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What are keratinocytes?

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Updated February 10, 2009

Definition: Keratinocytes are the most common type of skin cells. They make keratin, a protein that provides strength to skin, hair, and nails. Keratinocytes form in the deep, basal cell layer of the skin and gradually migrate upward, becoming squamous cells before reaching the surface of the skin over the course of a month. For this reason, non-melanoma skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are sometimes called keratinocyte cancers. The most common type of keratinocyte cancer is basal cell carcinoma.
Common Misspellings: kertinocytes, cheratinocytes, keratinosytes
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