What Is Skin?

Your skin, weighing in as largest organ on your body, is made up of three layers of epithelial tissue. These tissue layers are made of cells that protect the body against pathogens, secrete fluids and absorb environmental affects. It insulates the body and regulates against temperature. The skin measures 2.5-2.0 meters square, most of which is 2-3mm thick, weighing an approximate 15% of individual body weight. Your skin contains sweat glands, blood vessels, melanocytes and over 1,000 nerve endings. Your skin is complex and responds to touch, heat and texture through sensation. The sun affects the skin through the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamins D and B.

The skin has many functions within the integumentary system. The Skin is protected and provides insulation through the layers that form an organized shield: the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous fat layers of skin protect the muscles and organs within the body.

The epidermis is the layer of skin that you can see, it is constantly working to produce more cells. The outermost layer of our skin is actually made up of dead skin cells that disperse at a rate of 30-40 thousand per day. 95% of the cells in the epidermis are constantly regenerating. The other 5% of the epidermis is the substance melanin, which gives the skin its color and contains enzymes that repair the skin. Melanin cells produce more melanin when exposed to the sun or UV rays. Your epidermis is affected by these rays and cannot produce enough to completely protect the skin from Skin Cancer. Wearing sunscreen will assist the skin in protecting these cells. Malignant melanoma is a deadly skin cancer that can spread rapidly and life-threatening.

The first hidden layer of skin underneath the epidermis is the dermis, containing nerve endings, sweat glands, oil glands and blood vessels. This layer contains the cells responsible for keeping the skin supple with elastin and structural protein collagen cells aid in keeping the skin taut.The nerve endings allow for touch sensation and communicate with the brain through the nervous system. Blood vessels bring oxygen and other nutrients to the skin while taking away waste to cleanse the skin. These blood vessels become more noticeable with age. Sebaceous glands producing sebum, the skin’s natural oil, keeps the skin lubricated and waterproof. Sweat glands constantly produce sweat that commingles with the sebum, forming a thin, sticky layer of protection through the pores.

The body’s fat and hair follicles are contained in the subcutaneous fat layer that aide the body in temperature regulation and shock protection. The hair follicle uses a sebaceous gland to secrete sebum on each hair that grows, providing lubrication from the elements. The hypothalamus in the brain sends signals to regulate body temperature by activating or decreasing blood flow to the surface of the skin and the skin reacts through the blood vessels in the dermis. The sweat glands cool the body temperature down by releasing heat.

The skin requires cleansing and maintaining to continue to provide protection from the elements.

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