The epidermis1 is a keratinized stratified squamous epithelium, as discussed in chapter 5. That is, its surface consists of dead cells packed with the tough protein keratin. Like other epithelia, the epidermis lacks blood vessels and depends on the diffusion of nutrients from the underlying connective tissue. It has sparse nerve endings for touch and pain, but most sensations of the skin are due to nerve endings in the dermis. The epidermis usually consists of four zones (five in thick skin), described here in order from deep to superficial (fig. 6.2).
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