Assignment on Human Biological Science

Describe the effect of aging on normal physiology of the skin.

The normal physiology of skin:
The skin which is also known as the integumentary system is the largest organ of the body. The skin is composed of hair, oil, sweat glands, nails, and sensory receptors. The skin’s health plays an important role in protecting the body’s organs, acts as the primary protection against germs as well as protects the bones and muscles. In order for the integumentary system to perform its function, it works with other systems in the body. All systems have their roles to play to maintain the internal conditions so that the body can function properly. (“Integumentary System – Science NetLinks,” n.d.)
The skin has two distinct layers the more superficial layer is the epidermis which is avascular and acts as a waterproof barrier. It is made up of a number of cells that have important functions. The cells include keratinocytes; the most common cell that provide the skin with strength and act as a barrier. Melanin is the pigment that gives skin colour. The melanin pigment also protects the cells of the epidermis from sun damage. The Langerhans cells play an important role in the body’s immune response against foreign materials and infections. (Gerrard J. Tortora, 2014)
The Dermis is the deeper vascular layer which is made up of dense irregular connective tissue and is composed of collagen and elastin fibers. It is made up of two regions; the papillary region being the more superficial and the reticular region being the thicker and deeper region.
The dermis has great strength and is able to stretch and recoil. Within the dermis, the vast majority of cells are the fibroblasts, macrophages, and adipocytes. The fibroblasts are responsible for generating connective tissue and allow the skin to recover from injury.
The macrophages are a type of white blood cell who destruct bacteria and other harmful organisms. The adipocytes store energy in the form of fat. They also insulate and act as a cushion to the body. (Gerrard J. Tortora, 2014)
Following are the various functions of the skin:

  • Protection: it protects in various ways an example is keratin, known as the protecting protein protects skin from harmful substances and infection.
  • Thermoregulation: regulates our body temperature a prime example is it excretes sweat from out eccrine glands in response to body temperature rising.
  • Cutaneous sensation: nerve ending and receptors distribute sensations such as touch, pressure, and vibrations which are distributed throughout the skin.
  • Excretion and absorption: excretion eliminates some secretory substances out of the body such as salts and ammonia and urea, which are a result of breaking down in proteins. Absorption into the skin is performed by lipid- soluble materials such as fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Synthesis of vitamin D: is responsible for producing vitamin D in response to sunlight exposure vitamin D is important for calcium abortion into the body. (Gerrard J. Tortora, 2014.P 142-149)
  1. Effects of aging on the normal physiology of the skin.
    The skin aging process is inevitable as it results in changes in appearance, both internally and externally. Internally visibly aged skin shows a decrease in epidermal thickness resulting in wrinkles. The connective tissue reduces the skin’s strength and elasticity which is noticeable in areas exposed to the sun. There is a decrease in the number of melanocytes, therefore, a loss of pigmentation which makes the skin appear blotchy. The amount of Langerhans cells also decrease in the epidermis resulting in a lowered immune response for the skin. The kernelization process slows down which results in a dryer and thinner epidermis. Intra-epidermal macrophages decrease and become less active which can result in grey hair and skin pigmentation. Phagocytes ability to provide immunity decreases and hair follicles stop producing hair. (Dzwigałowska, Sołyga-Żurek, Dębowska, & Eris, 2013)
    The majority of changes in the skin comes from the dermis which loses thickness. This is due to the fibroblasts, the cells which provide the body with elastin. Collagen the blood vessels become weaker which results in bruising and bleeding beneath the skin. The sebaceous glands produce less sebum as aging occurs which results in the skin being dry and itchy. Reduced amount of sweat is produced which can result in heat stroke as body temperature is no longer regulated thereby disturbing the homeostasis. Hormonal changes are also a contributor to the skin maturation process, especially for women going through menopause as estrogen levels decrease which result in the decrease of lubrication, thickness, and healthy-looking skin.
    External factors of skin ageing include UV radiation, environmental pollution, and improper care. Whilst aging is inevitable environmental aging is largely preventable. Sun exposure is the most damaging environmental factor. It causes wrinkles and sun spots. Excessive sun damage speeds up collagen breakdown resulting in attacking free radicals that attack collagen, melanin and elastin cells thereby increasing ageing of the skin. Due to all these contributions, aging skin is more prone to pathological condition. (Gerrard J. Tortora, 2014. P 161).
  2. Acupuncture treatment for ageing skin
    Acupuncture is most commonly known to relieve pain. However, acupuncture can affect many other roles within the internal and external body. The aging of skin is one of the problems acupuncture can reduce. This is performed by a treatment called the microneedle therapy system. The treatment involves making multiple holes in the skin. This process is known to improve the skin’s condition by reducing flushing and melanin. It can stimulate fibroblasts and induce collagen synthesis. A new therapy called the Jae-Seng method allows the practitioner to control the depth and direction of the needle thereby ensuring targeting at the precise location Studies have shown that the microneedle approach has improved the factors of aging in the skin such as wrinkles, elasticity and smoothness. (“Preliminary study in the evaluation of anti-aging cosmetic treatment using …: Discovery Service for Endeavour College of Natural Health Library,” n.d.)

Dzwigałowska, A., Sołyga-Żurek, A., Dębowska, R. M., & Eris, I. (2013). Preliminary study in the evaluation of anti-aging cosmetic treatment using two complementary methods for assessing skin surface. Skin Research and Technology, 19(2), 155–161.
Gerrard J. Tortora, B. D. (2014). Principles of anatomy & physiology (14th Editi).
Integumentary System – Science NetLinks. (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2018, from
Preliminary study in the evaluation of anti-aging cosmetic treatment using …: Discovery Service for Endeavour College of Natural Health Library. (n.d.). Retrieved September 13, 2018, from

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