Epidermis 101

The epidermis is basically just a fancy word for your skin and the outer layer of your skin cells. In other words, it’s what you can see when you look at your body. This layer of skin is made up of flattened cells that repeat over and over again. Basically, the epidermis is there to keep your body and organs protected from different environmental factors. That’s why it’s waterproof, flexible, and arranged so tightly together. The tightly overlapping cells help block out different things from getting into your skin so, your organs stay protected.

What Is The Epidermis’ Purpose?

As mentioned above, the epidermis protects your body from different factors in your environment. Imagine for a second that you didn’t have skin. And, you walked around the city for a while on your lunch break. First of all, your organs would get hit with all the pollution, smog, and dirt particles around you. In addition to that, you’d be at risk for injuring your inner organs, because nothing is there to protect them if you get hit. Even if you rub up against another person, you could seriously hurt yourself.
Basically, the epidermis helps you live the normal life you’re used to. It keeps you protected from different things that could harm your organs and insides. Skin’s main job is to keep out pathogens. We all know there’s germs pretty much everywhere we are. But, usually the skin traps those germs on its surface layer, and they never make their way into the body. Basically, if you didn’t have the epidermis, you’d be sick all the time. Truly, without the epidermis as your line of defense, your body can’t keep out pathogens. But, the tightly laced cells of your skin are perfect at blocking them out.

Is The Epidermis One Layer?

The short answer is no. The epidermis is composed of 4 or 5 layers of skin, depending on where it is on your body. And, all of these layers hold different tissues and components that make up your skin. Basically, if the skin was one layer, you would be at danger of hurting yourself a lot more seriously. For example, say you scratch your skin. Well, if you only had one layer, you’d scratch yourself wide open. Thankfully, you have the thick outer layer made up of billions of overlapping cells to keep you safe.

Epidermal Layers

  • Cornified Layer – All of the layers of the epidermis look a little different and have different functions. First, you have the cornified layer, which is made up mostly of protein and keratin. And, you’ll find these types of cells most often on your palms and soles. On those areas of your skin, you have more cells for protection. Which is why you also have the clear translucent layer of skin around your palms and soles. It’s known as thick skin because this layer contains many cell layers to protect your hands and feet. Without that extra protection, you’d get hurt there often.
  • Granular Layer – Next, you have the granular layer, which is again made up of Keratin cells. This layer also contains a lot of fatty acids and ceramides. And, those things help keep your skin hydrated, since it has no blood supply. The only place skin gets nourishment is from the diffused oxygen in the surrounding air.
  • Spinous Layer – Next is the spinous layer, which is comprised of larger cells, lipids, and immunology cells. These help keep pathogens out of your organs. Finally, you have the basal / germinal layer. Here lies your melanin, and what gives your skin its color. And, this layer is most common around sensitive sites like lips and fingers.

Looking for ways to keep your epidermis the firmest?  Read our article on popular skincare techniques, or check out one of our many skin-friendly articles below.

Todd Ruggets
Todd Ruggets

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