Social and Spiritual Skin
Dr Monty Lyman explores the many layers and lives of our skin – the body’s largest, most visible and yet most misunderstood organ. Read by Gunnar Cauthery.
Perched on the exterior of our delicate, intricate bodies, the skin is our largest and fastest-growing organ, weighing nine kilograms and covering two square metres. We see it, touch it and live in it every day. It’s a habitat for a mesmerisingly complex world of micro-organisms. Its physical functions are vital to our health and indeed our survival, and it’s crucial to our sense of identity. Yet how much do we really know about it?
Through the lenses of science, sociology and history, Dr Monty Lyman leads us on a journey through the comedy, tragedy and exquisite humanity of our most underrated and overlooked organ. By delving into something that seems so familiar, he reveals how the skin is far stranger and much more complex than we’ve ever imagined.
In today's final episode, from 18th century Tahiti to 21st century Birmingham (the most inkedcity in the UK), Dr Lyman travels the world to examine the human obsession with body markings. He explains the social and religious importance of tattooing and reveals that the earliest tattoos may have had a medicinal purpose.
Written by Dr Monty Lyman
Abridged by Libby Spurrier
Read by Gunnar Cauthery
Producer: David Blount
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4
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