September 16, 2003
Skin is the largest organ of your body. If you could peel off and weigh the average adult's skin, it would weigh between 6 and 8 pounds and would cover about 20 square feet - about the size of a twin size blanket. Now, that's a lot of skin!
Your skin has many important jobs. This super organ is waterproof, helps keep germs out, helps regulate your temperature, protects your inner organs, and helps you "feel" things. In fact, you couldn't live without it!
The part of skin you
see when you look at your body or in a mirror is called the epidermis.
of your Skin
When you go out in the sun, your body makes more melanin to try and protect you from getting sunburned. Melanin is where your suntan comes from! But, melanin alone isn't enough protection for your skin. You need to help protect your skin by protecting it with sunscreen, covering up with clothing or just chilling in the shade.The Dermis
The second layer of your skin is called the dermis. It is a lot thicker than the epidermis. This layer of skin contains the pits, or follicles where hairs grow. This layer also has the sweat and oil glands, blood vessels, nerve endings and fat, all of which help keep your skin healthy. There are also flexible fibers called collagen running through the dermis, which give your skin its strength and elasticity. As you get older, the collagen in your dermis gets tougher, and the skin is less flexible. That's why older people have lines or wrinkles on their bodies. It's because their dermis is getting tougher!
Sebum, produced in the sebaceous glands located in the dermis layer of your skin helps keep your skin lubricated and protected. But, like many things, too much of a good thing can turn into problems. The "extra" oil combined with bacteria and those dead skin cells that your body is always shedding can clog up your pores, which leads to a pimple, otherwise known as a "zit."
Experts say the best thing you can do for a pimple is to leave it alone. Don't pop it or pick at it. You could make it a lot worse by causing an infection or a scar. The pimple will only last for a little while - but a scar is with you for a lot longer! The best way to reduce your chances of getting pimples is to simply wash your face twice a day with mild soap and water. If you have a bad case of acne you might check out the creams available at your local pharmacy or talk to your family doctor.
Getting Hot in Here!
When we get overheated, our bodies need to lose heat. Our skin helps us lose heat by expanding the blood vessels in the skin to let heat escape and also by pouring on the sweat. When your hot, your body produces more sweat. Sweat helps take the heat away from the skin as it evaporates helping our bodies cool down. Just think of it as your own personal air conditioning unit!
When our bodies are cold, our skin stops heat from escaping by constricting the blood vessels and using the muscles in the hair follicle to make the hair stand up straight to form goose pimples. The goose pimples help trap a layer of warm air over our body. Our muscles also shiver to help make extra heat to warm us up.
third layer of skin