Wound Care (cont.)
The skin is a large sensory organ that interacts
with the environment, and sends signals to the brain about touch, pain, vibration,
There are two layers of skin that cover the body, the epidermis and dermis.
The epidermis is the outermost layer of skin, the part that can be seen, and
is very active with new skin cells being formed and gradually being shed. There
are different kinds of epidermal cells:
- Keratinocytes are the main skin cells
that we see. New epidermal cells begin where the epidermis and dermis meet.
These cells gradually mature and rise to the surface of the skin and are
eventually shed to be replaced by new ones. The epidermis has no blood vessels
and receives nutrition from the underlying dermis.
- Melanocytes contain pigment and provide
coloration to the skin and are responsible for absorbing radiation and
protecting against the damage caused by ultraviolet radiation.
- Langerhan cells are made in the bone
marrow and migrate to the surface of the skin and help fight infection.
- Merkel cells are specialized skin cells
that help with sensing light touch. They are located on the tips of fingers and
toes as well as other specialized areas.
The dermis is the deeper layer of skin. It has two layers that are
responsible for supporting the epidermis:
- The papillary dermis is a thin layer of
tissue located just beneath the epidermis and contains capillary blood vessels
and a few elastic and collagen fibers.
- The deeper reticular dermis contains
large bundles of collagen and elastic fibers that run parallel to the skin
surface. The collagen and elastic fibers are responsible for helping the skin
resist injury from shearing or other types of trauma, and allow the skin to
return to its resting state after being stretched or compressed. This
is the layer where hair follicles, sweat glands and sebaceous glands are found.
Subcutaneous fat tissue underlies the layers of epidermis and dermis and
provides extra cushioning for the skin. Beneath this layer lie muscle and bone.
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