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glossary:basal_cell_layer

The basal layer is the innermost layer of the epidermis, and contains small round cells called basal cells. The basal cells continually divide, and new cells constantly push older ones up toward the surface of the skin, where they are eventually shed. The basal cell layer is also known as the stratum germinativum due to the fact that it is constantly germinating (producing) new cells.

The basal cell layer contains cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes produce the skin coloring or pigment known as melanin, which gives skin its tan or brown color and helps protect the deeper layers of the skin from the harmful effects of the sun. Sun exposure causes melanocytes to increase production of melanin in order to protect the skin from damaging ultraviolet rays, producing a suntan. Patches of melanin in the skin cause birthmarks, freckles and age spots. Melanoma develops when melanocytes undergo malignant transformation.

Merkel cells, which are tactile cells of neuroectodermal origin, are also located in the basal layer of the epidermis.

See also:

* Squamous Cell Layer

* Skin Conditions

* Skin Care

* Skin Functions

* Lymphedema Skin Infections

* Lymphedema Fungal Infections

* Dermatofibromas

* Impetigo

* Mycetoma Fungal Infection

* Skin Care, conditions, complications

* Skin Glossary

glossary/basal_cell_layer.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/16 14:40 (external edit)