Our Skin is a Sensitive, Protective Suit of Armour
Our Skin Is the Last Word on Versatility
THE FUNCTIONS OF THE SKIN
As the body’s largest sensory organ, the skin’s main task is to protect the body from external stimuli. It envelopes us like a coat and ensures that we are not immediately hurt under pressure.
Our skin also warns us of danger, such as high levels of heat or extreme cold, by using sensory responses like pain or itching.
The skin’s acid mantle also acts as a barrier for germs and parasites.
As a temperature regulator, the skin is also responsible for keeping a constant temperature within the body. When it is hot, the circulation of blood in the vessels increases and heat is released. If this isn't enough, the skin sweats and cools the body down. If it's cold, the opposite happens: the skin pumps less blood through its veins in order to keep the body warm. Every wondered why our hands and feet are the first to freeze when it's cold? This is why!
Your skin protects you, so protect it
Beneath The Surface Of The Skin: The Skin’s Different Layers
The skin may only be a few millimetres thick, but it still has enormous strength despite this. Like an onion, it has numerous layers that can be roughly categorised into three areas.
The uppermost protective covering of the skin is the epidermis, which can be subdivided into five individual layers.
The acid mantle is found on the epidermis. It keeps bacteria away and allows water to drip off the skin.
Below the epidermis are the five individual layers: the lower two constantly supply the upper three layers of the epidermis with new skin cells.
The dead cells are removed by the outer horny layer. This is how our epidermis renews itself on average about every 27 days.
Under the epidermis is the dermis: It has a dense network of elastic fibres, nerves and tiny blood vessels running through it. These blood vessels regulate the body’s heat balance. The dermis supplies the epidermis with nutrients and oxygen. This is also where the sebum, sweat and scent glands are located.
The third layer of skin is known as the subcutis. This is mainly made up of tissue and fat. The subcutis acts as a cushion from external bumps and is an important energy reserve. It links the skin with the tendons and muscles below.
OUR SKIN IS THE LARGEST SENSORY ORGAN
How Our Sense of Touch Affects Our Well-being
- The central nervous system and sensory organs like the skin develop from the primary cell layer when we are still embryos. This allows us, even as unborn children, to interact with our environments through the skin while still in the womb.
- Touch is essential for human well-being. Being touched lovingly is critical for babies and children as they grow.
- Touch promotes the development of the brain and the distribution of growth hormones. Even as adults we benefit from gentle caresses, which release endorphins (happiness hormones) and reduce blood pressure.
- Touch has a calming effect and has a positive influence on our emotional lives. If we are stressed or lack human closeness, the skin often reacts by turning blotchy, becoming dry or developing impurities. Take these warnings seriously and listen to what your skin is telling you.