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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Describe the different functions of the skin and the structures that enable them
  • Explain how the skin helps maintain body temperature

The skin and accessory structures perform a variety of essential functions, such as protecting the body from invasion by microorganisms, chemicals, and other environmental factors; preventing dehydration; acting as a sensory organ; modulating body temperature and electrolyte balance; and synthesizing vitamin D. The underlying hypodermis has important roles in storing fats, forming a “cushion” over underlying structures, and providing insulation from cold temperatures.

Protection

The skin protects the rest of the body from the basic elements of nature such as wind, water, and UV sunlight. It acts as a protective barrier against water loss, due to the presence of layers of keratin and glycolipids in the stratum corneum. It also is the first line of defense against abrasive activity due to contact with grit, microbes, or harmful chemicals. Sweat excreted from sweat glands deters microbes from over-colonizing the skin surface by generating dermicidin, which has antibiotic properties.

Everyday connection

Tattoos and piercings

The word “armor” evokes several images. You might think of a Roman centurion or a medieval knight in a suit of armor. The skin, in its own way, functions as a form of armor—body armor. It provides a barrier between your vital, life-sustaining organs and the influence of outside elements that could potentially damage them.

For any form of armor, a breach in the protective barrier poses a danger. The skin can be breached when a child skins a knee or an adult has blood drawn—one is accidental and the other medically necessary. However, you also breach this barrier when you choose to “accessorize” your skin with a tattoo or body piercing. Because the needles involved in producing body art and piercings must penetrate the skin, there are dangers associated with the practice. These include allergic reactions; skin infections; blood-borne diseases, such as tetanus, hepatitis C, and hepatitis D; and the growth of scar tissue. Despite the risk, the practice of piercing the skin for decorative purposes has become increasingly popular. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 24 percent of people from ages 18 to 50 have a tattoo.

Tattooing has a long history, dating back thousands of years ago. The dyes used in tattooing typically derive from metals. A person with tattoos should be cautious when having a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan because an MRI machine uses powerful magnets to create images of the soft tissues of the body, which could react with the metals contained in the tattoo dyes. Watch this video to learn more about tattooing.

Sensory function

The fact that you can feel an ant crawling on your skin, allowing you to flick it off before it bites, is because the skin, and especially the hairs projecting from hair follicles in the skin, can sense changes in the environment. The hair root plexus surrounding the base of the hair follicle senses a disturbance, and then transmits the information to the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), which can then respond by activating the skeletal muscles of your eyes to see the ant and the skeletal muscles of the body to act against the ant.

Questions & Answers

what is ventricular circulation
Maryam Reply
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Sale
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Sale
what factors that affect the rate diffusion
Gift Reply
sorry what are the common meaning of haemostatis
Juma Reply
what are the negatives feedback regulation of ADH
Nansi Reply
what is the the differences between DNA and RNA?
Mustapha
The major differences between the DNA and RNA are contain of double stranded and single stranded which the DNA contain duoble stranded and RNA contain single stranded.
Juma
what are the negatives feedback regulation of ADH before this we confused just verify long term of ADH firstly
Juma
How many genes consist of DNA?
Omaryare
omaryare muhyadiin when you talk about genes, is the material formed in a DNA genes have form like plasma have many genes round there
Juma
aldosterone, renin
Conan
to know the different structures of the body To know how the body works To know more about our body parts
Deitdre Reply
hi Deitdre you tock about knowledge or you ask the question
Juma
do you need any explanation when reading this book?
janet Reply
Its Good
Hashir
yes
Balogun
Yes
Mariam
yes
Sale
yes
Mustapha
if have many ability just do it!!
Juma
compare and contrast the operation of homeostasis
Dinelle Reply
what is the difference between an ionic, polar covalent and nonpolar covalent bond?
Dinelle
In summary, the bond has different in electronegativity.
Balogun
sorry help me to get the definition of hemostasis or the meaning
Juma
the definition of distal
Dinelle Reply
farthest away from the attachment point.
felix
Distal, is the farthest possition from the origin or midle point
Juma
exercise physiologist how ?
Noor Reply
hi noorr. when you talk about physiologist its a person who study physiology but exercise physiologist is what an exercise doing by physiologist in physiologican
Juma
can I get the questions of human physiology that is present in HSC 2nd semester
Rafiullah Reply
in my lerning the question com like for example ni eassy qustion must understand the the part of the body and how it work or mechanisms of each part learned
Juma
how can I memorize
mukhtaar Reply
which part of the body produces blood
aadil
give me answer
aadil
Red blood cells are formed in the red bone marrow ofbones. Stem cells in the red bone marrow called hemocytoblasts give rise to all of the formed element
mukhtaar
what is hemocytoblasts
Fatima
hemocytoblasts are stem cells in red bone marrow which give rise the all of formed elements
Khawaja
Discuss clonal theory in physiology and its application in measles infection in a 6yr child? Can anyone help me
Isaac Reply
Capillary permeability
what do you want to know about it?
Ramsin
Hello, I want to search about the topic, information and pictures
syncitium is the property of which of the following muscle
Shahab Reply
can I get the questions of human physiology that is present in HSC 2nd semester
Sai Reply
i now madam
irpa
ha can u please send me the PDF of questions
Sai
it's important to me to have that information please send as fast as u can
Sai
me too if possible?
Ramsin
of course
mukhtaar
I want too
Nazirullah
now you want to look the format of question or because i need to explain on you?
Juma

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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