Skin: the mirror of life At a size of 1.5 to 2 square metres, the skin is the human body’s largest organ. It has the greatest number of nerves and accounts for up to 20% of the body weight. It performs various complicated bodily functions such as regulating heat, protecting the body against infections and environmental influences, and preventing it from drying out. It is therefore extremely important that it can function properly, yet the skin is much more than “just” an organ: skin is the contact with the outside world.
The skin comprises of three layers (epidermis, dermis and subcutis) which all have different functions. The thickness of the skin differs depending on the area of the body. The skin on the face or the back of the hand is much thinner than that on the thigh, for example.
Epidermis : protection and immune organ
Despite being very thin, the top layer of the skin (epidermis in Latin) acts as the body’s protective shield. The epidermis is the layer that people perceive as skin. It is responsible for protecting the body from various external influences such as UV rays or pollutants. An intact epidermis stops microorganisms like bacteria from getting into your body and prevents your body from drying out. The epidermal cells constantly renew themselves and have a life cycle of approximately one month, when they die and detach themselves from the skin’s surface layer.
Dermis : network and transport system
Attached to the epidermis, the dermis is situated directly beneath. It is thicker than the outer layer of skin and is very strong, elastic and tear-resistant owing to its collagen and elastin fibres. Unlike the epidermis, this layer comprises nerve cells, blood and lymph vessels. Among other things, the dermis is responsible for sensing touches such as stroking, pressure, pain, temperature or even itching. The blood vessels in the dermis also regulate the skin’s heat.
Subcutis : the skin's fat storage
The subcutis primarily consists of fatty tissue, which stores energy, protects the body against the cold and acts as padding. This skin layer varies in thickness depending on where it is in the body. The body’s hair roots, sebaceous and sweat glands can also be found in the subcutis.
The Scarring Process: Why do scars form?
Every injury leaves behind marks in the form of scars. If an injury is only superficial or minor, these scars are often barely noticeable. If a large section of the skin is affected or the injury extends to the deep layers of the skin, this can lead to very distinct scars and major hindrances in day-to-day life. Each patient deals with their scars differently, with the story behind the scars playing a great role. The aim of scar therapy is not just to recover movement, but also to restore aesthetics. Be they large or small, scars can have a major effect on a person’s quality of life. Every scar can therefore be treated to have the greatest possible influence on the quality of the scar.