1. The skin is the covering of the body. It has two layers, the outer, called the cuticle, and the inner, called the true skin.
2. A substance called pigment is found between the two skins. This gives the skin its color.
3. The true skin has blood-vessels and nerves, but the cuticle has no blood-vessels and very few nerves.
4. In the true skin are glands which produce sweat, and others which make fat, or oil.
5. The nails are really a part of the skin. They are firm and hard, and protect the ends of the fingers and the toes.
6. The hair grows from the true skin. The hair is made soft and glossy by oil from the oil glands of the skin.
7. The skin is a very useful organ. It removes waste matters, it breathes, it absorbs, it has feeling, and it protects the body.
HOW TO TAKE CARE OF THE SKIN.
1. Uses of the Pores of the Skin.—Many years ago, at a great celebration, a little boy was covered all over with varnish and gold leaf, so as to make him represent an angel. The little gilded boy looked very pretty for a short time, but soon he became very sick, and in a few hours he was dead. Can you guess what made him die? He died because the pores of his skin were stopped up, and the sweat glands could not carry off the poisonous matter from his body.
2. Cleanliness.—Did you ever know of a boy who had his skin varnished? Not exactly, perhaps; but there are many boys who do not have their skins washed as often as they ought to be, and the sweat and oil and dead scales form a sort of varnish which stops up the little ducts and prevents the air from getting to the skin, almost as much as a coat of varnish would do.
3. The Sweat Glands.—The sweat glands and ducts are like little sewers, made to carry away some of the impurities of the body. There are so many of them that, if they were all put together, they would make a tube two or three miles long. These little sewers drain off almost a quart of impurities in the form of sweat every day. So you see that it is very important for the skin to be kept clean and healthy.
4. Bathing.—A bird takes a bath every day. Dogs and many other animals like to go into the water to bathe. Some of you have seen a great elephant take a bath by showering the water over himself with his trunk. To keep the skin healthy we should bathe frequently.
5. When we take a bath for cleanliness it is necessary to use a little soap, so as to remove the oil which is mixed up with the dry sweat, dead scales, and dirt which may have become attached to the skin.
6. It is not well to take hot baths very often, as they have a tendency to make the skin too sensitive. Bathing in cool water hardens the skin, and renders one less likely to take cold.