Structure of The Skin

The skin is the largest organ of the body, and accounts for 12-15% of our total body weight.

There are three layers to the skin:



  1. The Epidermis – This is the outer layer of the skin. It is composed of multiple layers, which perform multiple functions. New cells are produced in the basal (bottom) layer and travel upward as newer cells are produced underneath, and are eventually shed by the body. The basal layer also contains cells that produce melanin, a pigment that is absorbed by the dividing cells to help protect them from sun damage.
  2. The Dermis – This is the middle layer of the skin. It contains blood vessels that supply nutrients to and remove wastes from cells in the basal layer – two critical processes for the active growth of healthy skin cells. It also contains a variable amount of fat, as well as collagen and elastin fibers to provide elasticity and flexibility. A network of nerves in this layer give us our sense of touch, allowing us to detect heat, cold, pressure, and pain.
  3. Hypodermis – Also known as the subcutaneous layer, this is the bottom layer of our skin. This is where the body stores its fat, and it varies in thickness in different areas of the body. This layer also contains our hair follicles.


Did You Know?

  • Your body has about 300 million skin cells and 21 square feet of skin.
  • There are two types of skin: hairy skin and glaborous skin. Glaborous skin is found on areas like the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. Hairy skin is found everywhere else.
  • It takes anywhere from 52 – 77 days for a cell to travel upwards from the basal layer of the epidermis before it is finally shed at the surface. This is one of the reasons why it takes so long to see noticeable results from many treatments and skin care products.
  • Humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour – about 1.5 pounds a year! By 70 years of age, the average person will have lost 105 pounds of skin!
  • Each square inch of skin has approximately:
    • 20 hairs.
    • 30 sebaceous glands (which produce sebum, the skin’s natural oil).
    • 200 sweat glands.
    • 6.4 feet of blood vessels.
  • There are 45 miles of nerves in the skin of every human being.
  • Seventy percent of the dust in your home consists of shed skin. Yet another reason to be sure to use moisturizer every day!