Give Now  »

wfiu logo
WFIU Public Radio

wtiu logo
WTIU Public Television

Choose which station to support!

Indiana Public Media | WFIU - NPR | WTIU - PBS

Noon Edition

Thick Skin

Read Transcript
Hide Transcript

Transcript

Y:        Sorry I teased you earlier, Don.

D:        It's alright. I have thick skin.

Y:        Truth be told you have some thick skin, as do we all. But most of your skin is thin.

D:        Are you picking on me again, Yaël?

Y:        No, Don. I'm talking about skin literally, which can be divided into two different types: thick and thin. The palms of your hands, soles of your feet, and your lips are examples of thick skin. Thick skin is adapted to activities such as gripping, and the wear and tear that goes with that. Thus, it's void of hair, and it's thicker. Most of the rest of your skin is thin. Unlike thick skin, thin skin is equipped with hair follicles, oil glands, and smooth muscle fibers.

D:        What makes thick skin thick?

Y:        The thickness of thick skin is caused by a much thicker epidermis, the uppermost section of skin's composition. In particular, the bulk of thick skin is a result of the four upper layers of the epidermis: the stratum spinosum, the stratum granulosum, the stratum lucidum, and the stratum corneum. The stratum lucidum isn't even present in thin skin. The stratum corneum, consisting of keratin-packed dead cells, is substantially thicker in thick skin than in thin skin. The packed keratin provides most of the protective properties associated with the epidermis. Whereas the stratum corneum of thin skin may be completely shed and replaced in about a week's time, this replacement may take about a month in thick skin.

D:        Hmm. I guess that from now on I won't say I have thick skin, but that I have an extra thick epidermis!

Two feet on a table.

(Bark, Wikimedia Commons)

We all know that to be "thick skinned" you have to be a tough individual.

Well, you have some thick skin, as do we all, but most of your skin is thin.

In fact, all skin is either classified as thick or thin. The palms of your hands, soles of your feet, and your lips are examples of thick skin. Thick skin is adapted to activities such as gripping, and the wear and tear that goes with that. Thus, it's void of hair, and it's thicker. Most of the rest of your skin is thin, however, and is equipped with hair follicles, oil glands, and smooth muscle fibers.

The thickness of thick skin is caused by a much thicker epidermis, the uppermost section of skin's composition. In particular, the bulk of thick skin is a result of the four upper layers of the epidermis, or the stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidum, and stratum corneum.

The stratum lucidum isn't even present in thin skin. The stratum corneum, consisting of keratin-packed dead cells, is substantially thicker in thick skin than in thin skin. The packed keratin provides most of the protective properties associated with the epidermis. Whereas the stratum corneum of thin skin may be completely shed and replaced in about a week's time, this replacement may take about a month in thick skin.

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science