Epidermis

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Drawing of skin structure

Description

The outermost, nonsensitive layer of skin in an animal or a plant. Epidermis, or cuticle, covers the middle dermis (cutis, corium) layer while the innermost layer is known as the hypodermis (subcutis). In humans, the epidermis is composed of four layers, which are (from the outside):

1) a layer of dead, horny, flattened cells that form a continuous membrane,

2) a layer of oily transparent cells,

3) one or more layers of granular cells and

4) a layer of rounded pigmented cells.

The epidermis provides protection from water, sunlight, dirt, bacteria, and other potentially dangerous materials. In dehairing processes, the epidermis is attacked by enzymes or alkalis.

Epidermis

Synonyms and Related Terms

epithelial cells;

Additional Information

M.Florian, D.Kronkright, R.Norton, The Conservation of Artifacts Made from Plant Materials, Getty Conservation Institute, 1990.

Sources Checked for Data in Record

  • Hermann Kuhn, Conservation and Restoration of Works of Art and Antiquities, Butterworths, London, 1986
  • Mary-Lou Florian, Dale Paul Kronkright, Ruth E. Norton, The Conservation of Artifacts Made from Plant Materials, The Getty Conservation Institute, Los Angeles, 1990
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998