Clone of Week 2 | Skin Anatomy and Function (15171-SP)

Illustration of the layers of the skin.

Content Outline

  • Structure & function of the skin
    • Epidermis: Average thickness is .1 mm. The stratum spinosum and basale are
      the germinative layers and source of new cells.
      •  Five layers
        • Stratum corneum (hornylayer)
        • Stratum lucidum (clearlayer)
        • Stratum granulosum (granularlayer)
        • Stratum spinosum (prickle-celllayer)
        • Stratum basale (basallayer)
    • Basement Membrane Zone
      • Lamina lucida
      • Laminadensa
    • Dermis
      • Provides nutrient supply to the epidermis
      • Twolayers
        • Papillary – the dermis is firmly attached to the epidermis through undulating rete ridges or pegs of the epidermis.
        • Reticular–dense network of collagen fibers
        • Dermal structures include: arteries, veins, capillaries, venules, lymph vessels, nerves, sweat and sebaceous glands, Meissner’s and Vater’s corpuscles, hair follicles.
      • Dermalproteins
        • Collage (typesI,V,VI) provides tensile strength
        • Elastin provides elasticity
    • Subcutis
      • The dermis merges into the subcutaneous layer anchored by connective 
        tissue strands.
      • Source of fat stores, mechanical cushion, and insulation.
    • Blood supply
      • Capillary pressures
      • Tissue vulnerability–skin vs. muscle and adipose tissue
    • Major Functions of Skin
      • Protection
      • Defense
      • Absorption
      • Secretion
      • Thermoregulation
      • Sensation
  • Environmental Skin Effects and Age Related Changes
    • Ultra-violet radiation exposure
    • Soaps
    • Factors affecting skin hydration
      • Medications
        • Steroids
        • Other - antimicrobials, antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, analgesics, oral contraceptives.
    • Fetal and young skin compared to adult and older skin
      • Connective tissue and cellular differences
      • Changes in skin layer thickness
      • Vulnerabilities associated with age (injury, absorption, separation of epidermal and dermal layers, dryness)

Objectives for Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course work the learner will be able to:

  1. Describe the layers of the skin, the significant structures within the skin and their
  2. Identify the six major functions of the skin.
  3. Compare and contrast changes in the skin across the life span.

Additional Information

Course summary

JoAnne Whitney, PhD, RN, CWCN, FAAN
Certified Wound Care Nurse; Associate Dean for Research, Professor, Biobehavioral Nursing and Health System, University of Washington School of Nursing; Research Scientist, University of Washington Medicine/Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, WA

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