The body’s first line of defence

The skin’s vital role in keeping you healthy 

 As the first line of defence against the world, your skin plays a vital role in keeping you healthy: it protects you from injury and infection; it helps control your body temperature; it produces vitamin D from the sun’s rays; and it enables you to sense the world. That’s why it’s so important that you keep your skin healthy. By taking care of your skin you help your skin take care of you.

Protection

Healthy skin protects you against external threats, such as sunlight, cold weather, viruses or bacteria. Your skin provides your body with a robust barrier of protection from injury and infection.

Temperature control

The blood vessels, hairs and sweat glands in your skin play a vital role in managing your body temperature. When you are hot, the blood vessels in your skin expand, you start sweating and your hairs lie flat. This mechanism helps in lowering the temperature of your body. When the weather is cold and you need to retain heat, your blood vessels tighten, you sweat less and your hairs stand on end in an attempt to trap warm air around your body. 

Vitamin D production 

When sun rays hit your skin cells, vitamin D is produced. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, which is vital for bones and muscles. However, sunlight is a double-edged sword. The ultraviolet (UV) light in the sun can cause skin damage, both immediately as a sunburn and over time as sun-damaged skin such as solar keratoses.

Sensation

Your skin is home to numerous nerve endings and receptors that sense changes and allow you to feel objects, sense pain and pressure, and differentiate hot from cold.