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Measuring and Protecting Skin

Author(s): Nancy P. Moreno, PhD, Barbara Z. Tharp, MS, and Judith Dresden, MS.

The Science of Skin

In this activity, students learned the following points related to global resources.

  • Skin is a vital part of the body. Skin protects inner body tissues and helps us to communicate (through the sensory system) with the outside world. The skin also helps maintain a constant body temperature by aiding in cooling (through perspiration and increased blood flow to the surface) and heating (by reducing blood flow near the surface). The skin is comprised of different layers. The top layer, the epidermis, consists of an inner layer of living cells and a outer layer of compacted dead cells. Skin color is determined by cells called melanocytes, located near the base of the epidermis. The lower skin layer, the dermis, is fibrous and gives strength to skin. Most nerve receptors, which capture information from the outside world, are located at the top of the dermis or the base of the epidermis.
  • Skin must be protected from sun damage. Skin requires protection from damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning lights, which can cause premature wrinkling and loss of skin elasticity, as well as skin cancer. Sunburns and suntans both are evidence that skin has been exposed to too much harmful radiation. 


Funded by the following grant(s)

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

My Health My World: National Dissemination
Grant Number: 5R25ES009259
The Environment as a Context for Opportunities in Schools
Grant Number: 5R25ES010698, R25ES06932


Houston Endowment Inc.

Foundations for the Future: Capitalizing on Technology to Promote Equity, Access and Quality in Elementary Science Education