3. Anatomy and Organization of Human Skin

  1. Tony Burns MB, BS, FRCP Emeritus Consultant Dermatologist3,
  2. Stephen Breathnach MA, MB, BChir, MD, PhD, FRCP Consultant Dermatologist4,5,
  3. Neil Cox BSc, MB, ChB, FRCP(Lond & Edin) Consultant Dermatologist Visiting Professor6,7 and
  4. Christopher Griffiths BSc, MD, FRCP, FRCPath Professor of Dermatology Consultant Dermatologist8
  1. J. A. McGrath MD, FRCP Professor of Molecular Dermatology1 and
  2. J. Uitto MD, PhD Professor and Chair2

Published Online: 6 MAY 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444317633.ch3

Rook's Textbook of Dermatology, Eighth Edition

Rook's Textbook of Dermatology, Eighth Edition

How to Cite

McGrath, J. A. and Uitto, J. (2010) Anatomy and Organization of Human Skin, in Rook's Textbook of Dermatology, Eighth Edition (eds T. Burns, S. Breathnach, N. Cox and C. Griffiths), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444317633.ch3

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Leicester Royal Infirmary, Infirmary Square, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK

  2. 4

    St John's Institute of Dermatology, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust, St Thomas' Hospital, Lambeth Palace Road, London SE1 7EH, UK

  3. 5

    Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, Epsom, Surrey, UK

  4. 6

    Department of Dermatology, Cumberland Infirmary, Carlisle CA2 7HY, UK

  5. 7

    University of Cumbria, Carlisle CA1 2HH, UK

  6. 8

    The Dermatology Centre, University of Manchester, Salford Royal Hospital, Salford, Manchester M6 8HD, UK

Author Information

  1. 1

    St John's Institute of Dermatology, King's College London (Guy's campus), London, SE1 9RT, UK

  2. 2

    Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology, Jefferson Institute of Molecular Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, 233 South 10th Street, Philadelphia PA19107, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 MAY 2010
  2. Published Print: 22 MAR 2010

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405161695

Online ISBN: 9781444317633



  • human skin - largest organ;
  • human skin - anatomy and organization;
  • role of skin - barriers against environment, immune defence against bacteria, viruses and fungi;
  • human skin types, glabrous skin (non-hairy skin) and hair-bearing skin;
  • skin maintenance - regeneration, repair, generating progeny;
  • immune system of skin - preventing infection, synthesis, expression and release of antimicrobial peptides;
  • extracellular matrix components - collagen fibres, elastic structures, non-collagenous glycoproteins;
  • blood vessels, supplying nutrients and oxygen to skin and regulating body temperature;
  • skin development - mesoderm, neuroectoderm;
  • epidermal and adnexal structures - stratum basale or stratum germinativum, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum and stratum corneum


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Components of normal human skin

  • Functions of skin

  • Regional skin variation

  • Skin development

  • Skin maintenance

  • Epidermal and adnexal structures

  • Skin as an immune system

  • Mast cells

  • Melanocytes

  • Epidermal attachment complexes

  • Dermal-epidermal basement membrane

  • Extracellular matrix of connective tissue

  • Blood vessels and lymphatics

  • Subcutaneous fat

  • References