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Created for Anatomy & Physiology students at Christian Life School

4 Major Cells of the Epidermis

Merkel cells
Langerhans cells


Deepest, produce keratin (tough fibrous protein) and help protect


Make dark skin pigment melanin; more is produced to fight off UV rays and to protect the nucleus

Langerhans cell

Branching macrophage-like cells that activate the immune response

Merkel cell

Associated with sensory nerve endings (sensory reception)

5 Layers of Thick Skin of the Epidermis

Because Soda Gives Lotsa Caffeine

Stratum Basale
Stratum Spinosum
Stratum Granulosum
Stratum Lucidum
Stratum Corneum

2 Layers of the Dermis


Papillary Layer of Dermis

Made of areolar connective tissue
Includes dermal papillae
Thicker on the hands and feet to help with gripping ability and increase friction

Reticular Layer of Dermis

"Reticulum" (network) of collagen and reticular fibers that give strength and resiliency and prevents damage
80% of dermis

How a fingerprint is formed

Dermal papillae lie on top of dermal ridges which elevate the overlying epidermis into epidermal ridges. The sweat from pores in these ridges leave "sweat films" on surfaces.

3 Major pigments of the skin and the colors they each give

Melanin--yellow to red-brown to black
Carotene--gives an orange-yellow color
Hemoglobin--gives a pinkish color

Why a person gets tan

A tan is created because melanin is produced rapidly to protect the DNA in the nucleus. By absorbing & dissipating energy as heat, melanin protects the nucleus from UV radiation. The more sun exposure, the more melanin is produced.

Dermal tearing

Stretch marks; produces silvery white scars when the dermis is torn


Occurs when the epidermis and dermis separate causing a fluid filled pocket

Freckles and moles

Local accumulations of melanin


Occurs when hemoglobin is poorly oxygenated & people have a bluish look to them


Redness; red color due to blushing, fever, hypertension, or allergy


Also known as blanching; paleness due to fear or anger


Yellow hue to skin due to liver producing too much bile and it gets to the blood


Metallic appearance of skin due to liver disorder, meds, iron disorder


Bruises; blood clots under the skin


Inability to produce melanin giving people a very pale (almost white) appearance


Partial or complete loss of melanocytes producing patchy white spots

Four types of Sweat Glands



Most numerous
Abundant on palms, soles of feet, forehead
Made of true sweat: 99% water, some salts, traces of waste
Functions to prevent overheating


Found in the axillary, anal and genital areas only
Begins to function at puberty
The organic molecules in these glands decompose with time and when mixed with bacteria causes odor


Found in ear canal.
Functions to secrete cerumen (earwax) that helps keep out foreign bodies


Found in breasts
Functions to secrete milk for babies

What occurs when a sebaceous gland becomes blocked?

When a sebaceous gland is blocked, a whitehead forms. When oxidation of the whitehead occurs, a blackhead is formed. This can lead to a bacterial infection causing acne (usually caused by staphylococcus bacteria).

Layers of hair



Contains large cells & air spaces (the more air the thicker the hair)


Surrounds medulla and is made of several layers of flat cells


Outermost layer of single overlapping cells


Cradle cap; occurs when an overflow of sebum causes lesions on a baby's scalp

Hair root

The part of the hair embedded in skin

Hair shaft

The part of the hair that projects from scalp (above skin surface)

Hair bulb

Deep end of the follicle that is below the skin surface; base of hair follicle

Root hair plexus

Hair follicle receptor; contains sensory nerve endings that wrap around each hair bulb

Root sheath

Two part covering of the hair root (bulb) made of connective & epithelial tissue

Hair matrix

Area on hair where cells are constantly dividing (causes hair growth)

Arrector pili

Smooth muscle that allows for movement of hair and makes hair 'stand up'

Three types of hair



Fine, short hair of children and adult females


Longer, courser hair in axillary and anogenital regions and all over male body


Fine hair covering of fetuses due to lack of fat


Excessive hairiness due to tumors in women


Spots of hair loss in both men and women

Male pattern baldness

When hair doesn't emerge from hair follicles before being shed

Nail Function

Help pick up objects, scratch an itch, and protect the nail bed

Nail Part Labeling

Free edge
Nail body
Nail root
Nail bed
Nail matrix
Nail folds

Integumentary System Functions

Peanut Butter Can Make Bob Excited
Protection--the skin contains chemical, physical, and biological barriers that defend against bacteria, viruses, and any other invaders.
Body Temperature Regulation--we sweat to cool off and shiver to keep warm and maintain homeostasis
Cutaneous sensation--our bodies contain cells that help feel a 'caress' or clothes on skin and protect us from injuring ourselves
Metabolic functions--skin allows us to help make Vitamin D, to disarm cancer-causing chemicals, and activate steroid hormones
Blood Reservoir--skin holds 5% of blood volume so when extra blood is needed, the dermis helps out
Excretion--skin helps rid body of wastes like salts, ammonia, urea, & uric acid

Basal Cell Carcinoma

*Most common skin cancer and least malignant
*Comes from the Stratum Basale
*Overexposure to the sun is the major cause of this and most types of skin cancers
*Those who work outside are at a greater risk
*Fairer skinned people are more susceptible
*Warning signs include: open sores that bleed or ooze; reddish patches on the shoulders arms, and legs; shiny bumps that are transluscent; pink growths
*Treatments include: removal of the area using local anesthetic; topical chemotherapy; radiation

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

*The second most common skin cancer
*Starts in the Stratum Spinosum
*Caused by chronic overexposure to the sun
*Rim of ear and lower lip are especially vulnerable
*Fair skinned people with lighter hair and light eyes are at a greater risk
*Warning signs include: wart-like growth that crusts and bleeds; a scaly, red patch of skin with irregular borders that may crust or bleed; open sores that crust or bleed for weeks
*Treatments include: several types of surgery to remove the affected area; radiation treatments

Malignant Melanoma

*Most serious form of skin cancer
*Accounts for 5% of all skin cancers
*It can occur anywhere that melanin is found
*Chronic sun exposure is a risk factor, as well as moles, fair skin, a family history, and a weakened immune system
*Moles, brown spots, and growths on the skin are warning signs
*Treatments include surgical excision when caught early, otherwise this cancer is fatal
*Use ABCDE's to check for melanoma

ABCDE's of Melanoma

A - Asymmetry - if the two sides of a pigmented spot do not match
B - Border irregularity - if the edges of a spot are scalloped or notched
C - Colors - if there are a variety of shades of color
D - Diameter larger than 6 mm or the size of a pencil eraser
E - Elevation - if the spot is raised at all

Degrees of Burns & what layers of skin are injured in each

First degree - epidermis is damaged
Second degree - epidermis and upper dermis are damaged
Third degree - injury to entire dermis and epidermis

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