Articles Posted in The Skin

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Before I get to the topic in the headline, here’s a quick story: As I’ve written about in past blog entries, even the most mundane situations inside the home can result in third-degree burns. Another example came to light this week in Worthington, VA, where a routine cooking accident severely burned a man and damaged much of the home.

It was this simple: A visitor to the home accidentally splashed oil from a deep fryer onto the stove and onto the floor. Unfortunately, the oil landed on the visitor’s hands and feet, instantly causing second- and third-degree burns that required treatment at the West Penn Burn Center across the state border. Furthermore, the splashed oil also caused the window curtains to catch fire. Fire crews from four towns had to respond to the fire. The family now lives in a hotel temporarily, thanks to the American Red Cross.

Now for the good news that this blog’s title refers to. The web site InHabitat.com reported this week that scientists from the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine are advancing in their goal to regenerate more of a person’s own healthy skin to repair burn damage on another part of the body. Inspired by, of all things, the typical office printer and its ink cartridge, the research team believes it could soon “print” human skin.

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The cold weather blanketing much of the United States in this first week of February is causing many incidents of fire as people try to keep warm. For instance, in suburban New York, five firefighters were hospitalized with smoke inhalation after battling a basement house fire. One of those firefighters was in critical but stable condition and undergoing hyperbaric chamber treatment before going into the intensive care unit.

A local fire marshal said the blaze was not suspicious; the fire broke out around lunchtime and took about an hour to get under control. The firefighters were injured while in the basement, where there was a sudden eruption of flames, said one police detective. A fire chief added that “the fire at one point flared up on them,” probably from a rush of oxygen that came into the basement from a door or an area of wall being opened to the outside. See a video of the fire here.

The lesson here: If you have a fire in your home, it is best to simply close the door to the room where the fire is burning and immediately go outside your home to call the fire department — do not try to put out the fire yourself! In fact, closing a door or window as you leave will actually help to starve the fire of the fuel it needs to burn — oxygen.

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The Dermis:

This is the second layer of the skin under the epidermis, it cushions the body from stress and strain, this layer contains nerve endings, sebaceous glands, sweat glands, hair follicles and blood and lymphatic vessels.

The nerve endings in our dermis tell us how things feel when we touch them; they work with our brain and nervous system so that the brain gets the message about what we are touching. The dermis is also full of tiny blood vessels that keep the skin cells healthy by bringing them oxygen and nutrients they need and by taking away waste. The sebaceous glands secrete sebum which is an oily matter that keeps the skin lubricated and water proof, these glands are present throughout the skin except the hands and feet; they are in greatest abundance on the face and scalp. The sweat glands help in the regulation of body temperature by releasing sweat through pores on the skin. The hair follicle grows hair and attached to it is the sebaceous gland; about 50-100 hairs are shed daily from a normal scalp.

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The skin is the largest organ in the body that has many important functions which include the following:

  1. It protects the body from infection by preventing the invasion of harmful organisms.
  2. It protects the body from dehydration by preventing the loss of excessive fluids.