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Epidermis – Function, Layers, Diagram

The skin is made up of two layers namely dermis and epidermis. Epidermis is the upper layer of the strata that make up the skin. Squamous cells make up most of the epidermis and they are flat scale-like cells. Beneath the squamous cells, there are round cells known as basal cells. In addition, melanocytes are found deep in the epidermis and they are cells responsible for producing melanin.

The inner layer of the skin called dermis consists of blood and lymph vessels as well as glands and hair follicles. The glands in dermis layer help in producing sweat that regulates the body temperature. They also produce an oily substance called sebum, which keeps the skin moisturized. Pathological changes can occur in epidermis and subcutaneous tissue and they cause conditions such as eczema, acne, and psoriasis.

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Epidermis/skin disorders

Common skin diseases have microscopic appearance but a biopsy is often not obligatory since diagnosis can be made clinically. Histological diagnosis may not be specific and this is because inflammatory skin disease may have overlapping symptoms and the appearance could easily be altered by the chronicity of the disorder or an attempt to treat them.

Acne is one of the skin disorders and it is a chronic inflammatory condition of the sebaceous gland and the hair follicle. It affects the face, thorax as well as the back. Girls aged 14 to 17 and boys between 16 and 19 are more susceptible to acne condition. In the development of acne, there may be increased production of sebum by the sebaceous gland.

The sebaceous canal may also be hyper-keratinized and this results to obstruction. Microflora development may occur and this creates an obstruction, which prevents the excretion of the oily sebum. All these aspect lead to dilation of the canal and microcysts may form. These may be referred to as whiteheads if they are deep down and blackheads if they are on the surface.

Psoriasis is another common skin disease and it causes rapid buildup of cells on the skin surface forming silvery scales, which are thick. The skin appears itchy with red, dry patches and may be sometimes painful. It is a chronic disease with some episodes of remission when the symptoms subside and other times it worsens. Although there is no cure, the treatment can offer relief.

Symptoms of the condition include small scaling spits, red patches with silvery scales, itching, soreness and a burning sensation. There are also swollen and stiff joints and the skin may remain dry, cracked and at times bleeding.

Eczema is group of conditions that causes the skin to swell and become irritated. Atopic dermatitis is a common type of eczema. In the US, eczema affects about 10 to 20 percent of infants and about 3 percent of adults. Regardless of the part, which the condition affects, it is always itchy.

Rashes may occur in face, wrists, back of the knees, feet and hands. The affected parts are dry, itchy and scaly. The cause of this condition is not clearly understood but it is thought to arise from overactive response from the immune system on irritant substances. Families with a history of developing allergies are also susceptible to this condition. Some patients may suffer flare-ups within the itchy rashes.

Rosacea is another skin ailment and it causes pimples and redness on cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. The redness may appear and go and the condition may be confused with acne in adults because it causes outbreaks that look like acne. This is why it is sometimes referred to as adult acne.

The condition can also cause soreness and burning sensation on eyes and eyelids.

There are other conditions, which affect the sub-epidermal layer, and they include lichen planus, bullous pemphigoid, and granuloma annulare. Lichen planus is characterized by scaling of papules or plaque and causes melanin incontinence as well as liquefaction degeneration of basal layer. Bullous pemphigoid is a prominent blistering disease that affects the sub-epidermal layer and causes sub-epidermal blister.

Treatment of epidermal/skin conditions

Treatment of epidermal diseases and conditions varies depending on the disorder and severity of the problem. Most of the skin diseases attain different appearance at various stages of development. The appearance may also be altered by attempted treatment and some secondary changes such as infections and scratching.

Psoriasis is incurable and medications are aimed at reducing the severity of the symptoms. Tropical treatments are applied directly to the skin by rubbing. Some of the medication for psoriasis includes salicylic acid and steroid-based creams.

If you suffer from eczema, the treatment is aimed at relieving and preventing itching since it can open up the skin causing infections. Lotions and creams are applied because the disease makes the skin dry and itchy. Keeping the skin moist can prevent it from breaking. Cold compresses may also be applied to relieve itchy condition. Over the counter medications like hydrocortisone cream and ointments with corticosteroids may be prescribed.

Treatment of acne will depend on its stage of development. For mild comedonal acne, which occurs in teenagers and young people, it can be treated with traditional tropical gels such as retinoid. Oral antibiotics may also be combined with retinoid. In essence, it is very important to consult your doctor when you have a skin condition in order a proper diagnosis and tests to be done. This will ensure that the right treatment is offered.

Epidermis Pictures

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