Thursday, 24 October 2013

Skinny Love.

Skin is a weird one. It stretches as we grow, it is self healing, it's waterproof and it keeps us from falling apart (which is the main reason why I love it!).

But in all seriousness, our skin is something short of a masterpiece!

Skin is the largest organ of all mammals. It is not made of just singular layer; there are several different layers all with distinct properties and functions to carry out. As we are humans, I am going to focus on the human skin.

The main functions of human skin are to provide protection from the external environment; to aid in the control of our core body temperature; to allow us to feel our environment and gain information from touch receptors; and finally for the storage and synthesis of vital vitamins (like the synthesis of vitamin D from UV light).

The layers which make up the human skin are the Epidermis, Dermis and the Subcutis. The main role of the Epidermis is to form a basic protection to outside microbes and pathogens and to give a waterproof layer to our bodies. The layer below the Epidermis, is the Dermis. The Dermis, is made mainly from connective tissues such as collagen, elastic and reticular fibres. It bears the strain placed upon the body and acts as a sort of cushion layer. The subsequent layer, the Subcutis' main function is to act as a linker from the skin to the the bone and muscle below.

Skin also comes in a wide range of colours and this is thanks to a little pigment called Melanin. The main role of Melanin is to absorb UV light emitted from the sun. Melanin can be traced back to the Amino Acid Tyrosine. So what does Melanin actually look like? Well from under a microscope it looks like a very small brown freckle with a diameter of less than 800nm. As Melanin's main role is to protect from the sun, it is obvious that those with a darker skin tone are more protected from the sun than those with fairer skin. However as an amazing adaptation, with the exposure to sun, the amount of Melanin, increases in the skin (giving the appearance of a tan).

So the next time someone pokes you, remember that it is your marvellous skin which is acting as a barrier from such an external force, and marvel in the wonder of skin, and think SKINNY LOVE!

Explorer Fact: The Epidermis is made of 5 different layers: Stratum corneum, stratum lucidum, stratum granulosum, stratum spinosum and the stratum basale.

No comments:

Post a Comment