The One Human Skin Organ

The One Human Skin Organ

While we have around 79 organs, our largest one offers protection from the outside environment like no other: the skin. The skin organ itself is the second part of the double armour - microbiota is the first one. It’s composed of three layers: the hypodermis, dermis and the epidermis

The hypodermis (the deepest layer) offers protection by acting as a shock absorber, shielding bones and joints from blows or bumps. It serves as insulation, too. 

The dermis (the middle layer) comprises a dense network of tough, elastic collagen fibres. These make the skin strong, robust, and, at the same time, stretchy. 

The epidermis (the outer layer), or outermost layer of our skin, is extremely important for our double armour because it provides a waterproof barrier, protects the skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays, helps us fight germs, and enables us to sense pressure/touch. 

Working in tandem, then, this incredible double armour has three main functions: 

  1. Protecting us from unhealthy bacteria and the elements 
  2. Regulating body temperature and 
  3. Permitting sensations of touch, heat, and cold.
  1. The Protection:

Beneficial in many ways, a good bacterial diversity fights skin perturbations by restoring the delicate balance that prevents harmful bacteria from taking over. A healthy and flourishing microbiota means healthy skin. 

The double armour is also the skin’s first and most extraordinary protection against damage and aging caused by exposure to harmful UV rays. 

Disruptions to this skin microbiome armour can lead to unhealthy pathogens. This can cause irritation and conditions such as acne, eczema, and AD. 

  1. The Regulation:

The skin is your body’s thermostat. Heat makes the blood vessels of the dermis enlarge (dilate), allowing large amounts of blood to circulate near the skin surface, where the heat can be released. Cold makes the blood vessels narrow (constrict), retaining the body's heat. 

So, the dermis also works with the armour by helping to regulate your body temperature. This role - keeping the body warm and preventing excessive body heat loss – is critical to our functioning as human beings. 

  1. Permits Sensation: 

The skin’s double armour also enables our sense of touch. The dermis possesses many sensory receptors, which allow for tactile sensations and discrimination of various kinds of touch. 

Factors such as pressure differences, light versus deep, temperature, pain and itch are all discerned through neurons embedded in the skin.  

So, you have your skin’s double armour to thank for the warm fuzzies from hugs and soft, cozy blankets! 

As a stable but flexible outer covering, the skin and its double armour are crucial for our bodies. While facilitating our sense of touch, the skin serves as a barrier, protecting us from harmful things in the outside world, such as moisture, extreme temperatures and sun rays, as well as germs and toxic substances. 

As you consider your overall approach to well-being and self-care, it's evident that nurturing these layers is essential for overall skin health. Embrace your skin's double armour, protect it, and let it empower you to face the world with confidence and vitality. After all, your skin is not just an outer shield; it's the foundation of your well-being.

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