The epidermis is the most superficial layer of the skin. The other two layers beneath the epidermis are the dermis and hypodermis. The epidermis is also comprised of several layers including the stratum basale, stratum spisosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum, and stratum corneum. The number of layers and thickness of the epidermal layer depends on the location in the body. For example, the epidermis that covers the heel region is much thicker than the epidermis that covers the eyelid.
The main cells of the epidermis are the keratinocytes. These cells originate in the basal layer and produce the main protein of the epidermis called the keratin. Other cells located in the epidermis are:
- Melanocytes (produce skin pigment)
- Langerhans’ cells (immune, antigen-presenting cells)
- Merkel’s cell (mechanoreceptors for light touch)
The main function of the epidermis is to protect the deeper tissues from water, microorganisms, mechanical and chemical trauma, and damage from UV light. In addition, the epidermis continuously makes new skin that replaces the old skin cells and produces melanin that provides skin color.
|Definition||Outermost layer of the skin|
|Layers||Stratum basale, stratum spisosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum, stratum corneum|
|Functions||Protection, skin regeneration, skin color|
Learn everything about the components of the integumentary system with the following study unit:
Epidermis: want to learn more about it?
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