NurseAsk Nurse Lisa


Did you know that your skin is an organ? It’s actually the largest organ in our bodies, even though its thickest is only a few millimeters! There are three layers to your skin: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer.

New skin cells are created in the deepest layer, and slowly migrate up to the epidermis at the top. Because your skin is exposed to so many different environmental factors, your skin cells die and renew themselves all the time.

The color of a person’s skin is determined how much melanin is in their skin. Melanin protects your skin from UV rays and is produced in melanocyte cells found in the epidermis.

As the largest organ and the outermost layer of your body, your skin has many different functions. Your skin creates a protective layer around the outside of your body, keeping your bodily fluids in, and keeping microbes and other substances out. Your skin protects your organs from the sun and the cold as well! In addition to protecting various parts of your body, your skin houses the receptors responsible for the sense of touch. When these receptors are activated by something, like a dog’s fur, they send that information through nerves to the sensory part of your brain. Finally, the skin acts as a storage place, housing water, fat, and other important metabolic molecules at its deepest layer for later use.

Written using information from the NIH National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, the FDA, and the NCBI.

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