Uncovering the skins secrets: Studies show how skin forms differently across the body: Research finds skin location and type determine risk of disease such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis

Why are certain body parts more prone to skin diseases than others?

Two new UC Davis Health studies explored how differences in skin composition may lead to dermatological conditions, such as psoriasis and atopic dermatitis.

“Skin does not have a uniform composition throughout the body,” said Emanual Maverakis, professor of dermatology, molecular medical microbiology at UC Davis and senior author on both studies. “Different skin characteristics at different body sites may affect the skin’s susceptibility to certain diseases.”

Skin diseases affect about 84.5 million Americans. Aging, trauma, and environmental and genetic factors can lead to a wide range of skin conditions.

Body site determines skin structure and function and disease susceptibility

The skin is the largest organ in the body. It has an average area of about 20 square feet — that’s the size of a 4′ by 5′ room! Its outermost layer (epidermis) has a lipid matrix composed of free fatty acids, cholesterol and ceramides (a family of waxy lipid molecules).

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