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The Anatomy of Skin & What You Should Know

What exactly is skin? Is it an organ or just this thing that covers our bodies? What is our skin’s purpose? Read on to learn more about this fascinating organ and how our skin’s health can help determine the health of our body.

Our skin is actually the largest organ in/on our body. Altogether, our skin is approximately 20 square feet! Our skin’s main purpose is to protect our organs against the elements and against germs… it is the frontline defender for our bodies! Without our skin, we would not survive.

Everyone’s skin is made up of two main layers and then a fatty layer. The main layers are the epidermis and dermis, and the fatty layer is the hypodermis. Each layer contains multiple cells, nerves, and components such as pores, sweat glands, blood vessels, keratin, and much more. The epidermis is the waterproof layer that you see on your body. This layer also contains our pores and the cells that create the pigment of our skin tone. The dermis is right beneath the epidermis and contains our connective tissue, sweat glands, and hair follicles. The final layer is made up of deep subcutaneous tissue that contains fat and more connective tissue.

Your skin can help give doctors and healthcare professionals an inside view of your health. A person that is red and flushed may have a fever due to a virus or an infection. Someone who has goosebumps in a hot environment may be suffering from heat exhaustion or even heat stroke. Rashes, moles, cysts, and more can be warning signs of something more serious going on inside your body. For example, a mole that has recently changed may be a sign of melanoma, a butterfly-shaped rash on your face can be a symptom of an autoimmune disorder called lupus, and a cyst or boil may actually be a serious infection such as MRSA.

Every time you bathe or shower, you should examine your skin for any changes. If you notice any rashes or areas of your skin that appear to be changing, keep an eye on the area. You may also want to consider taking a photo to help track any changes. Make sure you discuss any areas of concern with your family doctor at your next appointment.

 

Disclaimer: This blog pro­vides gen­eral infor­ma­tion and dis­cus­sion about medical, cosmetic, mohs, and surgical dermatology. The words and other con­tent pro­vided in this blog, and in any linked mate­ri­als, are not intended and should not be con­strued as med­ical advice. If the reader or any other per­son has a med­ical con­cern, he or she should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed dermatologist or other health care worker.