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The epidermis is the outer layer of skin cells. It plays a protective role against the attacks which the body has to constantly face, day and night.
Daily assaults of the epidermis
You probably never noticed, but the environment is hostile to the human body! Air, water, heat, extreme cold, but also ultraviolet rays, pollution or germs constantly attack it. In this context, the skin permanently fights to maintain the equilibrium established with the body.
Structure of the epidermis
To play its role as a barrier, the epidermis has a special structure. It is composed of three types of cells:
- Keratinocytes, cells which contain lipids as well as keratin, which is also found in the hair and nails
- Melanocytes, which produce the skin pigment called melanin
- Langerhans cells, which participate in the functioning of the immune system
- The epidermis consists of 5 layers. The deepest layer, which is not in contact with the exterior, continually produces new cells – this is the famous process of cellular renewal.
The life of the epidermis
The epidermis is covered by a little film consisting of perspiration, lipids and sebum. Produced in part by the cells of the epidermis, this helps to fight against bacteria and the drying out of the skin.
The cells of the deep layer displace themselves until they reach the surface of the epidermis where they evolve and from where they detach, taking away with them germs and particles.
With the passing years, the activity of skin cells diminishes. The epidermis, a real barrier, tires and becomes less effective.