Structure & Function of Skin

Firstly, our skin is the largest organ in the body in both surface area and weight and is attached to our nervous system.

It covers the whole body and is water resistant along with protecting and shaping the body. It is our interface with the world - this is where the outside and inside link.
Our skin is like a human raincoat. On the outside, it alerts us to pain, sensation and danger so that the body can respond and remain in what is known as homeostasis - a stable physiological state. Inside it alerts us to stress and illness and keeps water inside the body - we are made up of 70% fluid.

Skin has three layers:

1. The epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, that we can see, provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.
2. The dermis, the layer beneath the epidermis is the active layer and contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.
3. The deeper subcutaneous tissue, hypodermis, is made of fat and connective tissue.


1. Sensation - It works with our brain, the cerebrum, the part that interprets and perceives conscious sensations like pain, heat and cold.
2. Heat Regulation - It helps maintain body temperature, 37 degrees Celsius.
3. Secretion - The skin secretes sebum, a natural lubricant. When combined with perspiration it creates our skin’s pH (potential of hydrogen).
4. Absorption - Some chemical substances can pass through the skin like drugs (hormone patches) and essential oils.
5. Protection - It acts as a barrier against bacteria.
6. Produces Melanin - It helps protect against UV light damage to the skin tissue.
7. Manufactures Vitamin D - Which is essential for the formation of bones and is stored in the liver.
8. Elimination - Excretes toxins through the skin, via the sweat glands, in the forms of salt and water.

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