We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Keratinized Epithelium?

By Page Coleman
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Keratinized epithelium refers to an outer layer of skin cells that has become hardened and died. This layer protects the tissues that lie underneath, and it prevents certain substances from passing into or out of the tissues below. Keratinized epithelium is found in animal cells, such as in mammalian skin and organ-lining cells, including human cells.

Epithelial tissues are those that encase the bodies of animals, both internally and externally. Examples of epithelial tissues include the cells that make up the external layer of the human skin and the stomach lining. A defining feature of this type of tissue is that one surface of the tissue’s cells is always exposed, whether the exposure is inside or outside of the animal. This exposed side is called the apical layer surface.

Epithelial tissue is categorized by its shape and number of layers. The shape might be squamous, cuboidal or columnar. Squamous cells are thin, flattened cells, whereas cuboidal cells are cube-shaped, and columnar cells are longer than they are wide. The cells are also categorized by their number of layers; simple epithelial cells have one layer, and stratified cells consist of multilayered epithelium. In the case of pseudostratified epithelium, the cells appear to be multilayered but are only one layer deep.

Regardless of shape and number of layers, epithelial cells share certain characteristics and functions. Typically, nutrients diffuse to these cells from subepithelial layers, so the tissues themselves do not have blood vessels. The epithelial tissue cells divide rapidly, which speeds healing from injury. The tissue cells are packed closely. The epithelial tissue functions in secretion, excretion, absorption and protection.

The stratified squamous epithelium, also known as epidermis, makes up the outer layer of skin, and it serves an important protective function. As these cells age, they create a layer of keratinized epithelium. During keratinization, a protein in the epidermis known as keratin amasses, and the cells harden and die, which creates a tough, dry shield that impedes substances from entering or leaving the tissue under this layer. Not all stratified squamous epithelium keratinizes. For example, the tissue that lines the esophagus is a type of non-keratinized epithelium.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By Realited — On Jan 29, 2014

I did some research and discovered that the keratin they speak of in the article is also the same material that is used to form our fingernails and toenails as well.

By Grinderry — On Jan 29, 2014

That would definitely be something that could benefit the medical field in all aspects from patients who have suffered burns over parts of their body to regrowing skin that has been damaged from some form of trauma.

By Contentum — On Jan 28, 2014

Interesting to read especially the part about the cells dividing rapidly. Makes one wonder if this can be harnessed and used for rapid healing techniques in the medical profession

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.