Structure and Function of the Skin

Structure and Function of the Skin


The skin is a soft outer covering of the human body and is the largest organ of the body.


  • Sensation – it has a variety of nerve endings, which respond to temperature, pressure and pain.
  • Protection – it is a layer that protects the body from external pathogens.
  • Storage – lipids and water are stored in the skin.
  • Thermoregulation – heat can be loosed through dilation of blood vessels to the skin and secretion of sweat from sweat glands. Heat is preserved by constriction of blood vessels to keep the warm blood away from the skin.

Structure of the skin

Epidermis is the outermost layer, it is the protective barrier. There are no blood vessels in the epidermis, so its cells receive nutrients via diffusion from capillaries in dermis. It is stratified squamous epithelium containing basal and suprabasal keratinocytes.

Basement Membrane is the layer between Epidermis and Dermis. The basement membrane allows for transport of cells and molecules between the two layers.

Dermis is the layer that contains connective tissue and is elastic so cushions the body from stress. It contains several nerve endings that are responsible for providing sense of touch and heat. This layer contains hair follicles, sweat glands, sebaceous glands, apocrine glands and lymph and blood vessels.

Subcutaneous layer is not part of the skin, but it’s below the dermis. It attaches the skin to the underlying bone and muscle. It contains elastin and loose connective tissue. The cells in this layer are fibrocytes, macrophages and adipocytes. 50% of the body fat is stored in this layer.

Amir Cosmetics Founder, Adiato Baldé

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