Anatomy of Your Skin
Your skin is the largest organ on the human body and quite a hero when it comes to defending your body. It creates a protective layer against heat, light, the environment, injury and infection. It also helps regulate the body’s temperature; stores water, fat and Vitamin D; prevents entry of bacteria; and acts as a sensory organ. Did you know that on average, an adult has between 18 and 20-square feet of skin, which roughly weighs six pounds?
There are 3 layers to your skin:
- Epidermis: This is the outermost layer that sloughs off dead skin cells and acts as a protective barrier against foreign bodies, infections and the sun. It also contains the cells (melanocytes), which are responsible for skin pigmentation.
- Dermis: This middle layer houses hair follicles, sebaceous (oil) glands, sweat glands, capillaries (small blood vessels) and lymph vessels and is held together by a protein called collagen. Sweat glands are part of the body’s cooling system. The dermis also contains touch and pain receptors.
- Subcutaneous: This is the deepest layer of skin containing larger blood vessels and nerves. It is made up of a network of collagen and fat cells and plays an important role in the manufacture of Vitamin D, protecting against injury and conserving body heat.