Can you scientifically make a human skin?

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The skin (Cutis) is a vital organ that covers the entire outer surface of our body. It is stretchable and elastic, separates the organism from the outside world and protects it from drying out and from damaging influences such as pathogens and sunlight. Read everything important about the layers of the skin, their functions and important diseases of the cutis!

What is the skin

The skin (cutis) is a surface organ, the largest single organ in the body. As a protective covering for our body, it covers an area of ​​one and a half to two square meters in an adult of medium size. With a thickness of one to two millimeters, the skin organ weighs around three and a half to ten kilograms. Their color changes from person to person - it depends on the amount of blood, the pigment content and the thickness of the epidermis (top layer of the cutis).

How many layers of skin does a person have?

The structure of the skin comprises three layers. From the outside in, these are:

  • Epidermis
  • Dermis or corium
  • Subcutis

Epidermis

The epidermis consists for the most part of a horny layer that flakes off to the outside and constantly renews itself from below. Read more in the article Epidermis.

Dermis (corium)

The dermis is the middle of the three skin layers. It consists of tight connective tissue and contains, among other things, sebum glands. Read more about the dermis in the article Dermis.

Subcutis

The subcutis consists of loose connective tissue with more or less stored fatty tissue. You can find out more about this in the article Subcutis.

Appendages

The skin appendages include hair, nails and glands such as sweat and sebum glands. You can read more about the latter in the article sebum glands.

What is the function of the skin?

The function of the skin is primarily to provide protection for the body. How vital the cutis is can be seen when larger areas have been destroyed, for example by a burn. Loss of 20 percent of the skin can be fatal. In addition to its protective function, the cutis also fulfills other tasks, such as as a sensory organ.

Warning, itching! The most common skin changes

  • stains

    Everyone knows spots on the skin and for many they don't matter. However, medical professionals can already recognize a lot in certain spots and have therefore given them a technical name: macules. Probably the most famous dark spots are birthmarks. Light spots appear, for example, in white spot disease. Inflammation, on the other hand, usually causes red spots.
  • Wheals

    Wheals (Urticae) are common - for example after a mosquito bite. They describe the white to reddish, itchy thickening of the skin. The body reacts to external stimuli (allergens, pressure, cold, light). Defense cells then release messenger substances and more fluid flows into the tissue. This is what causes the typical swelling. Wheals are the size of a pinhead to a coin. They appear sporadically, but can also merge into a larger rash.
  • Papules

    Dermatologists speak of papules when there is a nodular change in the skin or mucous membrane. The nodules are small: less than five millimeters in diameter. Papules can be skin-colored to reddish. Sometimes they are soft, sometimes harder, sometimes smooth, sometimes rough. Papules can recede completely on their own without leaving scars. But they can also be caused by diseases, for example warts.
  • Plaque

    These are plate-like and raised thickenings of the skin. Plaques are made up of many papules that fuse into a larger plate. A plaque measures at least an inch. Accordingly, the surface can also be soft to hard and smooth to rough here. Plaques come in a wide variety of colors and shapes. Scaly plaques are typical of psoriasis.
  • node

    Lumps can be in the skin itself or in the tissue beneath it. A lump is larger than a papule. If the lump grows in the skin, it is thickened, hardened and partly discolored. Even if it doesn't itch or hurt, you should have the change assessed by a dermatologist. Most are harmless old warts or clogged sebum glands, but white skin cancer can also cause lumps.
  • Vesicles and blisters

    Probably everyone has had a blister on their foot at some point. A blister on the skin is nothing else: a cavity filled with fluid. They sit in the epidermis or directly under it and arise after a burn or allergic reaction, for example. However, blisters are also typical of herpes. Never scratch or pierce bubbles or blisters! Bacteria can easily enter and the open wound becomes infected.
  • Pustules

    Pustules are sacs of skin filled with pus. They can arise in the top layer of the skin, but also in deeper layers. Pustules are usually reddish and the tip of the pus bladder appears white-yellow. Most pustules appear on the face, neck, shoulders, back, legs and buttocks and are sometimes very painful. The cause of pustules is often a hormonal change, for example during puberty or pregnancy (acne).

Protective function of the skin to the outside

The outer horny layer (part of the epidermis), which is saturated with fatty substances, protects the organism on the one hand from excessive water loss through evaporation. On the other hand, an intact skin prevents the penetration of pathogens and harmful substances such as chemicals. To a certain extent, it also offers mechanical protection for internal structures and organs from blows or bumps, for example.

The sweat from the sweat glands and the sebum from the sebum glands together form the so-called protective acid mantle of the skin. Its low (acidic) pH value has an antimicrobial effect: it inhibits the growth of many bacteria and fungi on the cutis.

Natural sun protection

An important task of the skin is also the reflection and absorption of sunlight through the horny layer and the skin surface film. Rays penetrating deeper are from the Melanin pigment - a black-brown to reddish dye - almost 100 percent absorbed and converted into heat.

