Functions of the skin

The skin: a protective organ

  • The skin protects against:
    • mechanical assaults (knocks and pressures),
    • chemical assaults,
    • UV rays (through melanin),
    • pathogenic agents through the immune cells in the dermis and the epidermis.
  • It regulates the internal temperature of the body to 37°C by its insulating role but also through sweating and IWL (Insensitive Water Losses, i.e. evaporation of water from the surface of the skin) and provides the balance for water and mineral salts.
  • It detects external stimuli (touch, pressure, temperature, pain etc.) through the different receptors which are present on its surface.
  • Through exposure to UV rays from the sun, it produces vitamin D which plays an essential role in the body as it enables calcium to be absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract and to bind to bone.