granulosum and Stratum Lucidom. As the basal cells move upward towards the outermost layer of the skin, it also flattens and dries out, thus repeating the process of skin cell reproduction. This layer is where the basal cells flatten and dry out.

  • Stratum Corneum. This is the outermost layer of the epidermis. This is where the dead skin cells shed and is replaced with new skin cells from the basal cell layer.

The Dermis

The Dermis is the next layer of the skin and where most of the skin action takes place. The dermis has the most responsibility among the three layers of skin and it is also the thickest of the three major layers, which is approximately 90 percent of the thickness of the skin. Among the major tasks of the dermis are making sweat, making oil, growing hair, making you feel the touch and regulating blood to your skin. The dermis is also responsible for regulating skin temperature which resonates throughout the body. It also supplies the epidermis with blood for the cell reproduction. A great percentage of the body’s water supply is in the dermis layer.

The dermis layer, as the layer with the most responsibilities, contains the most concentrated structures and functions of the skin, which include:

  • Sweat Glands. Sweat glands in the dermis make sweat come out in skin pores. Sweating secretes unwanted stuff in the body.

  • Hair Follicles. The dermis is where hair roots are and is responsible for giving goose bumps.

  • Blood Vessels. Blood is fed throughout the body through the blood vessels in the dermis.

  • Lymph Vessels. Lymph contains infection-fighting cells that are stored and travel through the lymph vessels in the dermis.

  • Sebaceous Glands. Sebaceous glands secrete oil that helps in keeping the skin smooth and protects skin from bacteria.

  • Collagen and Elastin. Collagen and Elastin are types of protein that gives the skin strength and elasticity, protecting it from injuries.

  • Nerve Endings. Nerve endings transmit the feeling of touch and pain.

The two sub-layers of Dermis are:

  • Papillary Layer. The papillary layer operates with an extensive vascular system that is the same with vascular systems on other parts of the body. The control of the blood in this layer decides whether heat should be dispelled, thus deciding whether the body should feel hot or cool. The papillary layer also gives nutrients to selected parts of the epidermis.

  • Reticular Layer. The reticular layer is the thicker sub-layer of the dermis and is consisted of collagen fibers. This layer is the one responsible for giving the skin strength and elasticity. It gives the general structure of the skin. The reticular layer supports major skin functions such as growing hair follicles, supporting functions of sebaceous glands and sweat glands.

The Subcutis

Among the layers of skin, the subcutis is the innermost layer. It mainly consists of collagen cells and fat. The subcutis is also referred to as the hypodermis. This layer’s major tasks are to act as an insulator and conserve body heat. It is also the layer most responsible for protecting the body’s inner organs, thus it is referred to as a shock-absorber. The subcutis also reserves energy through fat. The subcutis is the layer attaching the dermis, muscles and bones and nerve cells and blood vessels that are in the dermis layer grow in this layer and get bigger.

So now you know protecting your skin and its layers at all times is so important and want to know tips of keep your skin healthy? Watch the video below to learn that.


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