Functions of the Skin

Functions of the Skin (A Review)

The Skin

Lets review some basics about the skin. Sometimes a review helps us keep what should be obvious in perspective.

Protection: (From bacterial invasion and against external elements)

1. Protection from external environments like water, chemicals as well as mechanical forces, bacteria and viruses as well as ultraviolet radiation.
2. The skin prevents excessive loss of fluids and electrolytes always striving for homeostasis
3. It assists in Immunological response
4. The skin produces sebum which is a lipid-rich oily substance that is secreted by sebaceous glands. It provides an acidic coating and retards the growth or organisms
5. Melanin helps protect against Ultraviolet rays. Exposure to sunlight increases melanin production. Melanin production can depend on race and amount of exposure to sunlight

Holds the Body in Shape

* Along with other structures such as muscle, bone and cartilege, the skin helps keep our “shape”

Sense the environment, basic types of sensations

The skin has receptors within it that enable the brain and body to ‘feel’. These sensations are:

1. Pain
2. Touch
3. Temperature
4. Pressure

Retain Water

* The tightly packed cells of the stratum corneum provide protection against water loss. It helps hold it all inside the body.

Maintain Temperature- Thermoregulation

The skin assists the body maintain consistent temperature. This is called Thermoregulation.

1. Primary Mechanisms- Through Circulation and Sweating the body is able to regulate temperature
2. Blood vessels that suply blood to the skin can dilate (vasodilation) so that heat is caarried by the blood to the skin where it can be diffused into the air. Conversely, it can constrict (vasoconstriction) to prevent heat loss through the skin once body temperature has stabilized.

Immunological Response

* White Blood Cells (WBCs) in the skin can capture and destroy the bacteria that is invading the epidermis

Expressions and Emotions

1. The skin helps with the identification of a person
2. The skin plays a role in external and internal assessments of beauty
3. The skin lends to body image importance


* When exposed to ultraviolet B radiation from sunlight, cells in the epidermis convert cholesterol-related steroid to Vitamin D also known as cholecalciferol. The general result is the maintenance of Calcium and phosphorus levels in the bone and blood

Sometimes reviewing some of the basics about the skin or your profession can go a long way. It can help you have a better insight into caring for the skin. Remember the skin is the largest organ of the body. For more information about becoming wound care certified, please visit our Registration Page

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