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Science
UNDER THE SKIN
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Edi Stark lays bare the secrets of the skin.
Tuesday 11 & 18 March 2003 9.00-9.30pm

The skin is our only visible organ, and the largest.†It indicates our health, protects us from harm, senses both pain and pleasure, and faces more abuses than any other part of the body. In this two-part series, Edi Stark explores its biological functions and psychological significance.

Skin


Programme 1: The Outer Layer

A glance at our skin can reveal more than we would wish: our age, state of health and an insight into our emotional state. Our skin is the layer through which we face the outside world - there both for our own protection, and for presenting to others. Without it, we would be dead in a matter of hours. In this programme, Edi discovers the impact of the everyday assaults and hazards to which our skin is subject, from microscopic bacteria to the UV rays of the sun. She finds out where those "ridges and furrows" of age come from, and uncovers the skinís remarkable capacity for healing. But when the skin is damaged or doesnít function as it should, the effects can cause severe discomfort - both physiological and psychological, as Edi discovers when she meets Lorna Gibb, a chronic eczema sufferer.

Listen again  Listen again to Programme 1
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Programme 2: Skin Deep

Tattooed, transplanted, flawless or acne-scarred, our skin is a social and sexual signal. We make strong associations between the skinís appearance and a personís character. And the work of plastic surgeons, for example, involves more than just rebuilding the skin, but also rebuilding the person within. The dual impact of this work is well understood by former pilot Jack Toper: he had 26 operations to repair burns injuries to his hands and face at a time when reconstructive surgery was still very much an experimental science. In this programme Edi explores our attitudes towards our own and otherís skin, and learns the fascinating stories of those who work on skin in many diverse ways.

Listen again  Listen again to Programme 2
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