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 The skin

By Dr. Sergio López Salamanca

The skin is considered the largest organ in the human body. Its weight in an adult is about 5 kg (11lb) and its thickness varies and may be very slim as in the eyelids which only measures 0.5 mm. ( 0.01 in) or very thick as in the heel where its thickness is as much as 4 mm (0.15 in) .

The skin is often considered an organ of less importance so that it does not always get the care it requires. Although the skin is the largest wrap on the body, it is not its only or even necessarily the most important of its functions. The skin takes on the role of protective barrier between the body and the surrounding environment and allows communication between the organism and the environment.

The skin structure is formed of three layers: the top or outermost is the epidermis where the cells that pigment the skin are located; the dermis, which lies immediately below the former layer and is formed by a large number of fibers giving it elasticity; and finally the hypodermis or subcutaneous soft tissue formed mainly by fatty tissue that facilitates the movement of the skin and body temperature control.

It is through the skin that we can exercise the sense of touch, as it is in this organ that the structures that allow us to perceive fine touch, pressure sensation and the sensation of heat and cold are located, as well as the follicles responsible for the formation of the hair, the sebaceous glands that produce the protective fat tissue of the skin, the sweat glands that produce sweat, which moistens the skin, as well as blood, lymph vessels, and a lot of nerve endings. It is through the skin that such structures can have functions such as body temperature regulation and immunological protection.

Skin health is important since its operation is vital for our body. The risk of skin damage is very high because it is located on the outside of our body which exposes it to a lot of aggressions from the environment in addition to those that can get through the inside of the body. The great enemy of the outer skin is the sun and the prolonged exposure to radiation. Injury occurs as discoloration, burns, premature aging and predisposition to the presence of skin cancer. Among the domestic factors that damage the skin are inadequate diets, poor fluid intake, smoking and alcohol consumption.

Skin care should be a daily habit, the best way to do this is by cleaning it with mild soaps without performing aggressive action such as aggressive rubbing. Avoid exposing it to radiation or harmful substances and protect it from the risk of injury. Remember that the application of any medication on the skin can cause undesirable effects so it is advisable to consult your doctor before applying one.


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