MadSci Network: Anatomy

Re: Is there a difference in skin structure

Date: Wed Jan 23 01:56:38 2002
Posted By: Maria Tileli, Undergraduate, BSc Biomedical Science, University of Westminster
Area of science: Anatomy
ID: 1007487578.An

Dear Dalonna,

As you know,the skin is the largest organ of the body. It is our major interface with the environment and is composed of specialized epithelial and connective tissue cells.These specialized cells have many protective and synthetic functions.
Functions of the skin acts as a barrier against such things as water loss/entry, chemicals, bacteria and fungic as well as against minor trauma.
In detail,our skin is made of two distinct regions each composed of sublayers:

1) The superficial region is called the epidermis which literally means "upon the dermis"- dermas is the Greek word for skin-.This superficial region varies in thickness across the body's surface. Thick skin covers the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and the fingertips and thin skin covers the remainder of the body's surface. The outermost epdermal layer is the stratum corneum, which is continually sloughed off and regenerated.

2) The deeper layer of the skin is called the dermis. It contains two loosely organized regions known as the papillary area and reticular regions. These regions resist tearing and provide the skin with elasticity so that our wrinkles are minimized. ( Thank goodness for this wrinkle resistant region! )
Beneath the dermis is the subcutanous fat (hypodermis), a thermal barrier and mechanical cushion which varies in thickness from person to person and in various anatomic sites.

Why this difference in thickness? Just think of all the rough treatment you give these thick skinned areas!

hope this helped


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