The Remarkable Life Of The Skin

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
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01The Swiss Army Organ20190715

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 episode, Dr Monty Lyman describes the form and function of the layers of the skin, and its vital role as a protective barrier. We learn about the causes of eczema, the efficacy of spa water, and the operation of the body’s immune system.

Book of the Week: The Remarkable Life of the Skin
1/5 The Swiss Army Organ. Dr Monty Lyman explores the beauty and complexity of our largest organ – the skin.
Abridged by Libby Spurrier.
Read by Gunnar Cauthery.
Producer David Blount
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4

Dr Monty Lyman explores the beauty and complexity of our largest organ - the skin.

Dr Monty Lyman takes us on an intimate journey across our surface. Reader Gunnar Cauthery.

02Gut Feeling20190716

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 episode, Dr Monty Lyman explores the ways in which what we eat and drink can affect our skin, and the importance of particular vitamins in our diet.

Book of the Week: The Remarkable Life of the Skin
2/5 Gut Feeling. Dr Monty Lyman examines the relationship between our diet and our skin.
Abridged by Libby Spurrier.
Read by Gunnar Cauthery.
Producer David Blount
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4

Dermatologist Dr Monty Lyman examines the relationship between our diet and our skin.

Dr Monty Lyman takes us on an intimate journey across our surface. Reader Gunnar Cauthery.

03Towards the Light20190717

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 episode Dr Lyman explains that the sun brings light, life, and healing powers, but also demands reverence. The ancient Greeks made Apollo god of the sun, but rather tellingly, he was also god of healing and disease. We learn how and why we tan, and of the dangers of ‘tanorexia’ - an addictive condition. There are also beauty tips from Queen Cleopatra and Empress Elisabeth of Austria.

Book of the Week: The Remarkable Life of the Skin
3/5 Towards the Light. The story of our skin and the sun.
Abridged by Libby Spurrier.
Read by Gunnar Cauthery.
Producer David Blount
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4

Dr Monty Lyman explains that the sun brings life and healing, but also demands reverence.

Dr Monty Lyman takes us on an intimate journey across our surface. Reader Gunnar Cauthery.

04The First Sense20190718

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…

Why can’t we tickle ourselves? Why (and how) do we blush? Why do we sometimes experience a pleasurable ‘aesthetic shiver’? In today’s episode, Dr Lyman explores the relationship between our brain and our skin.

Book of the Week: The Remarkable Life of the Skin
4/5 The First Sense – the mechanics and magic of our sense of touch.
Abridged by Libby Spurrier.
Read by Gunnar Cauthery.
Producer David Blount
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4

Dr Lyman explores the relationship between our brain and our skin. Reader Gunnar Cauthery.

Dr Monty Lyman takes us on an intimate journey across our surface. Reader Gunnar Cauthery.

05Social and Spiritual Skin20190719

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…

From 18th century Tahiti to 21st century Birmingham (the most ‘inked’city in the UK), Dr Lyman travels the world in today’s episode 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.
The writer concludes with an exploration of tattooing as a social and religious activity.

Book of the Week: The Remarkable Life of the Skin
5/5 Social & Spiritual Skin – the meaning in our markings
By Dr Monty Lyman, abridged by Libby Spurrier and read by Gunnar Cauthery. Produced by David Blount.
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4

Dr Monty Lyman concludes with an exploration of tattooing as social and religious activity

Dr Monty Lyman takes us on an intimate journey across our surface. Reader Gunnar Cauthery.