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Skin Anatomy

 

 

Skin Anatomy Diagram


Skin Anatomy - By Hopkins


A basic understanding of skin anatomy is important when explaining the process of skin biopsy. Each component of the skin plays a role in its daily function, therefore every component is a source of vital information that can be captured and assessed with a skin biopsy.

Below are a few of the basic components of skin followed by a brief description their functions.

Hair - Hair serves a protective role in the skin. On most locations of the body, hair offers a protective covering, which regenerates on a regular basis. In some places, hair serves as a filter (such as in the nose and ears), a moisture and heat retention mechanism (such as the armpits and genital region), and in the middle ear it serves as a mechanism for regulating balance. Each hair follicle (in the hairy parts of the skin) is attached to a muscle, the arrector pili (see Arrector Pili for more information).


Stratum Corneum - This is the dead skin layer that is visible when you look at your skin. It functions to protect the living cells beneath by providing a hard barrier between the outside world and the delicate cells inside. The stratum corneum is useful for diagnosis because in some conditions the stratum corneum will become thinner than normal.


Epidermis - The epidermis is the next layer under the stratum corneum. Its function is to protect the body. It produces cells that will eventually become stratum corneum cells. It contains sensory nerves specifically small diameter sensitive temperature fibers. It is these sensory nerves that are helpful when evaluating a skin biopsy.


Sensory Nerves - These are the nerves that innervate the epidermis. These nerves are the subject of evaluation when examining a skin biopsy after it has been immunostained. The sensory nerves in the epidermis serve to sense and transmit heat, pain, and other noxious sensations. When these nerves are not functioning properly they can produce sensations such as numbness, pins-and-needles, pain, tingling, or burning. When evaluated, characteristics of the nerve such as total number, contiguity, diameter, branching, swelling, and overall health are taken into consideration.


Dermis - The dermis is the next layer under the epidermis. The dermis contains all of the other sub-epidermal structures mentioned below. Dermis is characterized by loose, ribbon-like cells that hold dermal structures in place and serves to contain fluids.


Arrector Pili Muscle - This is a tiny muscle that attaches to the base of a hair follicle at one end and to dermal tissue on the other end. In order to generate heat when the body is cold, the arrector pili muscles contract all at once, causing the hair to "stand up straight" on the skin. The arrector pili muscle is a source of information when evaluating a skin biopsy since it is well-innervated with autonomic nerves that control when the muscle contracts. These autonomic nerves are also visible when the skin biopsy is immunostained.


Sebaceous Glands - These structures are associated closely with hair follicles because they produce an oily substance that coats and protects the hair shaft from becoming brittle.


Sweat Glands - These glands produce moisture (sweat) which is secreted through tiny ducts to the surface of the skin (stratum corneum). The moisture serves as a cooling agent by making the surface of the skin moist. This moisture then evaporates and lowers the temperature of the skin.


Basket Cells - These structures surround the base of hair follicles and serve as pressure sensors. They are a source of valuable information when assessing overall nerve health and condition.


Blood Vessels - These structures carry vital nutrients and oxygen-rich blood to the cells that make up the layers of skin and then carry away waste products. Often, the blood vessels are in close proximity to collections of nerve bundles in the dermal and subdermal layers.

Waskington State Uni Explains:-


The skin is the largest organ of the body, with a total area of about 20 square feet. The skin protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold.

Skin has three layers:

The epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.


The dermis, beneath the epidermis, contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
The deeper subcutaneous tissue (hypodermis) is made of fat and connective tissue.


The skin’s color is created by special cells called melanocytes, which produce the pigment melanin. Melanocytes are located in the epidermis.

Skin Conditions

Rash: Nearly any change in the skin’s appearance can be called a rash. Most rashes are from simple skin irritation; others result from medical conditions.


Dermatitis: A general term for inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis (a type of eczema) is the most common form.


Eczema: Skin inflammation (dermatitis) causing an itchy rash. Most often, it’s due to an overactive immune system.


Psoriasis: An autoimmune condition that can cause a variety of skin rashes. Silver, scaly plaques on the skin are the most common form.


Dandruff: A scaly condition of the scalp may be caused by seborrheic dermatitis, psoriasis, or eczema.


Acne: The most common skin condition, acne affects over 85% of people at some time in life.


Cellulitis: Inflammation of the dermis and subcutaneous tissues, usually due to an infection. A red, warm, often painful skin rash generally results.


Skin abscess (boil or furuncle): A localized skin infection creates a collection of pus under the skin. Some abscesses must be opened and drained by a doctor in order to be cured.


Rosacea: A chronic skin condition causing a red rash on the face. Rosacea may look like acne, and is poorly understood.


Warts: A virus infects the skin and causes the skin to grow excessively, creating a wart. Warts may be treated at home with chemicals, duct tape, or freezing, or removed by a physician.


Melanoma: The most dangerous type of skin cancer, melanoma results from sun damage and other causes. A skin biopsy can identify melanoma.


Basal cell carcinoma: The most common type of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is less dangerous than melanoma because it grows and spreads more slowly.


Seborrheic keratosis: A benign, often itchy growth that appears like a “stuck-on” wart. Seborrheic keratoses may be removed by a physician, if bothersome.


Actinic keratosis: A crusty or scaly bump that forms on sun-exposed skin. Actinic keratoses can sometimes progress to cancer.


Squamous cell carcinoma: A common form of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma may begin as an ulcer that won’t heal, or an abnormal growth. It usually develops in sun-exposed areas.


Herpes: The herpes viruses HSV-1 and HSV-2 can cause periodic blisters or skin irritation around the lips or the genitals.


Hives: Raised, red, itchy patches on the skin that arise suddenly. Hives usually result from an allergic reaction.


Tinea versicolor: A benign fungal skin infection creates pale areas of low pigmentation on the skin.


Viral exantham: Many viral infections can cause a red rash affecting large areas of the skin. This is especially common in children.


Shingles (herpes zoster): Caused by the chickenpox virus, shingles is a painful rash on one side of the body. A new adult vaccine can prevent shingles in most people.


Scabies: Tiny mites that burrow into the skin cause scabies. An intensely itchy rash in the webs of fingers, wrists, elbows, and buttocks is typical of scabies.


Ringworm: A fungal skin infection (also called tinea). The characteristic rings it creates are not due to worms.

Note: All these skin conditions can be cured with Aromatherapy Skincare that you can make at home.

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