After the brain, the skin is the most important of all our organ systems. It is the oldest, largest and most sensitive of all our vital organs. It is the mirror of the body’s functioning; it’s colour, texture moistness, dryness and all it’s other aspects reflects the state of our psychological and physiological health. One would have thought that the amazing versatility of the skin, it’s tolerance of environmental changes, and it’s astonishing temperature regulatory capacities, as well as the outstanding efficiency against the insults and assaults of the environment, would have made clinical research into it’s physical functions an urgent priority. Montague (1983) reveals that it has only been since the mid seventies that there has been a remarkable explosion of interest and research on the functions of the skin and sense of touch is receiving the interest and research that it deserves.
Most of us take our skin entirely for granted, except when it burns and peels, breaks out in spots, or perspires unpleasantly. It is waterproof, dustproof and miraculously, as we grow old, it is always the right size.
It is almost always used as a metaphor for survival. In life and death struggles, the observers lose no skin off their backs/ the lucky escape by the skin of their teeth/ the losers are flayed alive / rubbing people up the wrong way/
Through life, the skin is in a constant state of renewal; every four hours or so, the skin forms 2 new layers of cells which shed at the rate of more than a million every hour. In adults it covers an area of about 2 square metres (22 sq feet) and weighs 4.5 to 5kgs, (10 – 11 lb), and ranges in thickness from 0.5 to 4.00mm depending on location.
A piece of skin the size of a one dollar coin contains more than 3 million cells, 100 to 340 sweat glands, 50 nerve endings, and 3 feet of blood vessels. We cannot live without it. (link here for more functions of the skin)