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The skin is divided into three district layers:


Epidermis is the outer layer of the skin and compromised of stratified, squamous keratinised
The epidermis approximately 0.04 mm thick and is avascular. The epithelium is continnually
being replaced as outer cells are worn away; this process taken approximately 4 weeks
(Briyant, 1987).
According to Van De Graff & Fox (1986), the epidermal layers are:
1. stratum germinativum is the deepest layer and is also known as the statum basale or
basal layer. Melanocytes are found in the stratum germinativum and these cells
synthesis melanin and are mainly responsible for skin tones, athoug carotene or
carotenoids are responsible for yellow tones in some individuals 9Wysocki & Bryant,
2. Stratum spinosum is also known as the pricky layer because of the morphological
characteristics of the layer. Lagerhans cells are found in this layer and reactive
lymphocytes in the epidermis in response to an antigen (Hill, 1994). This
immunological response is thought to be implicated in skin graft rejection.
3. Stratum granulosum is the middle layer of the epidermis whic is also known as the
granular layer.
4. Stratum lucidum is only found un the thicker layers of the epidermis such as the palm
of the hand and soles of the feet. It is a transparent layer with no visible nuclei.
5. Stratum corneum is the outr layer of the epidermis and is also known as the horny
layer. It is a thickened flattenetkeratinised layer with extreme resistance to thermal,
chemical,and mechanical force.
Basement Layer
The basement layer is an acellular, non-vascular and non-innervated membrane that
separates the stratum germinativum and the dermis. It is semi permiable membrane that
regulates the transfer of proteins and other materials such as oxygen and nutrients across the
dermal-epidermal juction.

The dermis is the factorry of the skin. It is approximately 0.5 mm thick and is divided into
two layers.
1. Papilllary layer lies under the epidermis and is one fifth of the dermis thickness.the
function of this latter structure are to secure the eoidermis to the dermis at the dermalepidermal juction. The capilaries in the papillary layer suplay the epidermis with
nutrients and oxygen via the basement menbrane (Wysocki & Bryant, 1992).
2. Reticular layer lays below the papillary layer and is attached to the hypodermis. It is a
thick, tough and flexible layer that can stretch to accomodate increases in weight.
The dermis is very vascular and contains nerve endings, lymphatics nd dermal proteins
(collagen and elastin). Two main plexues of nerves found in the dermis are responsible for
vasomotor and pilomotor control and eccrine sweat production.
There are several sensory receptors found in the dermis and these sensory receptors and their
functions are:

Meissners corpuscle-texture and the anatomical site touched.

Krrauses bulb-cold sensation
Ruffini terminals-heat senation
Pacinian corpuscle-predominately vibration and deep pressure.
However thera are also receptors for heat, cold, pain, pressure, itch and tickle.

The hypodermis, or subcutaneous layer, is the thickest layer of the skin. It is the main supprt
framework for the skin and is an attached and protective layer for the underlying organs and
structures. It is composed of adipoe and connective tissue and blood vessels, other functions
are temperature regulation and storage of lipids (Van De Fraff & Fox, 1986).
Appendages of skin
Appendages of skin are compromised of eccrine and apocrine sweat glands, sebaceous
glands, hair and nail.
a. Eccrine sweat glands open directly onto the skin and are responsible for thermoregulation.
b. Apocrine sweat lands are activated at pubescence and they empty into hair follicles.
Body odour can result when the viscous solution is delivered to the skin and the
resident skin bacteria interact. The apocrine glands are found in the axilla, anogenital
region, external auditory canal and mammary areola.
c. Sebaceou glands also empty into the hair follicle duct and are found in all skin except
palm of he hands and soles of the feet. Sebaceous glands secret sebum, which also

play a vole in vitamin D synthesis. They are very active during adolescenence and
their activity decreases with ageing.
d. Nail are compose of keratin and are continually being regenerated, although their rate
of growth is depent on nutrient and oxygen supply. The angle at cutaneous-nail
junction is normally 160 degrees. The nail is approximately 0. To 0.65 mm thick.
e. Hair is composed of the protein keratin and each hair is comprised of a root, a shaft
and a follicle. Lanugo is the fine hair that can be found on forehead, buttocks, pinnals
of ears and back in the newborn infants. Adult have two type of hair: vellus and
terminal. Vellus hair is short, fine and not easily visible (on the face woman).
Terminal hair is thicker, longer, pigmented and is found on the scalp, legs, pubic and
chest and face of man.

Function Of The Skin

1. Protection, this refers to the protection of underlying structure from: mechanical,
chemical, thermal trauma, invasion of pathogens, dehydration.
2. Sensation. Cutaneous receptors responds to stimuli such as pain, heat, cold, touch,
pressure and vibration. This is a sensory system for both plesure and defence.
3. Communication. Personal communicaion occurs in response to changes in skin
colour, facial expression and body odours, the latter from sweat and sebaceous glands.
4. Thermoregulation in an important function of the skin and occurs via:
a. Radiation of heat from blood vessels
b. Excretion and evaporation of sweat
c. Convection and conduction of heat
d. Insulation by hair and subcutaneous tissue
5. Metabolic synthesis involves melanin, keratin and vitamin D (Van De Graff & Fox,
6. Cosmesis is an important psychosocial consideration in wounding and wound healing.