Most people think that body organs are all internal just like the heart, brain and the lungs. However we tend to forget about the largest organ we have and the only visible one on the outside. Wondering what it is? On average, adults tote around about 8 pounds and 22 square feet of this. By now it is already a dead give-away that we are referring to the skin.
Yes, the skin is our largest organ and it this outer covering we have does more than make us look more presentable. We have seen how gory a person can look with muscles and internal organs hanging about in films and TV shows with zombies. Did you know that without our skin we would just evaporate?
The skin serves us a great deal of purpose. It plays a role of a waterproof shield providing insulation and protection against extreme temperatures. It also shields us from the damaging effects of the sun as well as toxic chemicals. The skin also gives off antibacterial substances to fight infectious microbes and helps keep our bones healthy by manufacturing Vitamin D which is needed by the body to be able to absorb calcium. Let’s not forget that the skin is a mother sensor lined with nerves so that the brain can analyze and keep in tune with the physical world. The skin is also very versatile, allowing you to move freely.
Three layers make up the skin. The one visible to the naked eye is the epidermis or the skin’s outer layer. Keratinocytes are tough proteins which make up this layer. These tough proteins form several layers which continuously grow out as the exterior skin cells die then flake off. The process of newly formed cells to come to the skin’s surface takes about 5 weeks. The stratum corneum is what covers dead skin. This is also referred to as the horny layer. How thick it gets varies. The thickest horny layer is on your feet’s soles while the thinnest is the area around the eyes. Langerhan cells are present in the epidermis and these cells act as the immune’s system alarm system for viruses and other harmful microbes.
The second layer is called the dermis. This layer is responsible for the skin’s strength and elasticity thanks to the collagen and elastin fibers found in this layer. The dermis is also responsible for regulating our temperatures carried out by the blood vessels in the dermis. This is also where the hair follicles and sebaceous glands are found. You are able to feel sensations because of the network of nerve fibers and receptors in the dermis which delivers the message to the brain.
Subcutis or Subcutaneous Fat
The innermost layer is what we refer to as subcutis or the subcutaneous fat. In this layer, a seam of fat serves as a fuel reserve should there be any shortage in food. This seam of fat is also responsible for giving us insulation. It also serves as a cushion against falling and getting knocked down.
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