Skin. It's all over you, and you can't see anything else. What it is for? How does it work? And why?
Your skin is the biggest organ in (or on) your body. It is huge compared to your other organs. Only your liver comes close to it in weight and mass. It's appropriate, then, that both organs share some purposes, acting as filters for the toxins you are constantly encountering.
Skin is made up of layers, each layer doing a different task. The outside layer of the skin, the epidermis, is the thinnest. It is the layer that makes you waterproof, and it also allows your body to shed dead skin cells. The layer beneath this is the dermis, which containcs hair follicles and pores or sebaceous glands. These excrete sweat, oils, and hair. Each excretion serves a different purpose.
Your skin acts as a barrier to keep the outside world from harming your delicate internal organs. While skin seems thin in spots, and delicate, it is actually a thick covering that is water- , sun-, and wind-proof. If you have ever had a toothache you know the pain that comes from an exposed nerve. Your skin covers every surface nerve ending on your entire body, and gives your senses a cushion, so that your nerves can react to stimuli without getting overwhelmed.
The oils your skin secretes keep it supple and waterproof. They also allow your skin to stretch when you move around. Areas like joints, where there is a lot of movement, have a type of skin that is more elastic and thicker than other areas. Areas like your armpits, that have friction between two body parts, have more hair follicles and more sweat glands, to reduce friction.
Skin also uses sweat glands to filter out toxins and salts. In a day, the average person sweats out about half a gallon to a gallon a day- and with heavy exercise, this can even double! The skin uses sweat to excrete salts from your body. Wheyou exercise, your body begins to unleash toxins and salts from the cells where they are stored. In order to take some of the load off of your other filtering organs, like the liver and kidneys, your skin takes up the slack and pushes the toxins out in the sweat glands.
Skin varies in thickness, but all parts of your skin contain; nerve endings that can detect heat, pressure, and movement, melanin, to protect against the wear and tear of UV light, sweat and oil glands to lubricate and regulate the body temperature, capillaries to feed each skin cell, and dead cells that are about to be shed.
If there is dust in your home, a large part of it is the dead skin cells shed by your skin. This dead cell layer helps your skin protect itself against wear and tear, so constant exfoliation can age the skin or damage it.
Skin starts out very elastic and strong. Over years of constant stretching, just like a rubber band the skin will lose its elasticity. When this happens it begins to wrinkle and sag. Many people inject their skin with chemicals or other things to stretch it taut again. Botox and other remedies for wrinkles do not actually make the skin more elastic again, they simply stretch it out or paralyze the underlying muscles, giving a temporary appearance of taut skin.
Keeping yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water, and more when you exercise, washing the skin often and exfoliating occasionally, and avoiding toxins in your diet will all help your skin stay healthy and do its job. Your skin is arguably the most important organ you've got; without it, all the rest would be exposed and in danger. So take care of your skin as if your life depended on it!