Function of Epidermis, superficial layer

You’re Epidermis, it’s the layer of the skin you can see.

It sits on top of the dermis, which I discuss here.

The epidermis was once considered a superficial shell.

But new discoveries about the psychological processes in the skin, have found it to be so much more.

Function of the Epidermis

There are many changes that occur deep within the epidermis.

These changes are due to the following factors:

These are just some of the things, that directly impact the function of epidermis and the health of this highly metabolic layer.

This includes the barrier function and acid mantle.

All of which, play an important role in skin rejuvenation.

Anatomy of the Epidermis

The epidermis is predominantly made up of cells known as keratinocytes.

These lovely new cells are created at the junction, between the epidermis and the dermis.

When they are ready, they begin a month long journey towards the top of the epidermis, our outermost layer of skin.

When they begin this journey, they are plump and healthy.

As they start to move towards the skins surface they begin to break down, they become flat and hard and begin to fill with a tough protein known as keratin.

What is the reason, our cells start to change in structure.

They become flat, hard and layered to give our skin its waterproof covering.

They do this to protect us from the outside world, preventing absorption of many substances through the skin and potential viruses and bacteria.

What happens to the cells, when they finally reach the surface?

Once at the surface they start to shed, this is a continuous cycle as new cells move towards the surface.

Whilst 95% of these cells are there to make way for new cells, there are around 5% that contain melanin which helps to determine our colour, the darker the skin the more of these cells there are.


A little known fact, is that the interaction between cells in the epidermis and cells in the dermis is so strong, that cells within the dermis actually influence the way the epidermis functions.

This regulates its ability to create healthy new cells and clearer skin.

The article a guide to the physiology of the skins layers, contains some interesting facts on the epidermis.

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