The Human Skin: An Overview

The human skin may be soft but it is the outer cover of our bodies and it protects us not only from the elements but also from disease.

In an anthropological sense, the human skin speaks volumes about us. The pimples on one’s face, the sunburn after going to the beach, how it glows, its color, how healthy or unhealthy it looks –the skin is a window to what we have been doing, which region in the world we are from, to what kids of food we have been eating.

The human skin is part of the integumentary system and is the largest human organ too.

What are the functions of the human skin? Aside from being an anatomical barrier from diseases, the skin also aids in sensing our surroundings. It contains various nerve endings that help us differentiate hot and cold. It also helps us sense touch, vibration, and pressure. These nerve endings also send messages to the brain when we get injured especially when we get scratched or suffer from a wound. If you are interested in knowing more about these functions, you can research about the somatosensory system.

Another function of the skin is that it regulates the heat our bodies emit and makes sure that we do not suffer from too much energy loss. The human skin gets a lot of blood supply. In fact, it gets more than what it really needs but this functions as a way to control energy loss through radiation. The science behind it involves dilation and constriction of blood vessels. The latter conserves heat in the body so the more blood there is on the skin, the more protection it can offer us.

The skin also controls evaporation. Without this function, our skin would suffer from burns.

The skin also helps in excreting urea but also helps in absorbing medication when we are sick.