Abstract 1999-1
Spiewak R.
Wplyw czynnikow srodowiskowych na skore.
Medycyna Srodowiskowa 1999; 2 (1): 11-15.


[Influence of environmental factors on the skin]

Besides taking part in relevant processes of metabolism and homeostasis, the role of the skin is to protect internal organs against hostile environmental factors. Especially in the working environment there is a broad range of factors detrimental to the skin. In this article, a review of environmental factors and their effect on human skin has been presented.

Skin is exposed to physical, chemical and biological factors ranging from UV radiation to bacteria and fungi. Physical factors are kinetic energy, high and low temperatures and radiation. Repeated microtraumas may evoke various clinical forms of chronic dermatoses. Prolonged exposition to cold or heat may result in irreversible ultrastructural changes in the skin. Also UV radiation causes progressing degeneration of the skin which may be initial phase of skin cancer. Biological factors may be divided into infectious and non-infectious agents. There are numerous infectious agents in soil, water and air. Some plants produce volatile substances with irritating or allergizing properties. Also small particles of plants and animal dander may provoke allergic or immunotoxic reactions in the skin. In contrary to the biological factors, chemicals are mostly a new appearance in the evolution of mankind, therefore the skin seems less capable to protect the body against their influence.

KEY WORDS: skin, environment, biological, chemical, physical factors.

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