How exactly is our skin put together and what are its functions? First of all, your skin consists of three skin layers. Each layer has its own function. For example, one layer protects against external influences and the other plays a role in regulating our body temperature. In this article we explain to you in detail how this works. Did you know that our skin is the largest organ in our body? Its surface area in adults can be as much as 1.5 to 2 square meters and covers 15 to 20% of the body weight.
Three layers of skin
Our skin consists of three layers of skin, namely: the Epidermis, the Dermis and the subcutaneous connective tissue. These three skin layers consist of several layers each and all have its own function.
The epidermis forms our outermost layer of skin which means that this is the layer you can see. It consists of 5 layers, namely: the Stratum Basale, Stratum Spinosum, Stratum Granulosum, Stratum Lucidum and the Stratum Corneum.
1. Stratum Basale
The Stratum Basale is a layer of stem cells in which cell division takes place of keratinocytes. We also get our skin color from this layer. This is because melanocytes produce melanin. (-> Melanin means pigment.)
2. Stratum Spinosum
The Stratum Spinosum is also called the spiny layer. The cells in this layer have lost their water and are no longer round in shape, but star-shaped with protuberances. That typifies the name of this skin layer. The Stratum Spinosum also contains Langerhans cells, which are part of our immune system.
3. Stratum Granulosum
The cells in this skin layer have a granular structure and is therefore also called the granular layer. This layer of our skin ensures that pathogens are blocked and no infection can take place.
4. Stratum Lucidum
This layer is also called translucent layer because of the fact that in this layer, there are only dead skin cells located. These dead skin cells are held together and transported to the Stratum Corneum.
5. Stratum Corneum
The top layer of the skin is the Stratum Corneum. This layer consists of dead skin cells and has a protective function. The Stratum Corneum protects us from bacteria or other external influences. The dead skin cells can also peel off, so that new skin cells can come on top. This is called dermal desquamation.
The Dermis contains our middle layer of skin and is a layer of connective tissue that lies beneath the epithelium of the skin. The Dermis contains sweat glands, hair roots, sebaceous glands, blood and lymph vessels, sensory cells and nerve endings. Changes in touch, temperature and pain are perceived through the free nerve endings.
Subcutaneous connective tissue
The subcutaneous connective tissue, in Latin Subcutis, is the last layer of the three layers of our skin. This layer is below the Dermis and consists mainly of connective tissue, fat cells, nerve fibers and blood vessels. The function of this skin layer is primarily to protect the body and serves as a storage place for energy and excess fat. Did you know that the fat cells in this skin layer also contribute to the regulation of our body temperature?
The subcutaneous connective tissue is everywhere on your body except for your eyelids, nipples, genitals, and shin. Here you can see that the skin is very thin. For men, the subcutaneous connective tissue is found mostly around the abdomen and shoulders where as for women, it is below the waist and around the thighs, hips and buttocks.