Monday, 6 February 2012

2.88 Skin Response

Describe the role of the skin in temperature regulation, with reference to vasoconstriction and vasodilation.

There are many different types of sensors on the skin such as pain sensors, touch sensors, pressure sensors and temperature sensors which we will focus on.

Our body keeps our body temperature constant at about 37 Degrees Celsius and thermoregulates in order to keep the body temperature in this range. This is also known as homeostasis.

If the surrounding temperature is too cold:

  • Vasoconstriction happens as capillary narrows which decreases the flow of heat to the skin
  • We stop sweating as we lose heat in this process as well
  • We shiver to increase heat production in the muscles
  • Hair erects in order to trap a warm layer of air and to avoid heat from escaping.
If the surrounding temperature is too hot:
  • Vasodilation happens where the capillary is widened which carries more blood to the surface which heat can be transferred out.
  • Sweating occurs which decreases body temperature

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