Sun Care Professionals


Skin Structure

Epidermis Layer

The outermost layer of the skin is called the epidermis layer. There are no blood vessels in the epidermis but its deepest layer is supplied with lymph fluid. It is at its thickest on the palms of the hand and the bottom of the feet.

There are various layers of cells within the epidermis, the outermost is called the stratum corneum, (horny layer). The surface layer is composed of twenty five to thirty sub layers of flattened skin cells. These are constantly being cast of by friction and replaced by cell deep within the epidermal layers. This surface is classed as the protective layer of the skin. These cells are commonly called keratinised cells because the living matter inside the cell (protoplasm) is changed to protein (keratin) which gives the skin protective qualities. New skin cells are formed in the deepest layer of the epidermis called the stratum germinativum which gradually move towards the outer layers as the stratum corneum is shed.

Dermis or corium layer

The dermis is a tough and elastic layer containing white fibrous tissue interlaced with yellow elastic fibers, within this many structures are embedded in the dermis which include:

  • Blood vessels
  • Lymphatic capillaries
  • Sweat glands
  • Sebaceous glands
  • Sensory nerve endings

The arrectores pilorum (or arrector pilli), involuntary muscles are sometimes activated in cold weather to give “goose bumps”. Hair follicles, hair bulbs and the hair roots.

Hypodermis or subcutaneous layer

This is the deepest layer of the skin, and is located on the bottom of the skin diagram. It connects or binds the dermis above it to the underlying organs. This layer is mainly composed of loose fibrous connective tissue and fat (adipose) cells interlaced with blood vessels. In females, the hypodermis is generally about 8% thicker than in males.

The main functions of the hypodermis include insulation, storing of lipids, cushioning the body and its temperature regulation.

Skin Functions

  • Protects the body against physical injury
  • Protects the body against numerous pathogenic microbes and chemical agents
  • Helps restrict fluid and water loss
  • Helps to prevent excessive water absorption by imparting water resistance to the skin
  • Is involved in temperature regulation of the body
  • Is the body’s main sensory organ for temperature, pressure, touch and pain
  • Provides protection from UV light
  • Plays a key role in metabolism, including vitamin D synthesis and biotransformation (a series of chemical changes), lack of vitamin D can lead to soft bones (rickets)

Skin... the largest organ in the body!

The skin is a very complex and important organ (it is also the largest organ in the body) and therefore need to be protected from external and internal agents that can cause irritation allergic reaction and distress.

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