The role of your skin

We wouldn’t be who we are without our skin

  • It protects us from the outside world
  • Maintains our body temperature
  • Creates essential vitamin D

Skin has a large amount of nerve fibres and nerve endings that enable it to act as a sensory organ. But it’s also sensitive and needs our care and attention to stay healthy.

a female washing her face

The structure and function of the skin

Our largest organ has three distinct parts:

  • The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin having quantitatively the dominant keratinocytes. The stratum corneum is the most external part of the epidermis and serves as a physical barrier, protecting the body against external aggressions such as cold temperatures, UV and infections. The rest of the epidermis mostly serves the role of producing the skin barrier.
  • The dermis, the middle layer, which contains the blood vessels which supply the outer layer. The dermis also contains hair follicles, sweat glands and nerve endings.
  • The hypodermis (subcutis), the deepest layer, and the thickest part of the skin, which contains fat cells. These form an energy reserve and allow the thermal regulation of the body.
A happy family on the beach

The role of the skin in protection

The role of skin is to perform a wide variety of functions to form an effective barrier which comprises of physical, the chemical ⁄ biochemical (antimicrobial, innate immunity) and the adaptive immunological barriers.

Skin helps in the protection of body from various physical and chemical reactions and act as a barrier to the exterior environment

  • It protects the body from friction and impact wounds with its flexibility and toughness.
  • Harmful chemicals, bacteria, viruses and ultraviolet light are also prevented from entering the body by the skin.
  • It also prevents water loss and regulates body temperature by blood flow and evaporation of sweat.