(From to cover with a hide, or from cutan, a covering; Chaldean). The skin. It is called by Herodotus, anthrope. It is a strong, thick, universal covering of the external parts of the body, immediately above the adipose membrane. It is composed of a close texture of fibres of various kinds, and of veins and arteries, variously disposed: where there are large orifices, it is gradually lost. Its inner surface is moulded upon the outer surface of the membrana adiposa, whose membranous part produced, seems to form the skin.
The skin, on its outside, is unequal: this is occasioned by the miliary glands, and the bulbs of the hair. It is naturally contracted; but when it is swelled, it is smooth. Upon its surface we observe the papillae py-ramidales, which are longer in some parts than in others, as in the fingers, where they are called villi. They appear in rows, each having two ranks contiguous, and are the organs of touch. Opposite to the joints the skin is thin, and formed into plicae, to admit of a free motion. Its whole surface, outwardly, is covered with the rete mucosum, and the cuticle.
The skin is thickest between the shoulders, and on the back part of the neck. Dr. Hunter says, that when the skin is once destroyed it is never regenerated, but the edges stretch considerably to form a covering: after that, a cicatrix, which is hardened flesh, completes the healing. The loss of substance is discovered by injections.
The outer surface is furnished with small eminences, called papilla pyramidalea, and the inner with the miliary glands. Fewer papillae appear on the skin of the belly than elsewhere: the anterior portion of it is not only thinner and more compact than the posterior, but it may naturally be very much increased in breadth, to an extraordinary degree, without losing in thickness what it gains in breadth; and it is generally more difficult to pierce the skin of the belly with pointed instruments than of the back.
Though the best glasses cannot assist us to see pores in the cuticle, the naked eye can discern them in the skin, which is the seat of many diseases. Dr. Willan's late publication on these, has superseded the works of all his predecessors on cutaneous diseases of the skin.
Cutis anserina. When from cold, fear, or terror, the skin is contracted, the bulbs of the hair are conspicuous, and the surface resembles that of a newly plucked goose.