The skin consists of three layers of tissue: the epidermis, an outermost layer that contains the primary protective structure, the stratum corneum; the dermis, a fibrous layer that supports and strengthens the epidermis; and the subcutis, a subcutaneous layer of fat beneath the dermis that supplies nutrients to the skin.
The human skin is the outer covering of the body and is the largest organ of the integumentary system. The skin has up to seven layers of ectodermal tissue guarding muscles, bones, ligaments and internal organs. Human skin is similar to most of the other mammals’ skin, and it is very similar to pig skin. Though nearly all human skin is covered with hair follicles, it can appear hairless. There are two general types of skin, hairy and glabrous skin (hairless). The adjective cutaneous literally means “of the skin” (from Latin cutis, skin). Because it interfaces with the environment, skin plays an important immunity role in protecting the body against pathogens and excessive water loss. Its other functions are insulation, temperature regulation, sensation, synthesis of vitamin D, and the protection of vitamin B folates. Severely damaged skin will try to heal by forming scar tissue. This is often discoloured and depigmented. In humans, skin pigmentation (affected by melanin) varies among populations, and skin type can range from dry to non-dry and from oily to non-oily. Such skin variety provides a rich and diverse habitat for bacteria that number roughly 1000 species from 19 phyla, present on the human skin.
The integumentary system is the set of organs forming the outermost layer of an animal’s body. It
comprises the skin and its appendages, acting as a physical barrier between the external environment and the internal environment that it serves to protect and maintain the body of the animal. The integumentary system includes hair, scales, feathers, hooves, and nails. It has a variety of additional functions; it may serve to maintain water balance, protect the deeper tissues, excrete wastes, and regulate body temperature, and is the attachment site for sensory receptors to detect pain, sensation, pressure, and temperature.
The ectoderm is one of the three primary germ layers formed in early embryonic development. It is the outermost layer, and is superficial to the mesoderm (the middle layer) and endoderm (the innermost layer).
It emerges and originates from the outer layer of germ cells. The word ectoderm comes from the Greek ektos meaning “outside”, and derma meaning “skin”. Generally speaking, the ectoderm differentiates to form epithelial and neural tissues (spinal cord, peripheral nerves and brain). This includes the skin, linings of the mouth, anus, nostrils, sweat glands, hair and nails, and tooth enamel. Other types of epithelium are derived from the endoderm. In vertebrate embryos, the ectoderm can be divided into two parts: the dorsal surface ectoderm also known as the external ectoderm, and the neural plate, which invaginates to form the neural tube and neural crest.
 The surface ectoderm gives rise to most epithelial tissues, and the neural plate gives rise to most neural tissues. For this reason, the neural plate and neural crest are also referred to as the neuroectoderm.
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