Skin, signifies the general covering of animal bodies.
Of all the different integuments, bestowed by Nature on organized creatures, that of mankind is doubt-most admirable : it con-- of three strata, each of which has its distinct purpose. The first, namely, k in and ; , being destitute of nerves, as well as blood-and covering the whole body. This part of the skin is void of sensation ; and consists of a se-of laminae or scales, which are increased by pressure and frict becoming much thicker in one part of the body than in another ; for instance, in the hands and whiich are perfectly callous in persons accustomed to hard labour. Ic preserves the interior parts from external injury; and, if accidentally peeled off, or destroyed, it is spon-usly renewed.
Between the scarf and the true skins, there is a second coat, termed rete mucosum, a mucous mem-brane, disposed in a net-like form ; and which may be dissolved by maceration in water ; while the texture of the two former remains unaltered. This membranous substance contains the colour of the different nations of the globe.
The third integument is called the cutis vera, or true skin, and consists of numerous fibres, which are closely interwoven, so as to form a thick membrane which admits the filaments of the nerves. The surface of this skin abounds with numerous papillae or small glands, possessing a most exquisite sensation, and thus forming the sense of Touch, or feeling.
The skin is one of the most important parts of the human frame On account of its being the seat of exhalation and absorption, it greatly contributes to the healthy state of the system ; as it is the general outlet of insensible perspiration. Hence the indispensable necessity of paying strict attention to cleanli-ness; for the contrary conduct will prevent the absorption of the viral particles from the atmosphere, and consequently lay the foundation of various maladies. Thus arise the numerous eruptions, which are at present exceedingly prevalent; but which might easily be avoided, by a due regard to temperance, as well as by frequent bathing, or regularly washing the surface of the body.
The human skin, especially that of females, in the temperate cli-mates, is naturally white and delicate ; but, as age approaches, its, elasticity and activity are, in a great measure, impaired: hence the desire of beautifying and improving " that index of health and years" has become universal. So long, indeed, as this desire does not exceed the limits of modera-tion, it is highly laudable; but, when the affectation of beauty in a manner absorbs the mental faculties, it becomes a pursuit unworthy of rational agents : nay, the most improper measures are eagerly adopted, with a view to repel or to conceal the approaching symptoms of decrepitude. - Designing perfumers, and empirics, have availed themselves of this " universal passion;" so that they impose their pernicious compounds on the giddy and undiscerning, who seldom see the folly of such practices, till their complexion, constitution, and fortune, are equally exhausted. - See also Cosmetics.