The Human Skin

skinOur skin is not unlike that of other mammals but lacks fur. Human skin is the largest organ [yes it is classified as an organ] of the body.
To illustrate this, if one were to peel off one's skin and lay it flat, not recommended, it would measure 1.5 to 2,0 metres square!
In terms of skin measuring a mere 6,5 cm square, 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes [cells that that give skin it's distinctive colour] and more than 1,000 nerve endings can be found. Quite phenomenal!
Like all other organs skin has unique functions to carry out, the 3 mains ones to be discussed below and what action can be taken if the good health of the skin is compromised.


The skin is one's first line of defence against bacterial invasion . Bacteria thrive well in alkaline conditions, so due to the secretions of the oil and sweat glands, the acid mantle of the skin is formed, being a film which acts as a deterrent. If this mantle is disturbed by high alkaline soaps for example it will naturally be restored by the skin. Having said that it is wise to choose one's beauty products that state "PH balanced , to retain a healthy medium.
Besides bacteria and other micro-organisms, cuts, sores, insect bites and an array of lesions can and will damage the skin.
To deal with pests like mosquitoes, insect repellents are useful, antiseptic creams can treat minor cuts and sores but deep injuries need medical attention. The ultra violet rays of the sun play up havoc with one's skin. Suffering from sunburn is really unacceptable these days with a host of SPF creams and lotions available.


Maintaining a healthy body temperature of 37 degrees C is essential. Heat is lost as it radiates from the body in an outward direction . This process is natural when external heat exists, but during periods of cold, the body must retain heat within. The rather thick adipose or fatty layer of the skin acts as an insulator and a rather clever action "kicks in" resulting in shivering, which occurs due to the contraction of tiny muscles that cause one's hairs to stand up erect. The chattering of teeth actually results in heat creation and the air between the upright hairs becomes warmed.
A question crops up as to why we may shiver when cold is absent, but in moments of fear and dread apparently in such cases the body reverts to a state of emergency and so excess muscular action occurs resulting in shivering.


This is a vital function of the skin, which has a protective function too. Five very specialized sensors found in the dermis react to heat, cold, pressure, pain and touch. In events of heat or cold the particular sensors are activated to deal with the condition via the nervous system.
If for any reason great physical pressure is felt on your body the relevant sensors will react. You will then be in a position to reverse this action. When pain occurs one may be able to remove the source of this if not too severe, eg a sliver of glass in the flesh can be removed, but intense pain is serious and not to be treated lightly.
Of all the 5 sensations, touch is the least bothersome. Your child takes delight in passing a feather over your skin, or you inadvertently disturb a spider web!!
Another question often arises and it makes good sense as to whether one has a sensor for itch, a common and rather irritating sensation.
Apparently not, but it is thought that perhaps the awareness occurs due to the combined action of the 5 sensors.

Lastly, our individual skins can differ vastly in colour, texture, be of an oily, a dry or even a sensitive condition.
MATSIMELA has great expertise in creating products to deal with many aspects of skin.

Pop into one of our stores & get a 'taste' & feel for yourself!