Anatomy of the Skin

We believe informed patients are better equipped to make decisions regarding their health and well-being. For your personal use, we have created an extensive patient library covering an array of educational topics, which can be found at right. Browse through these diagnoses and treatments to learn more about topics of interest to you or search by topic below.

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Dermatology Educational Resources

National Alopecia Areata Foundation

National Eczema Association

National Psoriasis Foundation

National Vitiligo Foundation Inc

American Vitiligo Research Foundation

Lupus Foundation of America

Hidradenitis Suppurativa Foundation, Inc.

International Pemphigus and Pemphigoid Foundation

International Hyperhidrosis Society

The Skin Cancer Foundation

American Cancer Society

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

American Academy of Dermatology

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Skin. It is the largest organ on the human body. It creates a protective layer against heat, light, the environment, injury and infection. It helps regulate the body's temperature; stores water, fat and Vitamin D; prevents entry of bacteria; and acts as a sensory organ. On average, an adult has between 18 and 20-square feet of skin, which roughly weighs six pounds.

There are three layers to skin:

Epidermis. This is the outer most layer that sloughs off dead skin cells and acts as a protective barrier against foreign bodies, infections and the sun. The epidermis also contains the cells (melanocytes), which are responsible for skin pigmentation.

Dermis. The middle layer of skin, the dermis houses hair follicles, sebaceous (oil) glands, sweat glands, capillaries (small blood vessels) and lymph vessels. It is held together by a protein called collagen. Sweat glands are part of the body's cooling system. The dermis also contains touch and pain receptors.

Subcutaneous. This is the deepest layer of skin containing larger blood vessels and nerves. It is made up of a network of collagen and fat cells and plays an important role in the manufacture of Vitamin D, protecting against injury and conserving body heat.


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