The top thin layer of tissue on the very surface of your skin. Consists of a live epithelium and a dead layer of epithelium on the surface. The dead layer is like a crust that surrounds your body that is also filled with your natural oils the keeps your skin moist. The crusty oily dead layer is called the Status Cornium. The epidermis is also where your pigment making cells are located, called melanocytes.  Thus your ethnic or racial coloring is found only in the outer most layers of your body, the epidermis.