Anatomy of Your Skin

Skin is the largest organ of the human body, and serves to protect us from the outside environment and disease.

It also plays a role in maintaining a stable body temperature (not too hot and not too cold), and is responsible for sending sensory information to the brain. It’s how we know something is hot, sharp or soft.


The outermost layer which mainly serves a protective function. It ranges in thickness from .05mm to 1.5mm, and contains five layers. The epidermis is composed of cells called keratinocytes, the outermost layer is called the stratum corneum where the keratinocytes have naturally died and hardened. This layer helps prevent water loss and retain moisture in skin.2 Skin pigment is made and carried in the epidermis, which gives an individual his or her skin color and determines his or her ability to tan.3

The layer beneath the epidermis taht provides the support and elasticity to the skin. It is divided into two layers, the uppermost area adjacent to the epidermis called the papillary dermis and a deep thicker area known as the reticular dermis, which accounts for the greater part of the dermis overall. There are far fewer cells in the dermis than in the epidermis. Instead, the dermis is made up of water, hyaluronic acid, elastin fibers, reticular fibers and collagen. There are several different types of collagen and the most predominant type in young skin and in scars is Type I (about 80%) with Type III making up about 15%. As we age, that ratio reverses. The dermis also contains the hair follicles, sweat glands, and blood vessels.2 Damage to the dermis through excess inflammation from acne is what leads to acne scarring.

Subcutaneous tissue
Composed of an insulating layer of fat and blood vessels that is responsible for protecting organs and regulating body temperature.3

  • I

    Very Fairalways burns cannot tan

  • II

    Fairusually burns sometimes tans

  • III

    Mediumsometimes burns
    usually tans

  • IV

    Oliverarely burns always tans

  • V

    Brownrarely burns tans easily

  • VI

    Dark Brownnever burns always tans

Fitzpatrick Scale

Skin Types

Created in 1975 by Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, M.D., Ph.D., the Fitzpatrick skin type scale is the common way dermatologists classify skin types. Classification is based primarily upon the skin’s reaction to the initial exposure to sun in spring or summer.4

Click the button for a full set of questions to help you determine which skin type best matches your skin type.

Skin Type Questionnaire

SM 1976-12 Rev00

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