The outer layer of the skin is called the epidermis. The epidermis is a protective covering for the body. Hair and nail follicles and sweat and sebaceous glands are found in the epidermis. The epidermis regulates the body temperature through the sweat glands which allow sweat to evaporate from the skin surface. The sebaceous glands and hair follicles work together so that the skin does not dry out. The glands produce oil which is absorbed by the epidermis, whilst the hair provides and extra form of protection.
The epidermis regularly regenerates itself by growing new cell layers. Various parts of the epidermis have different thicknesses and textures depending upon where it is located and the type of protection required. The feet and hands require a different and harder texture of epidermis as they grip and hold surfaces. The eyelids have the thinnest type of epidermis.
There are four to five layers that make up the epidermis. From the outer surface layer, the epidermis layers are namely, the cornified layer, the translucent layer, the granular layer, the spinous layer and the germinal layer.
The epidermis determines a person’s skin color through the distribution and amount of the melanin pigment present in the epidermis. Melanin is present in melansomes. The number, size and the manner in which the melansomes are arranged is different between racial groups. For the oriental and white skin types, the melansomes are found in aggregates. Whilst black skins have melansomes that are distributed evenly and appear larger.