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Facts about the skin:
The skin is the body's largest organ, covering the entire outside of the body and weighing approximately six pounds. In addition to serving as a protective shield against heat, light, injury, and infection, the skin also:
Throughout the body, the skin's characteristics vary (i.e., thickness, color, texture). For instance, the head contains more hair follicles than anywhere else, while the soles of the feet contain none. In addition, the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands have much thicker layers.
The skin is made up of the following layers, with each layer performing specific functions:
|epidermis||The epidermis is the thin outer layer of the skin. The
epidermis itself is made up of three sub-layers:
The epidermis also contains melanocytes, which are cells that produce melanin (skin pigment).
|dermis||The dermis is the middle layer of the skin. The dermis is made
up of the following:
The dermis is held together by a protein called collagen, made by fibroblasts (skin cells that give the skin its strength and resilience). This layer also contains pain and touch receptors.
|subcutis||The subcutis is the deepest layer of skin and is also known as the subcutaneous layer. The subcutis, consisting of a network of collagen and fat cells, helps conserve the body's heat while protecting other organs from injury by acting as a "shock absorber."|