Anatomy of the Skin – what is skin and what does it do for us?

Love the Skin You’re In

basic anatomy of the skin epidermis dermis stratum corneum fibroblastsNaturally healthy skin is more than just a big old bag that keeps your insides inside. The skin is the body’s largest organ, weighing as much as a small dog (around 5 kg or 11 lb) in adults and measuring around two square metres (22 square feet). As a complex homeostatic system, the skin regulates body temperature and hydration. The skin also plays a major role in protecting the body against infection, produces melanin to absorb ultraviolet radiation, eliminates excess oils, toxins and other substances, and produces vitamin D. The anatomy of the skin, including nerves and blood vessels, also alerts us to painful stimuli and even reveals our inner emotional state through things like blushing, turning pale and sweating.

Understanding the Anatomy of the Skin

The health of the skin is influenced by what you eat and drink, the medications you may take, shampoos, body lotions, soaps, cosmetics, and even the clothing you wear, as well as by environmental factors such as air pollution, humidity, sun exposure, wind, and daily knocks and scrapes. Understanding how the skin functions, and how it can reflect what is happening on the inside of the body, means that you will never look at spots, wrinkles, dry skin, psoriasis, or rosacea in quite the same way again.

The Skin as Sentinel

Many internal diseases and conditions have an effect on the skin and dermatologists are often the first to note the possibility of gastrointestinal distress, an autoimmune condition, hormonal imbalance, or other abnormality. Good habits for naturally healthy skin are usually good habits for general health and learning the secret language of your skin can offer early warning signs of infection, disease or distress.

Read on to learn more about the different parts of the skin:

The epidermis

The Dermis

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