The epidermis is the top layer of our skin and is as thin as a single sheet of paper. Regardless, it is fundamental to the function of the other layers of the skin and the entire human body.
The epidermis is made up of flat squamous cells with basal cells layered on top of them. Squamous cells function as a barrier; basal cells produce melanin to protect the skin and consistently multiply and shed themselves.
Within these layers are lipids, or fatty molecules, that lubricate and protect the skin. This creates a surface seal in conjunction with the squamous cells that protects deeper layers of the skin from environmental damage and infection. The epidermis also regulates the amount of water released from our skin into the environment.