from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. The outermost layer of skin, especially that which forms the cuticle.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The outermost, cuticular layer of skin.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. See epidermis.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The epidermis, especially the thin, dry outermost layer, which continually scales off. Also scurf-skin.
Describe the root of the nail in its relation to the sensitive and the scarfskin.
The root of the nail lies embedded, to the extent of about the twelfth part of an inch, in a fold of the sensitive skin, and, as may be observed from an inspection of the part, the scarfskin is not exactly continuous with the nail, but projects a little above it, forming a narrow margin.
The scissors should never be used except to pare the free edges when they have become ragged or too long, and the folds of scarfskin which overlap the roots should not, as a rule, be touched, unless they be frayed, when the torn edges may be snipped off, so as to prevent their being torn further, which may cause much pain, and even inflammation.
-- The nails are mere modifications of the scarfskin, their horny appearance and feeling being due to the fact that the scales or plates of which they are composed are much harder and more closely packed.
The nail, like the scarfskin, rests upon, and is intimately connected with, a structure almost identical with the sensitive skin; this is, however, thrown into ridges, which run parallel to one another, except at the back part, where they radiate from the center of the root.
M. Rouquet's book is a rare duodecimo of some two hundred pages, bound in sheep, which, in the copy before us, has reached that particular stage of disintegration when the scarfskin, without much persuasion, peels away in long strips.
If this be neglected, the pores of the skin are closed by the waste matter thrown from the body, and by small particles of the thin scarfskin, so that it cannot properly perform its duties.
After bathing, the body should be rubbed with a brush or coarse towel, to remove the light scales of scarfskin, which adhere to it, and also to promote a healthful excitement.
Whether the black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the skin and scarfskin, or in the scarf-skin itself; whether it proceeds from the colour of the blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature, and is as real as if its seat and cause were better known to us.
With many of our people, also, the epidermis or scarfskin peeled off in large flakes, not merely in the face and hands, which were exposed to the action of the sun and the weather, but in every other part of the body; this, however, was attended with no pain, nor with much inconvenience.