Skin-nontumor / Clinical dermatology
Normal dermis and subcutis

Author: Mowafak Hamodat MB.CH.B, MSc., FRCPC (see Authors page)

Revised: 19 May 2016, last major update August 2010

Copyright: (c) 2002-2016,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Normal dermis and subcutis

Cite this page: Normal dermis and subcutis. website. Accessed September 24th, 2018.
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Contains collagen and elastic fibers within ground substance composed of mucopolysaccharides and mucoproteins
  • Also contains adnexa, nerves and blood vessels
  • Degenerates with age and sunlight and becomes basophilic
  • Divided into superficial papillary dermis and deeper reticular dermis
  • Papillary dermis contains rete pegs and periadnexal dermis
  • Papillary dermis has thin and delicate collagen fibers compared to thicker fibers in reticular dermis
  • Dermis has varying degrees of thickness - thicker on back
  • Acral skin has Sucquet-Hoyel canals specialized arteriovenous anastomoses, surrounded by glomus cells
  • Glomus cells are modified smooth muscle cells that are round with clear cytoplasm and well defined cytoplasmic borders
  • Papillary dermis of palms and soles contains Wagner-Meissner corpuscles with a tactile function
  • Deep dermis and subcutis of weight bearing areas contain Pacinian corpuscles, sensitive to pressure
  • Normal dermis contains a few fibroblasts, mast cells, macrophages, lymphocytes and dermal dendrocytes (Factor XIIIa+)
  • Subcutis also called subcutaneous; contains lobules of mature adipose tissue and thin connective tissue septa