The complex makeup, consisting of different layers, enables the skin to fulfil very varied tasks and functions. The skin is a very large, versatile and flexible organ that has a direct influence on the entire body. Among the skin’s most important functions is the protection from exterior influences such as pressure, heat, cold, the sun’s UV rays, chemical agents and pathogens.
Skin and its functions
The skin’s colonisation with a natural micro-flora and the build-up of a skin pH value made up of sebum and sweat can keep pathogens from spreading. If they still manage to intrude through minor damages to the skin’s surface, the immune system’s very effective defence mechanisms will counter them. Our thermoregulation is also controlled by the skin. While the subcutaneous fatty tissue protects from cold, the skin cools down the body by releasing water during sweating processes. With the help of numerous sensory cells, the skin supplies us with a great amount of information related to temperature, pain and pressure. We touch and sense our environment with the skin.
Our skin is a very resistant organ with high regenerative potential. When functioning normally, our skin renews itself every 28 days. On the other hand, it is also a very sensitive organ, the proper care of which is of great importance to our health. Our mucous membranes have a similar significance. Their main function, apart from absorbing nutrients and secreting the metabolism’s secretions and waste products, lies in the protection from unwanted intruders. Defence cells of the immune system are located in the mucous membranes. Inlaid glands produce secretions that cover the surface like a film. This mucus makes the skin slippery and protects it from chemical, mechanical and thermal stimuli. Due to its physical and chemical makeup, this special surface offers direct protection from pathogens.