Anatomy and Physiology of Skin

Anatomy, Physiology, function and its relationship to the general health by wilhelm karo….


To be able to understand skin diseases it is necessary to know the functions of the skin in relationship to the whole body. A few words about the anatomy and physiology of the skin are necessary.

The skin is a fibrous structure varying considerably in thickness in the different parts of the body. It is covered by several layers of epithelial cells, the outer of which form the epidermis and the inner layer the dermis. Dipping down from the epidermis into the dermis are certain other epithelial structures, the hair follicles with their sebaceous glands and the sweat glands. The hairs grow from enlarged papillae at the bottom of the pits of the hair follicles. They are present all over the skin except on the palms and soles. Sweat glands are present in all parts of the skin.

The skin is the external cover of the body and it continues as the mucous membranes which line the orifices of the body. We can say that these orifices are inversions of the skin. In fact, the entire digestive tract is merely an inversion of the skin and we may say quoted from Some Human Ailments, by William Howard Hay, (George S. Harrap & Co., London, Bombay, Sydney) “that the contents of the digestive canal are really not inside the body until they have been digested and absorbed”. Considering this fact we may call the skin the reflector of the internal body’s conditions.

The skin has four functions: (1) to protect the body; (2) to regulate by its secretions of the body’s temperature; (3) to help in the respiration; (4) to help in the metabolism by eliminating poisonous slags and thus helping to keep the internal body free from pernicious accumulations.

The importance of a normal function of the skin compared with the function of other organs can easily be understood by the following facts; No human being can live (According to Hay, loc.cit.) “if the lungs do not function 5 minutes, if the skin function is suppressed 5 hours, if the kidneys do not work 5 days, or the bowels might cease to work 5 weeks”. That means that the skin stands second in importance regarding the vital part played in the body’s well-being.

We now understand the importance of keeping the skin as healthy as possible. We must be aware that all sorts of chemical debris are continually passing through the skin. It is the passage of this internal toxic material through the skin which sets up irritations or inflammation which have been wrongly classified as skin-diseases. If there are too many toxic slags in the body, nature seeks an outlet. These may be acute fever, indigestion, chills, asthmatic attacks, perspiration, or eruptions of the skin. Generally speaking, skin diseases are an expression of an internal morbid condition, mostly due to intoxication.

Every experienced physician know the relationship between asthma or neuritis and skin diseases; as long as the skin eruption is evident, that means as long as the accumulated poisonous slags are thrown out through the skin, asthma and neuritis vanish, but they reappear, as soon as the so-called skin disease is “cured” by a strong ointment. That means, that the function of the skin has been suppressed by an external application of an offensive medicament.

We must realize that all diseases are only a symptom of a toxic state of the body and that such a toxic state expresses itself through many and most different symptom-complexes.

We owe this knowledge to the famous Dutch physician, Booerhaeve, the “father of clinical medicine”, who stated:

“Keep your head cool, your feet warm and never gorge your inside.”

That especially applies to skin diseases. If we clean the whole system and give a natural diet, if we keep the colon as clean as possible, every one of the many so-called skin diseases will as readily disappear, as will many other morbid conditions, due to the internal uncleanliness.

It is always the weak organ which suffers most in consequence of accumulations of internal intoxication.

If our heritage is a delicate skin, we are liable to skin symptoms as the earliest signs of an increasing intoxication. It is in these patients that regulation of the disturbed internal balance will make the delicate skin as clear and fine as before it was affected.

Eczema and psoriasis, the most common forms of skin eruptions, will soon disappear, when the internal chemistry is almost normal.

The same applies to Acne vulgaris, a very common skin trouble, especially in young people. Every case of acne is nothing else than a symptom of an internal disorder, proving that the lungs, kidneys and bowels are unable to keep the body clear of its own irritating poisonous slags. Every boil or pimple, every carbuncle, every eruption of whatever nature means the same, excepting only the few cases due to external effects, such as bites of various insects or snakes, poisoning by ivy, or local application of chemical irritations directly to the skin. (Hay, loc. cit.)

Wilhelm Karo
Wilhelm Karo MD, homeopath circa mid-20th century, author of the following books - Homeopathy in Women's Diseases; Diseases of the Male Genital Organs; Urinary and prostatic troubles - enlargement of the prostate; Rheumatism; Selected Help in Diseases of the Respiratory System, Chest, etc; Selected Help in Children's Diseases; Diseases of the skin.