So if someone spends a lot of time in the sun and gets tanned, it simply means that the skin has made more melanin to better protect itself from the UV rays. Incidentally, the increased melanin formation is stimulated by the UV-B component in sunlight.

Depending on the skin type, everyone naturally has more or less melanin stored in their skin. Dark-skinned people have a particularly large amount of the color pigment. Their skin is therefore less sensitive to light than that of fair-skinned people.

Another strategy to protect the skin against sunlight is the so-called Callosity: Repeated exposure to UV-B light causes the top layer of skin - the cornea - to thicken. A light callus forms within two to three weeks, which persists for weeks and improves the skin's own protection: the skin thickening reflects, filters and scatters sunlight.

The UV rays from the sun and solariums can damage the genetic material of the cells. Although the body has repair mechanisms at its disposal, it cannot always and certainly not completely eliminate the damage. Possible consequences: premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.

Protective function inside

The inward protective function of the cutis consists in the formation of antibodies. When the body's own defense system is mobilized by the Langerhans cells in the epidermis, the body pumps blood and lymph into the affected skin region. The consequences are redness, swelling and the formation of wheals. Rashes in infectious diseases such as rubella, measles, scarlet fever and reactions to vaccinations are the result of this immunological defense reaction.

Thermoregulation

A contraction (contraction) of the cutaneous vessels prevents excessive heat emission. Goosebumps serve the same purpose: They are caused by contraction of the hair follicle muscles on hairy parts of the body. As a result, the cutis forms small bumps and the fine hairs stand up. This reduces the heat dissipation.

By widening the vessels, on the other hand, heat dissipation is promoted and thus heat build-up in the body is prevented.

The release and evaporation of sweat is used for heat regulation.

Sensory perception

The sensory organ, the skin, registers stimuli such as pressure, temperature and pain through specific receptors. One speaks here of surface sensitivity. You can read more about this in the article Tactile Perception.

Other tasks of the skin

The Cutis also fulfills other functions. For example, to a small extent substances that are otherwise only excreted via the kidneys (urinary substances) are secreted via sweat glands (such as table salt). In addition, the formation of vitamin D takes place in the epidermis under the action of sunlight (more precisely: UV-B light). Its main function is to regulate the calcium and phosphate balance. Both minerals are important for building bones and teeth, among other things.

Where is the skin located?

The cutis covers the entire surface of the body. At the body orifices (mouth, nose, genital region) it passes into the mucous membrane.

Regardless of the three-layer skin structure, two different appearances of the cutis on the body can be distinguished:

The skin on the soles of the feet, the palms of the hands and the insides of the fingers runs in fine furrows that are arranged in parallel - like fine ridges. This structure is used to make the cutis rough and grippy, to give them hold. Doctors speak of the so-called inguinal skin. It makes up about four percent of the body's surface.

The skin on the rest of the body (around 96 percent of the body surface) consists of rhombic to polygonal furrows that are genetically fixed in their shape and run in characteristic lines. Hair grows out of the furrows of this field skin, and sweat glands open out via an outlet duct at the raised areas.

What problems can the skin cause?

The cutis can cause numerous problems such as abscesses (encapsulated collections of pus), boils (purulent inflammation of hair follicles) or herpes infections (such as cold sores, shingles).

Atopic eczema (neurodermatitis) is a genetic, chronic skin disease that is associated with inflammatory changes in the cutis and severe itching. It runs in bursts and can be "triggered" by so-called provocation factors. These include, for example, frequent washing, profuse sweating, pollen, animal hair, infections and stress.

Psoriasis is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that leads to scaly, itchy changes in the cutis. The knees, elbows and scalp are particularly affected. In some patients, the joints or nails can also be affected.

With contact dermatitis (also called allergic contact eczema), the skin is over-sensitive to contact with certain substances such as fragrances or nickel. Typical symptoms are redness and severe itching.

If the immune system is weak, it can lead to a fungal disease of the skin (dermatomycosis).

Warts (verrucae) are small, sharply defined growths on the epidermis. They are generally benign. The human papillomavirus (HPV) triggers the development of warts. There are different types of warts such as "common" warts (especially on the hands and feet) or plantar warts (almost only on the soles of the feet).

A birthmark (pigment nevus) is the result of an increase in pigment-forming cells (melanocytes) in the epidermis. It is also known colloquially as a mole. The predisposition to birthmarks is genetic. However, their expression is significantly influenced by sunlight. Birthmarks are mainly formed on parts of the body that are exposed to the sun.

If the sunlight is too strong, sunburn can develop - the cutis burned by the UV light. Some medications can increase the risk of sunburn because they make the cutis more sensitive to light. These include, for example, St. John's wort and certain antibiotics.

Frequent sunburns (especially in childhood) promote the development of skin cancer. The term refers to various malignant tumors of the cutis. The most important are basal cell carcinoma (basalioma), squamous cell carcinoma (squamous cell carcinoma, spinalioma) and malignant melanoma.

A common disease of the skin in adolescents is acne (acne vulgaris) - a hormone-dependent disease of the sebum glands that occurs primarily during puberty.

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