Understanding the Layers of your Skin

Skin is the body’s first defence against disease and bacteria, it is also essential for maintaining the balance of fluids and regulating our body’s temperature. Skin is the body’s largest organ, covering 12-20 square feet and contributing to around a sixth of our body weight. Skins composition is made up of 70% water, 25%protein and 2% lipids.

Our skin is amazing. It allows us to feel sensations through a network of nerve cells that have separate receptors which detect environmental changes. This allows us to sense temperature, feel the softest touch to intense pain. Skin is a sensitive organ, and needs care to stay healthy.

Skin has three main layers: the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis, each layer has a different function.


The outer layer of our skin is called the epidermis. This layer protects us from the outer elements such as toxins and bacteria, it also protects against fluid loss. The epidermis has five sub layers. These layers are; the basal layer, prickle layer, granular layer, clear layer and horny layer. Each of the layers has a different role to play, the basal layer produces the keratinocyte cells.
In the prickle layer the keratinocyte will produce keratin. In the granular layer cells produce hard granules that push upwards and change into keratin and lipids. When cells reach the clear layer, they are compressed and flattened. The top layer, known as the horny layer, can have around 20 layers of dead cells. These cells are then shed by a process known as desquamation.


The middle layer of skin is the dermis. The dermis has two sub layers which makes a thick, elastic and firm middle layer. The bottom layer of the dermis is a deep, thick area that forms a fluid edge with the bottom layer (hypodermis). The top layer of the dermis has a wave like edge that borders with the epidermis.

The dermis is made up of collagen, elastin and connective tissue. It is this layer that give your skin strength and flexibility. This layer is rich in blood vessels that nourish the outer layer of skin, it is also this layer where hair roots are developed. Around the hair root, is the sebaceous glands.

Health Junta explain “Sebaceous glands are glands that produce oil in your body. They produce sebum which consists of fatty substance and cell debris. Apart from your palms and soles, sebaceous glands are found throughout the skin of your body. Generally sebaceous glands are situated in parts of your body that have hair.”


The bottom layer of skin is called the hypodermis, this is where skin stores it’s energy and insulates the body. The hypodermis is made up of adipocytes, collagen fibres and blood vessels. Adipocytes are fat cells, the number of adipocytes contained in the hypodermis varies on different parts of the body.

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