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Your skin is an organ that protects you from germs and infections. It is made up of water, protein, fat, and other substances. Each layer of skin serves different purposes. Some of these functions include conserving body heat, allowing you to feel pain, and protecting important organs inside your body.

What Is Skin?

The largest organ in your body is your skin, which is made up of:
  • Water
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Chemicals
  • Minerals.
The role of your skin is to protect you from germs and infections. In order to do this, it is made up of three layers, which include:
  • The epidermis, which is the outer layer
  • The dermis, which is the middle layer
  • The hypodermis, which is the inner layer.

The Epidermis Layer

The epidermis, which is the thinnest layer, is responsible for protecting you from harmful things in the environment. The epidermis is made up of five layers.
Several types of cells are found in the epidermis, all of which have different jobs. These cells include:
  • Those that produce the main protein (keratin) found in the epidermis. Keratin is the strongest protein in the skin.
  • Those that produce the pigment that gives your skin its color.
  • Those that prevent unwanted substances from entering your body. These cells are called Langerhans cells.

The Dermis Layer

The dermis is mostly made up of two proteins: collagen and elastin. While collagen gives your skin support and makes up about 75 percent of your skin, elastin allows your skin to stretch and then return to its normal shape. The dermis, which is located just below the epidermis, is the layer where your skin's blood vessels, hair follicles, and oil glands are found. The dermis also contains different kinds of cells and the nerve endings that allow you to feel pain and touch.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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