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皮肤是用来做什么的?

What is Skin For?

与犰狳的骨板、硬穿山甲的鳞片,甚至
Compared to the bony plates of an armadillo or the hard scales of a pangolin or even the
印度象粗糙的皮肤相比,我们抵御外界的薄层表皮
tough, leathery skin of an Indian elephant, the thin layer of delicate epidermis that
看起来似乎特别脆弱。
makes up our outermost covering may seem like pretty wimpy protection from the outside world.
但是我们所要做的是仔细看一下我们光滑的皮肤
Except, all we have to do is take a closer look at a our silky-smooth skin to see that
它实际上是一个小块鳞片状护甲。这些鳞片状护甲是由相同硬蛋白质组成的,
it actually IS a small patch of scaly armor. Those scales are made out of the same hard
被称为角质。就像穿山甲和其他动物一样。当然,我们的皮肤
protein, called keratin, as the scales of pangolins and other animals. Of course, ours
更单薄一些,因此也更加脆弱。但这不是问题,因为
are a lot thinner, and therefore more fragile, but that isn’t normally a problem, because
我们不需要经常性的生存斗争。我们的皮肤也不需要非常耐磨
we don’t regularly need to survive this. Our scales also don’t have to be super durable
因为我们的身体会不断代谢更新,每天都会
because our body produces a brand new layer, composed of tens of millions of individual
产生数十亿的鳞屑。
scales, every day.
生产该盔甲的巨人,永无止境的任务是由一个同样巨大
The giant, never-ending task of producing this armor is carried out by an equally giant
皮肤细胞和永无止境的军队在底层的表皮。每一秒,大约500
and never-ending army of skin cells in the underlying epidermis. Every second, some 500
新的细胞分裂从表皮干细胞的基础和加入这支军队,
new cells split off from stem cells at the base of the epidermis and join this army,
逐渐迁移到表面的皮肤年轻细胞,推动下形成
gradually migrating to the surface of your skin as younger cells form beneath and push
他们向上。
them upwards.
顶部的旅程是一个终极的牺牲:为了形成一个保护屏障
The journey to the top is one of ultimate sacrifice: In order to form a protective barrier
你和世界之间,每个细胞都是编程系统地摧毁本身,因为它接近
between you and the world, each cell is programmed to systematically destroy itself as it nears
皮肤的表面,使用酶拆除其重要部件和转换
the skin’s surface, using enzymes to dismantle its vital parts and essentially converting
到困难,平坦的盾牌。在此过程中,它通过高度本身周围的细胞
into a hard, flat shield. In the process, it attaches itself to surrounding cells via
whisker-like预测和packets releases fill to the fat软性of spaces between一条。
whisker-like projections and releases packets of soft fat to fill the spaces between cells.
皮肤的最外层由这个鳞状网——大约15张
The outermost layer of your skin consists of about 15 sheets of this scaly mesh — as
厚的一块保鲜膜。你灵活的防弹衣形式防水和惊人的
thick as a piece of plastic wrap. Your flexible body armor forms a waterproof and surprisingly
有效的渗透屏障由细菌、真菌、病毒、和其他友好的闯入者,
effective barrier against penetration by bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other unfriendly interlopers,
而酸性脂肪的性质可以防止类似的微生物开店
while the acidic nature of the fats prevents similar nasty microbes from setting up shop
你的皮肤表面。
on your skin’s surface.
当然,在我们的皮肤很好保护我们从微观的威胁,
Of course, while our skin does a great job of protecting us from microscopic threats,
是我们的大脑,而不是我们的皮肤,这是穿山甲的鳞片的工作,帮助我们避免
it is our brain, not our skin, that does the job of a pangolin’s scales – helping us avoid
被狮子吃掉。
getting eaten by lions.

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