The stratum corneum is the top or outer layer of the skin or epidermis, and it acts as the primary barrier between the body and the environment.
Under the microscope face skin, the epidermis is made up of five layers, which are:
It is the deepest layer of the epidermis made up of cuboidal and columnar cells
It is made up of skin cells linked by desmosomes giving these cells a spiny appearance under a microscope
It is made up of skin cells with granules containing components that participate in the formation of the outer skin layer
It is a thin, lighter appearing layer only present on the palms and soles
It is the outermost skin layer of very resilient and specialized skin cells and keratin layers.
The stratum corneum has layers of specialized skin cells that are constantly shedding. It is also called the horny layer, as the cells are more rigid than most, just like an animal’s horn. It mainly exists to protect the inner layers of skin.
Functions Stratum Corneum
Your skin is the largest organ system in your body. The skin’s most important function is to protect the body from things in the environment that may cause harm.
The skin helps to:
- Keep your body temperature at a healthy level
- Prevent water loss or absorption
The stratum corneum can also be described as a brick wall because the corneocytes that make up the cell envelope are layers, like bricks, mortared together by lipids, creating the outer water barrier.
If everything is working correctly. the top skin layer will help defend you against:
At the same time, it safeguards the skin layers underneath.
Unfortunately, some of the products used to clean the body can harm the stratum corneum.
Surfactants, such as hand soap, will hook to the proteins in the skin and allow water loss, and weaken the barrier.
Use sensitive soap, such as unscented bar soap, and not over-washing. Using moisturizers can also help stop your skin from drying out.
Parts of the Stratum Corneum
The stratum corneum comprises many parts to help protect your lower skin layers. Although the structure could be explained in greater detail, you can focus on three primary classifications to ease basic understanding. Following are the three main categories of the stratum corneum under the microscope face skin:
1- The Bricks
The bricks or corneocytes are mostly made of keratin, a protein found in hair and nails.
Keratinocytes are created in the lower layers of the epidermis and function with a phospholipid cell membrane, which can be pretty absorbent. When these keratinocytes are moved to the stratum corneum, they become corneocytes with a more enduring cell envelope.
A healthy stratum corneum will shed around one layer of corneocytes daily. The corneocytes will then be substituted with new keratinocytes from a lower epidermis called the stratum granulosum.
2- The Desmosomes
The desmosomes help secure the bricks by merging the corneocytes, created via links of proteins such as corneodesmosin. Enzymes must dissolve the desmosomes for the bricks to shed at a healthy rate.
3- The Mortar
The mortar that attaches everything is made of lipids discharged from tiny lamellar bodies in the stratum granulosum. The lipids swim into the space between the bricks and the layers of corneocytes.
The mortar is crucial in shielding the lower layers of the skin, and it forms a barrier that keeps out bacteria and toxins. Moreover, the mortar and whole stratum corneum is slightly acidic due to cellular operations that create the lipids. The stratum corneum has a pH of around 4 to 5.5, and the acidity helps stop bacteria growth.
The stratum corneum is the outermost layer of your skin, and it is made up primarily of keratin and lipids. The visible cells shed and are substituted from the lower epidermal layers. The cells have a 2-week cycle in the stratum corneum. When a keratinocyte penetrates the stratum corneum, it is transformed into a corneocyte and shed within two weeks.
If you are worried about your stratum corneum or general skin health, it would be best that you consult your doctor about a skincare regimen that will help your skin’s mortar and bricks stay intact. You can book an appointment with the best Dermatologists in Lahore for more information through Marham.