Your skin is your largest organ and plays a vital role in detecting hot and cold, regulating your body temperature and protecting your muscles, bones and internal organs from outside infection and disease. But that’s just for starters. There is so much more to your skin than you might think. Here are some of the most interesting facts about your skin:
- The average person’s skin covers an area of 2 square meters.
- Skin accounts for about 15% of your body weight.
- The average adult has approximately 21 square feet of skin, which weighs 9 lbs and contains more than 11 miles of blood vessels.
- The average person has about 300 million skin cells. A single square inch of skin has about 19 million cells and up to 300 sweat glands.
- Your skin is its thickest on your feet (1.4mm) and thinnest on your eyelids (0.2mm).
- The skin renews itself every 28 days.
- Your skin constantly sheds dead cells, about 30,000 to 40,000 cells every minute! That’s nearly 9 lbs. per year!
- Some sources estimate that more than half of the dust in your home is actually dead skin.
- Dead skin comprises about a billion tons of dust in the earth’s atmosphere.
- Your skin is home to more than 1,000 species of bacteria.
- Skin that is severely damaged may try to heal itself by forming scar tissue, which is different from normal skin tissue because it lacks hair and sweat glands.
- Skin can form additional thickness and toughness — a callus — if exposed to repeated friction or pressure.
- Some of the nerves in your skin are connected to muscles instead of the brain, sending signals (through the spinal cord) to react more quickly to heat, pain, etc.
- Your skin has at least five different types of receptors that respond to pain and touch.
- Changes in your skin can sometimes signal changes in your overall health.
These fun facts are just some of the thousands of important aspects of your skin and its health. Forefront Dermatology’s skin care experts have all of the information you need, including how to best care for the health and beauty of your skin, and the advanced expertise and experience to help you protect it throughout your lifetime.
- 50 Incredible Facts About Skin
- 50 Interesting Human Skin Facts
- Interesting Human Skin Facts: 1-10
- Interesting Skin Facts: 11-20
- Interesting Human Skin Facts: 21-30
- Interesting Human Skin Facts: 31-40
- Interesting Human Skin Facts: 41-50
- 13 Facts About Skin
- 1. YOUR SKIN HAS THREE DISTINCT LAYERS.
- 2. SKIN COLOR IS DETERMINED BY CELLS IN THE EPIDERMIS.
- 3. YOUR SKIN COULD WEIGH MORE THAN 20 POUNDS.
- 4. YOUR SKIN RENEWS ITSELF EVERY 28 TO 30 DAYS.
- 5. TATTOOS STAY PUT, THANKS TO CELLS CALLED MACROPHAGES.
- 6. YOUR SKIN IS HOST TO BILLIONS OF CREATURES.
- 7. ANCIENT EGYPTIANS PUT SALT (AND OTHER FOODS) IN THEIR WOUNDS.
- 8. YOUR BODY’S FLUID BALANCE DEPENDS ON SKIN.
- 9. A SKIN CONDITION CAN PUT YOU AT GREATER RISK OF OTHER DISEASES.
- 10. YOUR LEGS MAY BE THE DRIEST PART OF YOUR BODY.
- 11. OVERHEATING IS A RISK IF YOU LACK SWEAT GLANDS.
- 12. YOUR GUT AND YOUR SKIN ARE SYMBIOTIC.
- 13. RESEARCHERS ARE USING “GOOD” BACTERIA TO TREAT ACNE.
- Skin Facts
- Did You Know? Facts About Your Skin.
- Website access code
- What kids should know about the layers of skin
50 Incredible Facts About Skin
50 Incredible Facts About Skin
The Skin You’re In
Skin is the human body’s largest organ.
The average skin, when stretched out, is 2 Square Meters.
Skin accounts for around 15% of your bodyweight.
There are two types of skin, hairy and glabrous.
Your skin has three layers.
Epidermis – Dead & Waterproof
Dermis – Hair & Sweat Glands
Subcutis – Fat & Large blood vessels.
Every inch of your skin has an exact stretchiness and strength for its location.(The skin of your knuckles is very different to the skin on your belly).
The thinnest skin is found on your eyelids 0.02mm thick.
Scar tissue lacks hair and sweat glands.
The thickest skin is found on your feet 1.4mm deep.
A body hair will grow from 2-6 years.
You lose around 20-100 hairs a day.
Hair is made from a protein called Keratin.
Every hair has a small muscle,the pili. This allows your hair to be raised when cold or in a ‘heightened emotional state’.
It’s whats on the outside.
