Your “Skin.” One of the most amazing organs in/on the human body.
Your skin is not what we normally think of when we hear the words essential organs. This “body sock” that we are blessed with is such an everyday part of what we see. This makes it it is hard for us to think about skin as an organ.
This casual way we view and treat our skin shows that we don’t appreciate how important it is.
Would you put your liver out on a towel on a hot sunny day and leave it most of the day, turning it over occasionally?
When you go out to the garden, would you leave your kidneys out in the direct sun while you weed and water? Not cover your kidneys or add sunscreen, even though you are sweating to beat the band?
No, you know that these actions can have serious results. But, how do you treat your skin when you go to the beach for the day? Or when you work in your garden or the yard?
Skin, And It’s Importance
Your heart, liver, and kidneys. Yes, those are organs.
So, skin is an organ too. When you look at the dictionary definition of “organ” as this definition from the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary states an Organ is:
a) differentiated structure (like a heart, kidney. An obvious part of the whole but performing a separate purpose. ) consisting of cells and tissues and performing some specific function in an organism
b) Bodily parts performing a function or cooperating in an activity.
Without your skin doing its body sock protection thing, you might have trouble keeping everything in place in your body. As well as keeping out the disease and germs and viruses, just the dirt that lives around us.
So this definition makes your skin an organ.
Your skin is made up of very specific cells and tissues. The specific purpose of your skin is to be the barrier or fence between “you” and “the world”.
Basics Of Your “Skin”
One reason your skin is different from a lot of other organs?
Your skin does have to deal with all the stuff in the real world. Germs, heat, cold. Help keep your body temperature regulated so you can function. Your body sock is an important organ and deserves better care.
To keep you safe, your skin is loaded with sensors. These sensors detect what is happening, and send messages to move your hand, the stove is hot.
Your skin is made of very tough layers. This design is what makes your skin able to deal with the realities of the world you live in. Like the wear from your collar rubbing your neck. The dangers from sunlight. Being out in cold weather.
Have you taken a look at a cross-section of typical skin (like the skin on your arm or leg)? You will see that it is made up of two main layers:
The epidermis on the outside.
With the dermis on the inside.
Now, How The Epidermis Figures In This
The epidermis is the barrier.
And, the dermis is the layer containing all the “equipment or tools.” Tools like the nerve endings, your sweat glands, hair follicles, and so on. The image at the start of this article is a snippet of what it looks like.
In the subcutaneous layer, you can see the blood vessels. (Those 2 thin red and blue lines in the image.)
These vessels branch into the dermis layer of your skin to supply your sweat glands, your hair follicles. Also your sebaceous glands and the muscles that help you stand and hold yourself erect in your back.
Your hard-working blood vessels also fan out into the dermis’s capillary bed. The dermis is loaded with capillaries. Your capillaries deliver the nutritional needs of the cells in the dermis.
And these capillaries keep working by helping your skin perform important cooling functions in humans like sweating The dermis is where the functions of the capillaries are taking place.
Just remember that the epidermis layer of your skin does not have a way to move blood through this layer of the skin. It is maintained and fed through the blood that flows through the dermis layer of your body sock.
This is why a small break in your skin, cut or scrape may not bleed. It may seep a little watery-looking blood-like fluid.
Each layer of our skin is dependent on the others.
What Is Your Dermis Layer Is Doing
The dermis contains your sweat glands, hair follicles, (each has its own tiny little muscle so that your “hair can stand on end”!) nerve endings, and so on.
Just to remind you about how the nerve ending work, here are several different types of nerve sensations that your body feels and are important to keep you safe.
- You recognize when you are hot that you are heat sensitive.
- Cold sensitivty is also easy to recognize.
- Have you realied that you are also pressure sensitive?
- Then, have you considered that you are also itch sensitive?
- Don’t forget that you are also pain sensitive.
With all these different nerve endings, you are able to sense the world around you.
These senses also help protect you from burns, punctures, and other injuries. This protection happens because your senses are warning you when something is damaging your skin.
Are you aware that sunburn can reduce your ability to be as sensitive to the different dangers in our everyday world?
Losing just one of the senses can affect your everyday world and how you can stay safe. Do you have your sun blocking clothing ready to keep your skin working well to protect you?
The Epidermis Is How You Can Live In This World
The epidermis is your connection to the world.
Remember that your skin contains2 layers? There is an epidermis, which also has 2 main layers. You have the inner layer which is living.
Then you have the outer layer, which is dead. These dead skin cells of the outer layer are what we can actually see. They are constantly flaking off to be replaced by new cells being pushed outward.
As long as the skin cells stay healthy, the layers reproduce themselves with no problem. However, when the cell is injured and the DNA is destroyed, the skin doesn’t heal back correctly. Scars are an example of DNA destruction and the loss of the cell’s ability to heal correctly.
This is the natural cycle of how your skin protects you. The dead cells have to be removed to allow the healthy ones to live their life cycle.
A Tan is a layer of dead skin cells. It will not last forever. It only has an 8 to 10-day cycle. If you do not keep tanning and risk burning your skin with too long in the sun time, your tan will soon fade.
So, you are risking increasing your chances for skin cancer for a few days of tan? Now that you know how important your skin is, why risk it? Your health and your continued wellbeing are too important.
Sami’s Take On “Your Skin”
While the information in this article is probably not news to you, it is information you should be reminded of. Especially if you are still not taking care to protect yourself from the sun.
Your body sock is strong and capable. However, it can be damaged beyond repair. You can lose your sensitivity to be able to protect yourself.
More and more antiinflammatory disorders are recognizing the sensitivity to the sun. These conditions are seldom 100% cured. You can often control flare-ups, some. But rarely do they disappear, once they develop.
Skin cancer is a loud and present danger when you are careless with your protection from the sun.
You can make a lasting difference by taking care of your skin. A sun hat, sunglasses, and a loose-fitting UPF shirt can get you on the road to great sun protection for your skin.
Help your family develop sunburn prevention habits. You can all live a healthier life.