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How does skin protect the body?

Updated on April 4, 2017
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The skin is the largest organ of the human body. It covers the body from head to toe.It is responsible for many vital functions of the body.

The skin holds together the entire human body as a single entity. It plays a major role in protecting and keeping our body healthy.

The human skin is made of three layers -

  • epidermis
  • dermis
  • subcutaneous layer

The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin. It is the very first layer of protection for the body. It protects the body from external damage.This layer also has pigments that determine the color of the skin.

The dermis is the layer below the epidermis. This layer has connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.

The subcutaneous layer is made up of collagen and fat. This layer cushions the body and acts as a shock absorber.

Each layer of the skin protects the body in different ways.

Barrier against germs

The skin has many embedded hair follicles. The root of the hair is embedded in these hair follicles. Each of the follicles has two sebaceous glands or oil glands on either side.

The sebaceous glands produce an oily substance called sebum. The sebum keeps the skin from drying out and cracking. It also helps to retain moisture within the skin.

When the skin dries and cracks, germs can easily enter through the openings and infect the body.

The sebum also makes the skin acidic.This helps to kill the germs because germs cannot survive in an acidic medium.

Protection from UV Rays

The skin has cells that produce melanin. These cells are called melanocytes and are found at the base of the epidermis. When skin is over-exposed to the sun, then these cells produce a pigment called melanin that helps in absorbing the harmful UV rays of the sun.

Helps to respond to sensations

The dermis layer of the skin has nerve endings embedded within. These nerves receive stimuli from the brain and sends back signals to the brain.

Nerves are responsible for the different sensations felt by the skin, they also help the brain to decide the course of action to be taken by sending and receiving signals to and from the brain.

For example, when you touch a hot object your brain commands you to remove your hands from the object or when you receive a shock the brain commands you to let go.

Regulates Temperature

Your body is protected from extreme heat or extreme cold by the skin. Skin plays a vital role in maintaining a constant body temperature. Your body can be overheated or become very cold without the skin.

The skin has roughly about 2.5 million sweat glands. These sweat glands produce sweat when the temperature of your body rises above 35 degrees centigrade.

When you run around or workout your body becomes hot. When this happens pores on the skin open up, and the heat is let out of the body in the form of sweat. This helps your body to cool down.

When the weather becomes extremely cold, then the pores on the skin close and prevent heat escaping from the body. It also helps to keep the body's essential fluids inside without evaporating.

Skin also helps by pulling in the muscles around the hair shaft so that the pores on the skin close to prevent heat from escaping. This is why we get goose pimples when it is very cold.

Protects the immune system of the body

Skin protects the immune system of the body. It is the first layer of protection and acts as a barrier against infections. The skin has special immune cells called Islets of Langerhans that destroy the source of the infection. It also protects the body by filtering out the infection source.

References

health.howstuffworks.com

nursingtimes.net

livestrong.com

sciencekids.co.nz

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      The human body really is remarkable, is it not? Great information about this wonder organ that we call skin.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Truly amazing of how the skin protects the body, an interesting and informative hub.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Where would we be without our skin? :)

      Great information.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, how fascinating! This is a great extensive hub here about our skin! I, for one, would not want to think about us without our skin! LOL

      Voted up ++ and sharing

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Very informative..Interesting write..

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      billybuc thank you and skin is amazing and does it's best to protect and care for the human body.

      DDE thank you, skin is amazing indeed!!

      tobusiness just imagine humans without skin!! We would be real scary!! Thank you.

      Faith Reaper yes we are better off without thinking that way!! Thanks for the vote and share.

      always exploring thank you for stopping by. Have a great day.

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 4 years ago from The City of Generals

      Very informative. Our skin then has been working too hard for our body. Just so essential to give it the best care and treatment. Votes up and useful. Thank you Vellur.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Tonipet thank you and yes our skin works very hard. We have to take good care of our skin.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

      Nithya,

      I read this in my biology class, but had quite forgotten. I found this useful and informative.

      Thanks

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Very interesting indeed.

      Have a great day.

      Eddy.

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Vinaya thank you, am happy my hub reminded you of school!!

      Eiddwen thank you, you have a great day too.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      This is so interesting to read on the skin and its protecting the body. I can see how the oils moisturize our body. So fascinating about the sweat and goose pimples!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      teaches12345 skin is does a lot and works 24 by 7. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Vellur,

      The skin is a fascinating organ that everyone needs to take good care of. You have outlined the skins functions well and the importance of it, great job! Voted +++ useful, interesting & shared!

    • Vellur profile image
      Author

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Suzie HQ thank you. Yes skin is fascinating in all aspects. Thanks for the vote and share too.

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