16. Skin & Regulation of Body Temperature – ii

Regulation of heat by skin

  • The skin’s immense blood supply helps regulate temperature: dilated vessels allow for heat loss, while constricted vessels retain heat. 
  • The skin regulates body temperature with its blood supply. … 
  • Humidity affects thermoregulation by limiting sweat evaporation and thus heat loss.
  • Sweat glands in the dermis help regulate body temperature and excrete wastes. 
  • When blood vessels dilate, pores open in the skin that lead to the sweat glands. 
  • Perspiration moves out onto the skin. Thermal energy transfers from the body to the sweat on the skin.
  • Part of our skin is made up of fat. 
  • This fat serves three large purposes:
  • It helps cushion internal structures against any physical blows.
  • It acts as a food source, protecting our body from the effects of starvation.
  • It helps insulate us against cold temperatures.
  • Body is constantly generating heat as a result of its various metabolic and physical processes. 
  • At rest, such an individual is expected to increase their body temperature by 1 C every 5 minutes.
  • Vasodilation refers to the process of expanding (-dilation) the size of the blood vessels (vaso-). 
  • The now enlarged peripheral vessels of the skin allow for greater amounts of blood to flow near the surface of the skin. 
  • This allows for our body to release a lot of body heat through radiation. 
  • Radiation, in this case, refers to thermal radiation, which is the process of transferring heat through space via electromagnetic waves.
  • At the same time, if a fluid such as circulating air or water in a pool comes into contact with the skin when we are very hot, this will allow for heat loss through the process of convection.
  • If our skin touches a cold object (like a cold drink), then we will lose heat via the process of conduction, which is the direct heat transfer of heat from a hotter surface, to a colder surface touching that hotter surface.
  • The body also thermoregulates via the process of sweating (perspiration).
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