As the largest organ of the human body, the skin has many important functions. It is the first shield of your body; it protects you from physical and chemical harm, as well as radiation, bacteria and so on. Its regulatory function shouldn’t be overseen either as regulates your body temperature and the fluid balance. Another key task is providing your brain with sensory experiences: your skin contains a network of nerves. There are many different types of sensory receptors that immediately register whether you’re feeling cold, pain or just a pleasant touch. To help you get a better feel for your skin, we’re going to break it down to its 3 layers.
Epidermis – a protective barrier
The outermost layer of the skin is the one that first gets in contact with what surrounds you: it has cells that protect you from pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria. This layer also has cells that produce melanin, which is the natural pigment that protects your body from some of the sun’s radiation and gives your skin its complexion. In addition, it regulates how much water your body releases through the sweat glands. Your skin is constantly renewing itself – you might notice this in the form of dead skin cells on the very top layer. Healthy skin also has a natural microflora which is a key part of skin protection – this means good bacteria and other tiny organisms that contribute to battling harmful ones.
Dermis – your skin’s supportive layer
The next layer is the dermis, the thickest layer of the skin, and it consists mostly of a protein called collagen. Collagen is firm, but elastic at the same time. This means that a higher level of collagen in your skin gives you a firmer and smoother skin. The dermis also contains your sweat glands, hair follicles as well as oil-producing glands. The nerve ends, necessary for feeling things like pressure and temperature, are found in this layer as well. The blood vessels in the dermis provide the cells with nutrition and transport away any harmful particles from the skin. The blood vessels also contribute to temperature regulation by contracting and expanding.
Subcutaneous tissue – your body’s cushioning shield
The subcutaneous tissue lies right below the skin but still holds a protective function. It works as a cushion for your body, protecting the inner organs, bones and muscles. Since this layer is composed of fat tissue, its thickness varies from person to person. It also plays an important role in regulating your body temperature. You can see it as a layer of insolation, if you will.
Your skin is the main player in body care. Make sure you take good care of it because this organ is most exposed to the outside world.
Healthy skin is a good start to keeping your entire body strong. If you’re interested in skincare and want to learn more about it, you can find many articles on this topic on our blog.