What Is The Structure Of Skin & What Are Its Primary Functions?

We are now starting a new series of articles on ‘Skin Care’. Let us understand in depth; the basic structure of our skin and its various functions.

Going ahead we will cover a wide range of topics such as characteristics of the skin, various skin types; how to take care of each type of skin, what should be the basic skin care routine, specific skin care regimes for each type of skin, skin care for different age groups, home-made cosmetic care for various types of skin and so on.

Structure Of Human Skin

Skin is made of three layers, the outer epidermis, the middle dermis followed by hypodermis.


  • Epidermis forms the outer layer of the skin.
  • It is composed of dead cells.
  • New cells are formed at the base of this layer.
  • Newly formed cells then move up-wards to the surface and after certain time wear off.
  • Melanin cells that give skin its dark color are also present in this layer.


  • The dermis (middle layer) is the true skin.
  • It is made up of elastic fibers that form a support system to the skin.
  • Major ageing process of the skin takes place in this layer.
  • The oil glands, sweat glands and major portion of hair follicles are located in the dermis.
  • The sweat glands eliminate water-soluble cellular waste.
  • Oil glands prevent dryness and chapping of skin.


  • The hypodermis or fatty layer influences the quality of our skin.
  • Excess fat and water retention stretches skin and excess loss in weight causes the skin to sag.
  • Hypodermis acts as shock absorber to protect bones.
  • Hypodermis gives the body its shape.

What Are The Primary Functions Of Skin?

  • Skin is a protective layer of the body that covers the internal organs.
  • It eliminates water and toxic waste products from the body. Aggravated acne, dull complexion and swelling all over the body are results of poor elimination.
  • The skin breathes to a small extent. It exhales Carbon-dioxide and eliminates unwanted gases.
  • The skin maintains temperature of the body inside. It does not change with the outside temperature.
  • The skin is lubricated with its own oily sebaceous material. Moisture level of skin is maintained by discharging perspiration.
  • The skin allows certain substances to pass through its tissues.
  • The nerve endings under the skin help us react to sensation. It helps us experience pleasure, heat, cold and pain.

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