In zootomy and dermatology, skin is an organ of the integumentary system composed of a layer of tissues that protect underlying muscles and organs. As the interface with the surroundings, it plays the most important role in protecting against pathogens. Its other main functions are insulation and temperature regulation, sensation and vitamin D and B synthesis.
Skin has pigmentation, provided by melanocytes, which absorbs some of the potentially dangerous radiation in sunlight. It also contains DNA repair enzymes which reverse UV damage, and people who lack the genes for these enzymes suffer high rates of skin cancer. One form predominantly produced by UV light, malignant melanoma, is particularly invasive, causing it to spread quickly, and can often be deadly. Human skin pigmentation varies among populations in a striking manner. This has sometimes led to the classification of people on the basis of skin color. See the article on human skin color.
Mammalian skin often contains hairs, which in sufficient density is called fur. The hair mainly serves to augment the insulation the skin provides, but can also serve as a secondary sexual characteristic or as camouflage. On some animals the skin is very hard and thick, and can be processed to create leather. Reptiles and fish have hard protective scales on their skin for protection, and birds have hard feathers, all made of tough Î²-keratins. Amphibian skin is not a strong barrier to passage of chemicals. A frog sitting in an anesthetic solution will quickly go to sleep.
The skin is often known as "the largest organ in the human body". This applies to exterior surface, as it covers the body, appearing to have the largest surface area of all the organs. Moreover, it applies to weight, as it weighs more than any single internal organ, accounting for about 15 percent of body weight. For the average adult human, the skin has a surface area of between 1.5-2.0 square metres, most of it is between 2-3 mm thick. The average square inch of skin holds 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 1000 melanocytes, and more than a thousand nerve endings.
Skin is composed of the epidermis and the dermis. Below these layers lies the hypodermis(subcutaneous adipose layer), which is not usually classified as a layer of skin.
The skin must be regularly cleaned. Unless enough care is taken it will become cracked or inflamed. Unclean skin favors the development of pathogenic organisms.
Functions of the skin are disturbed when it is dirty and it becomes more easily damaged. The release of antibacterial compounds decreases. Dirty skin is more prone to develop infections. Cosmetics should be used carefully because these may cause allergic reactions. Each season requires suitable clothing in order to facilitate the evaporation of the sweat. Sunlight, water and air play an important role in keeping the skin healthy.
The skin supports its own ecosystems of microorganisms, including yeasts and bacteria, which cannot be removed by any amount of cleaning. In general these organisms keep one another in check and are part of a healthy skin. When the balance is disturbed, e.g., by antibiotics which kill bacteria, there may be an overgrowth and infection by yeasts. The skin is continuous with the inner epithelial lining of the body at the orifices, each of which supports its own complement of flora.
Your skin is your armor, your shield from the elements. Yet when was the last time you really thought about what you need to do to take care of it? Throughout your life, genetic and environmental factors will cause a lot of wear and tear to your skin. But you are never too young or too old to start taking care of your skin.
In fact, skin care and protection should be an essential part of your health, fitness, and beauty regime. If you take care of your skin, your skin will take care of you! If your stuck in a skin care rut, or if you are just looking to learn a bit more about the basics of skin care, read on to learn more about this important step in your daily activities.
The first step to taking care of your skin is preventing damage. Sun, wind, pollutants, and simply aging can degrade the condition of your skin. Common complaints include dry and itchy skin, wrinkles, sagging, color changes, and age spots. There are steps that you can take to keep you skin looking and feeling its best.
Exercise, rest, and good nutrition lay the foundation for beautiful, healthy skin, inside and out. A proper diet is not only good for your overall health, it also helps to ensure that your skin will receive all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that it needs to maintain and repair cells. Drinking purified water is another good way to keep your skin healthy. Water helps to hydrate the skin and move waste and nutrients through the system. It is very effective mixing a teaspoon or capful of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar in with your water. Do not drink Tap Water.
When you do use soap, try using a natural very mild soap that does not contain any dyes, parabens or perfumes. Follow up the bath with a moisturizing lotion, concentrating on problem dry areas. A good all natural moisturizer is one of the foundations for a healthy skin care regimen. Continue moisturizing throughout the day to keep skin healthy. Your hands and face are particularly susceptible to daily damage, and may need to be moisturized several times.
Unless your skin is very oily, you will want to use a moisturizer everyday to keep your skin hydrated and healthy. Your skin needs moisturizer all year long as both the indoor winter heat, and summer sun can be equally damaging to your skin.
Use a natural sunscreen when possible, regardless of whether or not you plan on spending much time in the sun. The sun's rays are very damaging and if you get in the habit of applying sunscreen everyday, you will never be left without protection. The suns most beneficial rays occur at sunrise and sunset.
For people seeking solutions to severe damage that has already been done to the skin, there are a number of treatments available ranging from chemical peels and dermabrasion to the latest and technologically advanced, computerized laser resurfacing. However, many people looking for skin repair are hesitant to try chemical or laser peels due to the painful procedure and long recuperation period they have to undergo. The results of these procedures however, are fantastic.
The important thing to remember when seeking out treatment for your wrinkles is to know first how your body can possibly react to the treatment. Get in touch with a skin doctor for things that you are not sure of, but are contemplating on trying out.
Information in this document about Skin care named Skin and the sense of touch is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. The information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments of Skin care. Additionally, the manufacture and distribution of herbal substances are not regulated now in the United States, and no quality standards currently exist like brand name medicine and generic medicine. Talk about Skin care to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.