The Skin: (Structure of the Human Skin) Functions and Importance Explained

The Skin: (Structure of the Human Skin) Functions and Importance Explained

Generally speaking, the skin refers to the outer body layer or covering of any animal, but technically, it is the outer layer or covering of any animal with a backbone (vertebrate).

The skin has a well-formed structure that is present in all vertebrates which include: reptiles, human, birds, to mention a few. In this article, I will focus on the human skin. 
There is one point to note, it is that the skin, (whether of human or fishes, or reptiles), is a protective field against some level of damage (whether natural or synthetic damage).

The crocodile, for instance, has a very tough outer skin layer that makes it a hard nut to crack for predators of the wild.

In humans, the outer skin layer is like a waterproof that protects the skin from unhealthy reactions and skin related diseases and it is important to keep the skin protected from any harmful 4,660 substance, both natural and synthetic alike. 

Below are subtitles to be discussed under this article: 

1. Structure of the skin; 

a. The Skin 

b. Epidermis 

c. Dermis 

2. Structures rooted in the skin; 

a. Nails 

b. Hair 

c. Glands 

Structure of the Skin 

Structure of the Human skin

The Skin 

The skin is the protective layer of the human body that is essential for human survival. The skin forms a barrier that prevents harmful components (micro-organism and chemicals) from entering the body.

The skin is built in such a way that every of its component, has its special role to play.

The skin is life itself, it breaths, feeds and excretes just like its host (the body). Just as humans can’t survive long without moisture (water: the source) so does the skin.

The skin needs water for rejuvenation of the body, to clean the skin, and to protect its natural oils from dying off thereby causing dryness and breakage of skin tissues.

Chemicals on the other hand, gradually weaken the skin thereby causing problems of all sorts to the body. The skin helps to regulate the body temperature and the beautiful function of the various types of specialized nerve cells signals to the body its need.

The skin is the largest body organ with the quality beauty of renewing itself constantly (through shedding off and renewing of itself, notably seen in snakes) and the amazing ability to repair itself after an injury.

This is why you should feed your skin with the right amount of care it needs for healthy and beautiful survival. with these helpful Six skin care beauty tips for a natural and ageless look, you are sure of having a beautiful age defying skin even as you age.

The Epidermis 

The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin (The one you can see and touch) it is a tough protective layer of the skin, it is lighter than the Dermis.

The Epidermis is a protective shield to the Dermis layer and other important parts such as the layer of tissues that is composed of protein fibers and adipose tissue.

The Epidermis is the most protective part of the skin, thanks to its tough, fibrous protein property (Keratin). 

Melanocytes are cells that produce dark pigments called Melanin and are found scattered among keratinocytes. This pigment gives color to the skin and is responsible for protecting the skin from harsh effects from sunlight.

You see, Melanin is very important to the skin and body, in general, that is why we must ensure absolute care and caution to the skin.

No use of harsh chemicals in body care products should be allowed into the skin; also, protective measures against the scorching effects of sunlight should be considered and implemented because exposure to the sun increases the melanin production in any skin color type.

The outcome of this is good and bad in some cases. It is good because when the melanin production increases, the skin is protected from harm. It is bad to some because the increases in melanin production result in the darkening of the skin tone.

This is why most people resolve to skin bleaching procedures instead of using healthy body food (in skin care products etc) with sunscreen. 

There are other cells contained in this layer of the skin, they include: 

a. Langerhans cell: it is a type of immune cell produced in the bone marrow. Langerhans cells help cells recognize potentially harmful micro-organisms and chemicals. 

b. Merkel cells: it functions as a touch receptor, mostly found in sensitive areas such as the lips and fingertips where hairs are unlikely to grow. 


The dermis is the lower layer of the skin that is richly supplied with blood vessels and sensory nerve endings. Unlike the epidermis, the dermis contains few cells.

The dermis is known for its main component called collagen and elastin.

Collagen in the dermis is responsible for the skin’s strength while elastin gives the skin its elasticity, the ability to return to its shape after stretching. Both collagen and elastin are produced by protein cells called fibroblast. 

We do have upper and lower layers of the dermis. Collagen and elastin are protein cells contained in the upper layer of the dermis, while on the other hand, COARSE collagen and elastin are contained in the reticular layer otherwise known as the lower layer of the skin.

The coarseness of the reticular layer of the skin makes it conducive for the formation of hair follicles, nails, and glands rooted in the skin. 

Structures Rooted in the Skin 

In humans, there are amazing structures rooted in the skin, they are: 

a. Nails 

b. Hair 

c. Glands 


Nails are made of keratin-filled epidermal cells and are hard in nature, made to be inflexible and stiff. They have incredible functions of helping us scratch, pinch, grasp small objects.

On other animals like lion, they help to tear their prey and to scratch as well. For crocodiles, they are used to dig holes to lay and bury their eggs.

For moles, nails are used to dig their way to hiding and safety from predators and sunrays. Nails grow as epidermal cells below the nail root and transform outwards into hard nail cells that accumulate at the base of the nail. 


The hair is basically composed of keratin. A visible white lump that you see at the root end of a plucked hair called “the bulb”, feeds the root of the hair.

Hair grows upward from the root through the skin to the surface of the skin, the portion of hair found above the skin is known as shaft while the one below the surface of the skin is the root.

When hair grows upwards from its root and bends into the skin instead of outwards to the surface, there is a problem, this is when one is said to have ingrown hairs.

Ingrown hairs grow ugly and lumpy on the skin and make you uncomfortable.

One of my slogan that I swear by is this; “there is a solution to every problem” including ingrown hair issues. These problems are either preventive or solutions to the problem(s) in question. 

every hair strand grows from its own follicle and at the bottom of each follicle lies a sort of nutrient pot (the bulb).

The bulb as described above contains cells that give rise to keratinocytes that produce the hair. The bulb also contains blood vessels that give nourishment to the hair. 


Glands are several groups of cells that are produced in the lower layer of the dermis, they secrete substances needed by other parts of the body. An adult human has between 1.6 to 4 million sweat glands otherwise known as sudoriferous glands.


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