Skin: A Thing of Beauty
- Skin Anatomy -
Skin anatomy is fascinating! WHY?
Skin is an amazing thing -- 24 hours a day it:
- protects our body from invading germs and harmful substances
- regulates our temperature
- insulates us to keep us warm
- waterproofs us
- cushions tissues underneath
- gets rid of wastes
- protects us from damaging ultraviolet radiation
- holds us together and keeps our insides 'inside'
- has receptors that register touch, pain, and pressure
- synthesizes vitamin D
- grows as we grow
- is flexible and elastic so we can us move and stretch
On top of all that, if the skin gets damaged or broken, it repairs itself.
Skin is part of an organ system called the integumentary system
which includes skin and the hair
, scales, and nails. This system is the largest organ system of our body.
It may not seem like an 'organ' but it is!
An organ is just a collection of specialized tissue performing specific functions in our body.
Skin is also one of the largest elimination organs, daily excreting toxins out of our body.
When we look at skin anatomy, we see that skin is actually fairly complex, even though it’s not that thick.
THERE ARE 3 SKIN LAYERS, each with a specialized function:
Epidermis: This is the outer or top layer of skin that we see every day. The thickness of this epidermal layer varies, depending upon where you measure on the body. It can be anywhere from about 0.4 mm up to 1.5 mm thick.
This epidermis is made up of 5 layers. The top layer is really just old dead flattened cells that have been pushed up from the lower layers. These are constantly being shed and replaced from below, which usually happens approximately every 2 to 4 weeks.
So, where does your SKIN COLOR come from? It all happens here in the epidermal layer, so your fair skin or freckles start here! Specialized cells that create skin pigment (called melanin) reside here. Sun and ultraviolet radiation exposure cause these melanocytes to produce more and more melanin to protect the body....and we tan! (or produce more freckles)
This layer also has specialized cells that are part of the skin’s immune system.
Dermis: This is the 2nd or next layer down beneath the epidermal layer. How thick is it? Well, this also depends on the location on the body, but it can vary from about 0.4 mm to maybe 3.0 mm.
The skin anatomy of this layer is different than the epidermis just above it because it contains a bunch of stuff:
Fat or Subcutaneous Layer
- Nerves: that register itching, pain, touch or pressure, and temperature sensations
- Tiny Blood vessels: that carry nutrients to the cells
- Hair follicles plus their own glands: that produce oil (sebaceous glands) and sweat (eccrine glands)
- Tiny muscles attached to the hair follicles: that make our hair stand straight up
- Proteins: that make our skin flexible, elastic, and strong
: The word subcutaneous
means underneath or beneath the skin. This layer helps insulate us, keeping us warm. Plus, it cushions tissues beneath the skin.
This is because the skin anatomy of this layer is mostly connective tissue and fat plus larger blood vessels and nerves. Thickness of this layer is different for each person, since depends on their body fat, genes, diet, general health, etc.
- Acne: This is a common skin condition, even for redheads, especially for teens and young adults or anytime there are hormonal changes.
-- Symptoms: Whiteheads, pimples on back or chest and face, blackheads, infected pores, and the feeling of wanting to hide!
-- Causes: Can be from hormonal changes, infection of the skin, oily skin or rubbed and irritated skin. Even harsh abrasive soaps, drying alcohol wipes, medicated soaps, and certain cosmetic creams or powders can worsen acne because it can block pores or irritate the skin even more.
-- What helps: Keep hair washed and away from your face. Don’t scrub at your skin. Don’t squeeze the acne or pick at it because it only makes it worse.
Washing your skin gently twice daily with warm water and a clean soft washcloth can help.
Anti-acne ointment may help but keep it away from mouth and eyes!
If your acne worsens, stays same, or is very bothersome, seek the help of a dermatologist. Sometimes prescription medication is needed and there is a lot more that doctors can offer now than years ago. Don’t suffer needlessly! Acne can be embarrassing so get help with it early to get your healthy skin back.
- Skin irritation or sunburn from sun exposure can cause blisters or chapping, pain, peeling. Don’t be afraid to seek help with the doctor!
- Rashes from lotions or creams, medications, or even poisonous plants like poison oak or poison ivy.
- Warts can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. There are treatments for these as well, so visit your physician for some help.
- Other stuff: cold sores, boils, impetigo, psoriasis, seborrhea, eczema, lice, hives, athlete’s foot, and jock itch.
SKIN PROBLEMS AND NEED HELP?
If the information on my Skin Care Tips does not help your skin condition, be sure to visit a board-certified Dermatologist (skin doctor).
Dermatology is the medical specialty that studies skin anatomy in depth, dealing with the skin and skin disease. So, IF you have a rash, itching, unusual lumps or bumps, or weird abnormal sensations that you are worried about?......see a dermatologist.
Epidermis = epi means ‘on’; derma means ‘skin’
Dermatology = derma means ‘skin’ ; -ology means ‘study of’
Albino = means ‘white’
Isn't skin anatomy fascinating?.. I think so!
CLICK HERE to see my page on tooth anatomy too!
Go to "Freckles & Melanin" | See "Skin Cancer" | Go to "Sunburn"
Go to "UV Radiation" | See "Vitamin D"
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