What is dermis and its function?  

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    We may be familiar with healthy and radiant skin of the face since most beauty industries revolve around that. Do you know that skin is the largest organ of the body? To think that only the face of the skin seems the most important one to be taken care of since it is much visible and considered important for looks, it is quite unfair to think that way because skin of the body serves more purposes beyond that. Ask a doctor and you may know how interesting the skin structure can be.

    In this article, we will be focusing part of the skin, which is the dermis. Roughly, the skin is divided into three layers. The most outer layer is the epidermis, followed by dermis and the most inner layer is the subcutaneous layer. Dermis is the thickest layer of the skin, made up of fibrous and elastic tissue. Most components of the dermis contain collagen and a small portion of elastin. The dermis contains nerve endings, blood vessels, hair follicles, sweat glands and oil/sebaceous glands.

    Mainly, the dermis acts to support the epidermis which enables the skin to function well. The dermis plays various roles to the skin due to the presence of many small structures. These roles make the dermis have numerous functions, such as:

1-  Detecting various stimuli such as touch, temperature, pressure and pain. The nerve endings enable such stimuli to be detected and give sensation. Number of nerve endings differs to different areas of the skin which ultimately provide different degrees of sensitivity.

2-  Production of sweat. This helps to cool down the body when the sweat containing water, salt and other chemicals evaporates off the skin. The specific sweat glands called the apocrine sweat glands, only present in the armpits and genital region. If you wonder why body odour smells quite smelly, you can definitely blame this sweat area as the thick and oily sweat produces such body odour when the skin bacteria act upon it.

3-  Keeping the skin moist. The sebaceous gland produces sebum, a barrier made up of fat called lipid. The sebum or the oil locks in moisture in  the skin from escaping and acts as a protectant against foreign substances such as irritants or harmful microorganisms from damaging the skin.

4-  Regulation of the body temperature. The hair follicle works as a heat insulator. In other words, all of the body hair, even the little and tiny one holds heat which helps a person to not be easily affected by cold environments. The blood vessels also play a role in the body thermoregulation by decreasing the blood which is already warm, to flow to the skin through constriction and help minimise loss of heat from the body during cold temperature. Inversely, in the hot environment, the blood vessels dilate to increase release by increasing the circulating blood near the surface of the skin.

5-  Providing nutrients for the skin. The blood vessels supply the skin’s cell and tissue with nutrients for skin to thrive. Consuming vitamin B and antioxidants can help strengthen the blood vessels and promote better blood flow of the skin.  

    To make sure the skin functions properly, it is essential to take care of it by preserving the skin’s health. This can be done by making sure the skin is always moisturised and avoiding harsh soaps. These can help retain moisture and help prevent dehydrated skin which can be the main source for most skin issues. It is best to talk with a dermatologist or doctor on how to keep your skin healthy and age gracefully.

Also read – Dengue Prevention.