The skin is the most vital and largest organ in the human body. It is our outer covering, and its primary purpose is to keep our body isolated from the outside world. The skin is a huge organ, occupying an area of around 2 m2 and weighing 4 kg, or about 6% of our body weight. Your skin's pH range varies from 4.7 and 5.75.
Men typically have more acidic skin than women, and there is a tiny difference in the pH of their skin. With ageing, the skin also gets more alkaline, specifically in women facing menopause. The skin's pH level changes around the age of 50, making it more sensitive and prone to breakouts in women. Let’s take a closer look towards some important functions of skin on human body.
THE 3 LAYERS OF SKIN
Regular skin care is crucial since skin is the body's greatest and strongest defense against infection. Adequate skin care will preserve the top layer while keeping the interior layers adequately protected. There are three layers of skin and each part of the skin and their functions are :
The epidermis, the top layer, gives skin its color and acts as a waterproof barrier.
Glands that produce sweat, hair follicles, blood arteries, connective tissue, and nerves are all found in the middle layer of the skin, or dermis.
The hypodermis is the innermost and thickest layer is primarily formed of fat.
WHAT ARE THE FUNCTIONS OF YOUR SKIN?
The epidermis constantly sheds and renews tens of thousands of dead cells per minute as the body's first line of defense against stressors of the environment. Skin guards the body from:
Radiation The ultraviolet (UV) light emitted by the sun would harm the underlying tissues in our bodies if it weren't for skin. Melanin pigmentation in epidermis provides this defense. We should limit our sunlight exposure by wearing appropriate clothing and sun block because the skin helps protect us from various medical conditions, such as skin cancer or skin diseases that are induced by radiation
Infection Most contaminants or organisms, like fungus, viruses, and bacteria, are prevented from reaching the skin by a thin, oily coating of moisture that covers the top layer of skin. Langerhans cells are also present in the epidermis and assist in controlling immunological reactions to infections that get into association with the skin.
Mechanical Impact The very first physical barrier that can tolerate pressure, stress, or harm is the skin. A wound will develop when the mechanical impact is too intense for the skin, breaking through the skin and causing the loss of one or more skin functions.
Fluids Our skin helps us retain the essential body fluids and moisture and shields us from the absorption of foreign fluids or liquids because of the tightly packed cell structure in the topmost layers of epidermis (the stratum corneum layer). Without fear, we can bathe, swim, and go on walks in the rain. Our skin guards against absorbing any potentially toxic substances and excessive water loss.
The body responds to changes in our environment by using a variety of systems, including evaporation, perspiration, radiation, and insulation, to maintain a normal/healthy temperature of 98.6° Fahrenheits (37° Celsius).
Through the primary function of the sudoriferous glands, the skin produces moisture through perspiration. The body cools as a result of this moisture evaporating.
The skin becomes flushed as a result of the capillaries' dilating or expanding, which reduces body heat through radiation. When capillaries or blood vessels narrow or contract, blood flow is slowed and heat is maintained [skin takes on a blueish colour].
When the body feels chilly or is cold, a muscle fiber in skin known as the arrector pili gets activated, raising the skin's surface hairs and capturing a layer of insulated air [making the skin appear to have goose bumps]. Portion of a hair follicle unit is this muscle. Sebum, which is also expelled from hair follicle, maintains the hair moisturised, avoiding brittleness and breakage so that it can continue to function. Finally, fatty tissue, which makes up the skin's lowest layer and also acts as a good insulator, is present. This is how the skin itself regulates body temperature
Sense of, touch, pain, pressure, heat and cold are all crucial functions of the skin's dermis. The nerve terminals in the dermis, which are easily damaged by wounds, are used to detect sensation. Our ability to resist burn injuries is aided by skin sensation. 1st and 2nd degree burns can be prevented by our skin's sensation, but third degree burns are more difficult to treat because the skin's nerve endings have been destroyed, making it impossible for us to feel pain.
Some creams are applied on the outer layer and are absorbed into the blood stream since the skin can absorb greasy substances. In light of this, it's essential to only use cosmeceutical and pharmaceutical creams or lotions as instructed, especially if you're pregnant or have specific medical issues. Remember, skin cannot absorb water.
Vitamin D formation, which is required to absorb calcium and support bone formation, also depends on absorption. UV rays from the sun cause the skin to absorb vitamin D. Although protecting the skin from excessive sun exposure is important for this process, excessive UV exposure can also lead to sunburn in leading to skin cancer. The skin cannot carry out all of its crucial activities if it is injured.
SPF 15 is the lowest recommended level of protection against these risks by the Federal Drug Administration, although the American Academy of Dermatology advises wearing SPF 30 or greater. Refer to our article on the skin's protective role.
The sweat glands, sometimes referred to as sudoriferous glands, are in charge of secreting waste products. These glands fall into two categories: apocrine and eccrine glands, both of which are controlled by sympathetic nervous system.
Water, salts, cellular waste, and fatty compounds are secreted onto the skin by the apocrine sweat glands, which are located in the vaginal and axillae region, during perspiration. When these compounds come in contact with germs on the skin, they combine to produce body odor. These glands also release pheromones, which are involved in attraction to others sexually.
Although eccrine glands are found all over the body, they are concentrated most heavily on the forehead, hands, and feet. In addition to certain salts, urea, and other water-soluble materials, they mostly exude water.
Sebum, an oily fluid that is excreted by the sebaceous glands, sometimes referred to as the oil glands, aids in maintaining healthy skin. These glands, which are regulated by the endocrine system, which regulates the body's hormones, are dispersed across the skin but are most, concentrated on the scalp, the T-zone of the face, and the cheeks.
Sebum lubricates the skin's surface in addition to the hair by being secreted through the hair follicle's shafts. They are then able to successfully carry out their other activities after aiding in the protection of the skin and hair.
HOW SKIN REFLECTS HEALTH
An individual's health may be reflected in their skin. Consider the liver as an example. Toxins are removed from the body via the liver. The liver will try to eliminate toxins in other ways if it is unable to do so. The skin cells come into play at this point. The liver will force toxins via the skin if its function is compromised. Dermatitis, liver spots, eczema, rashes, and premature wrinkles might be signs of this on the skin. Another indication that the liver isn't working properly is jaundice, or yellowing of the skin.
Skin conditions like hyperpigmentation, or dark spots on the skin, may be an indication of diabetes. The autoimmune disease lupus frequently begins with round lesions. Hives are a symptom that the body is being affected by or has been exposed to an allergen. Skin not only shields body from outside but also notifies medical professionals to inside problems.
Q. What are the advantages of skin?
Ans. The body's largest organ is the skin. It controls body temperature, shields the body from injuries, and guards against infection. The skin has nerves that can detect touch, pressure, pain, cold, and heat.
Q. How are skin conditions identified?
Ans. By examining the symptoms and looking at the skin, doctors can identify a wide range of skin conditions. Additional testing may occasionally be required. There are numerous skin tests available to assist in the diagnosis of skin conditions such bacterial, viral, or fungal skin diseases. To distinguish between rash, carcinogenic cells, and benign (noncancerous) growths, a skin biopsy can be carried out.