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Histology, microscopy, anatomy and disease
Histology, microscopy, anatomy and disease

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1.2 Histology of the skin

The skin is the first tissue we’ll examine in more detail from a histological perspective.

The outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, is formed by epithelial cells (see part (a) of the diagram below). In this case the epithelium is a multi-layered stratified structure, and its thickness depends on where on the body the skin is located.

Beneath the epidermis lies the dermis, which contains sweat glands, sebaceous glands that produce an oily secretion to lubricate the skin, and hair follicles. A number of cell structures are found in this layer of the skin, as illustrated in the figure. The nerves end in various sensory organs in the dermis, and they innervate the muscle which is attached to the hair.

Described image
Figure 2 Structure of the skin showing the various types of cells and tissues: (a) epithelial cells in the epidermis; (b) connective tissue; (c) muscle; (d) epithelial cells lining the duct of a sweat gland; (e) adipose tissue below the dermis.

Take a few moments to familiarise yourself with the overall arrangement of the structures in the skin.