Difference Between Thin and Thick Skin

Thin skin is the skin type covering most of the body whereas thick skin is present in the soles of feet and hands. Thin skin contains hair follicles and sebaceous glands whereas thick skin doesn’t have.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Thin skin is found in areas of the body with less exposure to external elements, such as the eyelids or lips, and is more delicate and translucent; thick skin is found in areas exposed to more wear and tear, such as the palms or soles, and is denser and more durable.
  2. Thin skin contains fewer layers of cells and has a thinner epidermis; thick skin has a thicker epidermis with an additional layer of skin called the stratum lucidum.
  3. Thin skin has a higher sensitivity to touch and temperature changes; thick skin has a lower sensitivity to touch but provides more protection against external trauma.

Thin vs Thick Skin

The difference between thin and thick skin is that the thin skin has relatively thin epidermis and found on the body parts except the palms and soles whereas thick skin has relatively thick epidermis and can be found on the palms and soles.

Thin vs Thick skin

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonThin SkinThick Skin
DefinitionThe skin of body having relatively thin epidermis. Found at areas like palms and soles.The skin of body having relatively thick epidermis. Found at areas of body except palms and soles.
OccurrenceCovers entire body.Covers palms of hands and feet and the lining of the toes and fingers.
DermisHas a thicker dermis.Has a thinner dermis.
Thickness of the epidermisEpidermis is thin with a thin and granular layer, thin Malpighian layer and very thin horny layer. It doesn’t have a lucidum layer (translucent layer of the epidermis).Epidermis is thick with a thick granular layer, thick Malpighian layer, and very thick horny layer. It has a lucidum layer as well.
Sweat GlandsHas lesser number of sweat glands than the thick skin.Has many spirally coiled sweat glands.
Dermal PapillaeHas irregular dermal papillae.Has regular dermal papillae.
Sensory ReceptorsHas scattered sensory receptors.Has dense sensory receptors.
Functional SignificanceDoes many other functions of the skin.Does the work of mechanical abrasion.
Sebaceous GlandsThin skin contains the sebaceous glands.Thick skin does not contain any sebaceous glands.
Hair FolliclesThin skin has hair follicles.Thick skin does not have hair follicles.
Ridges and FurrowsThin skin does not have the unique appearance on the surface of palms, fingerprints and soles.Thick skin has both ridges and furrows on the surface of palms, fingerprints and soles.
Arrector Pili MusclesThin skin has small muscles attached to the hair follicles.Thick skin doesn’t have the Arrector Pili Muscles.

What is Thin Skin?

Thin skin is the type of skin that covers most of the parts of the body excluding the areas around hands and feet. The thickness of the thin skin varies all over the body.

For example, you can see the thinnest layers found in areas like the eyelids. The thin skin has hair follicles, sebaceous glands, and sweat glands present that are absent in thick skin.

Hair follicles produce the actual hairs on the head and the body. The sebaceous glands are associated with the hair follicles and perform an important role in secreting out an oily type substance called as sebum.

Sweat glands occur throughout the thin skin and produce sweat on the body. The thin skin helps in protecting the body from the attack of pathogens and products sweat that cools the body as well as has antimicrobial properties.

The sebum produced by the sebaceous gland helps in lubricating the hairs produced by the hair follicles. The hair produced by the hair follicles is different from the hair on the head and even has a different growth rate.

The thin skin does not have a stratum lucidum layer in the epidermis.

thin skin

What is Thick Skin?

Thick skin is the type of skin that covers body parts like the fingertips, soles and palms and the areas that need greater protection. It is present between the outer layer of the epidermis known as stratum corneum and the lower layer called the stratum granulosum.

Thick skin does not have the sweat glands, sebaceous glands and hair follicles. It has a stratum lucidum layer that is absent in the thin skin.

Thin skin does not have many structures that are present in the thin skin.

The thick skin protects the body from pathogens and is a part of the nonspecific defenses of the body. It protects the body from damage at parts where there is a lot of abrasion and friction found in areas that grip surfaces like feet and hands.

thick skin

Main Differences Between Thin and Thick Skin

  1. Thin skin has relatively thin epidermis that can be found on other body parts than palms and soles whereas Thick skin relatively thick epidermis that can be found on palms and soles.
  2. Thin skin occurs on nearly the entire body whereas Thick skin occurs on the soles of feet, palms of hands and the surface lining of the fingers.
  3. Thin skin has hair follicles whereas Thick skin has no hair follicles.
  4. Thin skin has a thin layer of Malpighian. It does not have a Lucidium layer whereas Thick skin has a thick layer of Malpighian.
  5. Thin skin has sparser sensory receptors whereas Thick skin has denser sensory receptors.
  6. Thin skin has a thicker dermis whereas Thick skin has a thinner dermis.
  7. Thin skin has irregular dermal papillae whereas Thick skin has regular dermal papillae.
  8. Thin skin has lesser number of sweat glands whereas Thick skin has many spirally-coiled sweat glands.
  9. Thin skin hair follicles have arrector pili muscles attached to them whereas Thick skin does not have arrector pili muscles.
  10. Thin skin does not have lacks ridges and furrows on its surface whereas Thick skin has ridges and furrows on its surface.
  11. Thin skin contains sebaceous glands whereas Thick skin does not contains sebaceous glands.
  12. Thin skin has various functions to perform of the skin whereas Thick skin performs the mechanical abrasion.
Difference Between Thin and Thick Skin
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5401286/
  2. https://sp.lyellcollection.org/content/377/1/1.short
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