The skin is a very important organ of your body. It’s the first line of defence in keeping things out, and the last for keeping things in. It helps to regulate body temperature and also allows us to feel our surroundings through touch, such as whether something is smooth, sticky or sharp, and sensations such as pain, heat or cold: otherwise known as haptic perception. Touch is detected via receptors and nerve endings.
The most sensitive areas to touch are the hands, feet, lips, tongue and genitals. It’s not just the skin that feels though, the organs and joints in the body can also register pain to the brain, for example if you’ve overdone it in the gym and have pulled a muscle.
With an area of approximately 20 square feet, it’s easily the largest organ of the body. It is made up of three layers: the epidermis, dermis and hypodermis (also known as the subcutaneous tissue).
The outermost layer, called the epidermis, creates a waterproof barrier to the underlying layers. We shed this entire outer layer every 2 - 4 weeks. Vitamin D is made in the epidermis by the pigment cell keratin, as the outer layer of the skin is where the sunlight (used to create it) contacts the body. The body also sweats through the epidermis layer, something unique to mammals, and is used to regulate body temperature but also to dispose of unwanted chemicals.
The middle layer is called the dermis and is where you will find most of the skin receptors, hair follicles, capillaries and nerve endings. It is otherwise known as the “true skin” because it is where all the structures of the skin are found and where the vital functions of the skin take place.
Finally, the hypodermis, the deepest layer of the skin. Its job is to help with insulation and storing energy by the fat that it is made from. Larger blood vessels lie here, and it is also where the skin attaches to the tendons and muscles beneath it via connective tissue. The skin’s colour pigment called melanin is produced by special cells here, too.
Skin-related AnatomyStuff resources:
The Skin and Common Disorders Chart / Poster - Laminated
The Skin Chart - Paper
Understanding Skin Cancer Chart / Poster – Laminated
Pressure Ulcer / Bedsore Model Set (Dark)
Skin Cancer Model (8 times life size)
Precancerous and Cancerous Skin Lesions Disk Set
Skin Burn and Normal Skin Anatomical Model