Skin Basics

Skin as we all know is the largest organ of our body. It has been described as the body's “cutaneous envelop”. Fifteen percent of average adult’s weight is skin. Skin covers a surface area of nearly 2 square meters. The skin has functions in thermoregulation, protection, metabolic, sensation, absorption, and excretion. It is the only organ which is directly exposed to all the elements of the external environment. Our skin has an exceptional ability to protect and heal itself. Let's take a quick review of our Skin:

The skin has three main layers:
• The epidermis-thin, protective outer layer,
• The dermis-tough elastic second layer,
• The subcutaneous tissues-fatty and connective tissue beneath the dermis.
The epidermis. It is made of living cells. It also contains the pigment that gives the skin its color. The epidermis is nourished by the blood vessels in the layer below, which is called the dermis. The epidermis is stratified (layered) epithelium made up of 5 distinct cell layers. The top layer, the one you can see and feel, is called the stratum corneum. It's made of dead cells that protect the more delicate layers underneath. It is constantly being worn away and replaced by new cells that move up from the layer below. The dermis is a lot thicker than the epidermis and is very elastic, so your skin is able to stretch and move. The sweat glands in the dermis have tiny tubes leading to the surface of the skin. It also contains hair follicles-the bulblike structures that hairs grow from. The nerve endings that sense heat, cold and pain are also in the dermis. The bottom layer of the dermis is called subcutaneous tissue. Fat is stored there, which keeps you cool when it is hot and warm when the outside air is cold. The fat is also a shock absorber and stores extra fuel for your body.