Author: Selena Belisle, Owner/Instructor, CE Institute LLC, Miami FL
Skin Facts & Basics plus its Vital Role to the Human Body[i]
Even at its thickest point, our skin is only a few millimeters thick. Yet it is still our heaviest and largest organ, making up about one seventh of our body weight: depending on your height and body mass, it weighs between 3.5 and 10 kilograms (7.5 and 22 pounds) and has a surface area of 1.5 to 2 square meters. This goes to show how important skin is for your body and metabolism.
Skin has a lot of different functions. It is a stable but flexible outer covering that acts as barrier, protecting the body from harmful things in the outside world such as moisture, the cold and sun rays, as well as germs and toxic substances.
Just looking at someone’s skin can already tell you a lot – for instance, about their age and health. Changes in skin color or structure can be a sign of a medical condition. For example, people with too few red blood cells in their blood may look pale, and people who have hepatitis have yellowish skin.
Skin also plays an important role in regulating your body temperature. It helps prevent dehydration and protects from the negative effects of too much heat or cold. It allows your body to feel sensations such as warmth, cold, pressure, itching and pain. Some of these sensations trigger a reflex, like automatically pulling your hand back if you accidentally touch a hot stove.
Skin also functions as a large storeroom for the body: the deepest layer of skin can store water, fat and metabolic products, and it produces hormones that are important for the whole body.
If skin is injured, the blood supply to the skin increases in order to deliver various substances to the wound so it is better protected from infections and can heal faster. Later on, new cells are produced to form new skin and blood vessels. Depending on how deep the wound is, the skin can heal with or without a scar.
The skin consists of three very distinctive layers to be able to do perform its many required functions. Those three layers are:
- the outer layer (epidermis)
- the middle layer (dermis)
- the deepest layer (subcutaneous tissue aka hypodermis)
Depending on where it is on your body and the demands made on it, your skin varies in thickness. The thickness of your skin depends on your age and sex too: older people generally have thinner skin than younger people, and men generally have thicker skin than women.
Author Selena Belisle is the Founder of CE Institute LLC in Miami FL. She is a retired professional athlete and has been practicing massage therapy for over 30 years. Selena is an approved CE Provider with NCBTMB & the Florida Board of Massage. She now teaches full time for the Complementary and Alternative Health Care Industries. You can learn more about Selena’s training and CE classes at www.CeInstitute.com
[i] “How Does Skin Work?” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 28 July 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072439/.