Epidermis: Functions and Types of Cells in the Outermost Layer of Skin


Structural material; single layer of cells that protect upper and lower surfaces of leaf

Epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin. It is made up of several layers of epithelial cells that help protect the body against external environmental effects such as ultraviolet radiation and mechanical damage. The epidermis also helps to regulate body temperature through sweating and the production of sebum, a type of oil that prevents dehydration.

The epidermis is thinnest on the eyelids, and thickest on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. There are four main types of cells in the epidermis: keratinocytes, melanocytes, Langerhans cells and Merkel cells.

Keratinocytes are the most abundant cells in the epidermis, making up approximately 90% of the total cell population. They produce the protein keratin, which helps to form a protective barrier on the skin surface.

Melanocytes produce the pigment melanin, which gives color to the skin and helps to protect against ultraviolet radiation.

Langerhans cells function as part of the body’s immune system, helping to recognize and destroy foreign substances in the skin.

Merkel cells are involved in the sense of touch and help to transmit information about tactile sensations to the brain.

Overall, the epidermis plays a critical role in protecting the body from external stress factors and maintaining overall skin health.

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