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Getting Comfortable in Your Own Skin—and Its Many Layers

The skin is made up of multiple layers, called epithelial tissue. Underneath this epithelial tissue are muscles and other organs. The largest of your body’s organs, an average adult’s skin has a surface area of up to 21 square feet (6.4 square meters) and a thickness that ranges from 0.01 inches (0.2 mm)—the eye lid—to 0.24 inches (6 mm)—the sole of the foot.

Just as the thickness of skin varies, so does its appearance. Skin pigmentation varies among populations and across ages, as does its texture, moisture content, and firmness. Before we dive into how diet can help our skin radiate beauty, let’s take a closer look at the skin’s structure and functions. To start with, let’s examine each of the skin’s three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. Each layer plays a role in your skin’s appearance.

Multitasking Organ

The skin is an organ of many functions. It’s a barrier to protect the body from the environment; a temperature regulator; an immune organ to detect infections; a control mechanism for evaporation; a sensory organ to detect temperature, touch, and vibration; a player in vitamin D production; and a visible signal for social and sexual communication.

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