U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

El Libro de Referencia de las Huellas Dactilares - Chapter 2: Anatomia y Fisiologia de la Cresta de Fricción en la Piel Adulta

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2017
10 pages

This chapter discusses the anatomy and physiology of adult friction ridge skin, which are the basis for several critical elements underlying the fingerprint examination process. 


The anatomy and physiology of the friction ridge skin explain how the features of the skin persist, how the features of the skin age, how the skin responds to injury, and why scars that form are unique. Another element explained by the structure of the skin is the mechanics of touch. Understanding how the friction ridge skin reacts when it contacts a surface can provide valuable assistance during the examination of friction ridge impressions. The discussion of the anatomy of friction ridge skin focuses on the outer morphology of friction ridge skin, the general anatomy of skin, the structure of friction ridge skin, the epidermis, keratinocytes, layers of the epidermis, nonkeratinocytes, the dermis, the sweat glands, and the hypodermis. The discussion of the physiology of friction ridge skin addresses physical attachments and cell communication. The discussion of the persistence of the friction ridge skin considers the aging of friction ridge skin and wound healing. 29 references and 42 figures

Date Published: August 1, 2017