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Chapter 2 - Skin Functions

Skin has many functions, and is far more than a mere decoration for the body. Some of these functions are so important that unless most of the skin is working efficiently, we will die.

This is the reason why second- or third-degree burns are so serious. When the skin is destroyed over a large area, there is no way of controlling the rate at which water is lost to the outside environment, or of regulating the temperature of the body or of controlling infection. Someone who has lost over half the skin this way is unlikely to survive.

Although we think of the skin as a single organ, the epidermis and dermis have to some extent separate functions. The function of water conservation is however dependent on both; the role of the stratum corneum in this field is absolutely vital, as it acts as a semipermeable barrier and allows us to survive in a hostile environment.

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