Getting to Know the Skin Better ( The Subcutaneous Fat Edition)

In the past we have written about the epidermis and the dermis. Of course we would not skip discussing the third layer! What is the third layer of the skin? It’s the subcutaneous fat!

All About the Subcutaneous Fat

The subcutaneous fat layer of the skin plays a very important role. As the name suggests this layer of the skin is made mostly of fat. Do not be wrong into thinking that having fats in the body is not good. We need fats to survive. What we do not need is too much of it. The fat layer of the skin is what keeps your body warm. It is also responsible for absorbing shocks such as when you bang into something or fall down. Without the subcutaneous layer, your skin will not be held by the tissues underneath it.

Your Hair Grows from Way Down Under

You see your hair come out of the skin and it seems that your epidermis or the outer layer of the skin is where they grow. But the truth is hair starts growing in the subcutaneous layer. Your hair grows out of a tube called a follicle and each follicle is actually rooted all the way down in the subcutaneous layer. Your hair then continues to grow up through the dermis and out of the epidermis.

You only have a few places in your body which do not have any follicle at all. Do you know which areas? Check out your skin and see which areas do not have hair. Your lips, your palms, and the soles of your feet do not have follicles which is the reason why hair do not grow in these areas. But for the rest of your body, follicles abound. Can you gues which area of your body has the most number of follicles? It’s your head! The number of hair follicles on your head is actually more than 100,000.

The subcutaneous fat layer of the skin helps keep the body warm but can your skin cool you down? Definitely! The skin actually can warm you up and cool you down as well. This is yet another pretty amazing thing about the largest organ that we have. The skin actually will cool down your body if you are feeling too hot and will warm you up if you are too cold. The skin has the ability to keep your body just in the right temperature so you do not overheat or freeze. To keep you at the right temperature your blood vessels, sweat glands and hair work together! That’s pretty smart.
Our body has its own thermometer called the hypothalamus and the skin reacts to its messages. When you are too hot, your skin signals the sweat glands to produce sweat to cool down your body. Your blood vessels also react by bringing warm blood nearer the skin’s surface to release the heat. This is the reason why some people’s faces get all flushed when they are hot.

So what about when you are cold? You probably know what goosebumps are. Such happens when your blood vessels narrow and drive warm blood away from the skin’s surface so that your body does not end up losing much heat.

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