Keratin also forms the dead outer layer of human skin and fingernails.
over 50% of the dust in your home is actually dead skin.
Every 28 days your skin renews itself.
Lipids are natural fats that keep the outer layer moist and healthy. Lipids can be destroyed by detergents and alcohol.
Every minute, your skin sheds over 30,000 dead cells.
Sweat is odourless; it’s bacteria that make B.O.
Your skin has it’s own bacteria microbiome of over 1000 species.
And around 1,000,000,000,000 individual bacteria.
The glands that produce wax in your ears are specialized sweat glands.
On average, 14 species of Fungi live between your toes.
Skin colour is the result of a protein called melanin. Large tentacle-like cells called melanocytes produce and distribute melanin.
Human skin comes in a very wide range of colours……from all different parts of the world.
Around 7% of skin cells are melanocytes.
Everyone has the same number of melanocytes. Skin colour is a due to their activity, not quantity.
Their are two types of melanin
Pheomelanin – Yellow to Red in Colour.
Eumelanin – Dark Brown to Black.
1 in 110,000 people have albinism, a lack of melanocytes.
Melanin is also responsible for eye colour. The skin covering the eye is transparent(and very sensitive).
It takes up to 6 Months for babies to develop their permanent skin tone.
TREAT YOUR SKIN
Acne is caused by an over production of cells that line the sweat gland.
Sometimes, babies get Acne in the first few weeks of life.
1/20 adult women suffer from acne.
1/100 adult men suffer from acne.
4/5 Teenagers get some form of acne.
For healthy skin you need.
Vitamin A Treats sun damage and cellulite.
Vitamin D Reduces spots and growths.
Vitamin c Antioxidant, regenerates vitamin E and provides sun protection.
Vitamin E Antioxidant, protects against sun damage and aging.
Change …the skin you re in?
INTEGRA has recently developed afull skin replacement made from bovine and silicon.
50 Interesting Human Skin Facts
For starters, skin is responsible for protecting our inner organs and it also carries out a number of bodily functions that help us to maintain a healthy life. But that’s not all! There is much more to know about skin and this article on 50 interesting skin facts intends to provide you with some really fascinating information about this unique organ in our body.
Interesting Human Skin Facts: 1-10
1. Skin is actually an organ. In fact, it is the largest organ in our body.
2. Just like every other organ in our body, the skin also has a set of very specialized functions that no other organ can perform.
3. The skin helps to regulate body temperature by detecting cold and hot.
4. It is reponsible for keeping our internal organs, muscles and bones protected from outside diseases and infections.
5. Our skin is blessed with the ability to renew itself. The entire skin is renewed in 28 days.
6. In order to renew itself, the skin needs to shed dead cells. It does so at the rate of 30,000 to 40,000 dead cells per minute.
7. An average human sheds 9 pounds of dead skin cells in one year!
8. The skin of any average human has nearly 300 million cells. There are nearly 19 million cells per square inch of skin.
9. Every square inch of skin also holds up to 300 sweat glands.
10. An average adult human has about 21 square feet of skin. The entire skin weighs 9 lbs (pounds).
Interesting Skin Facts: 11-20
11. 11 miles of blood vessels run throughout the skin to provide oxygen and blood to the skin cells.
12. Dead skin cells from humans makes up 1 billion tons of total dust found in Earth’s atmosphere.
13. 15% of the total body weight comes from the skin.
14. There are 5 different types of receptors found in skin. These receptors are responsible for responding to touch and pain.
15. Of the total dust found in home, half is actually made of dead skin cells.
16. Human skin is home to more than a 1000 species of bacteria.
17. When exposed to pressure or friction repeatedly, additional toughness and thickness can be formed by the skin. It is known as callus.
18. Changes in skin conditions can sometimes mean changes in health conditions as a whole and hence, any skin condition should be taken seriously.
19. Some nerves in human skin don’t connect directly with the brain. Instead, they connect with the muscles and send signals directly through the spinal cord. This allows quicker transmission of signals allowing us to respond more quickly to stimuli like pain, heat etc.
20. The thickest skin on human body is 1.4 mm in depth and is found in human feet. The thinnest is found on eyelids. Sink on eyelids is only 0.02mm deep.
Interesting Human Skin Facts: 21-30
21. Severely damaged skin often attempts to heal all by itself by the formation of scar tissue. The scar tissue is way different from the normal skin in the sense that it will not have sweat glands and hair.
22. Babies take up to 6 months to develop permanent skin tone.
23. In hot weather conditions, sweat glands in skin can produce up to 3 gallons of sweat in a day.
24. Penis tip, eardrums, lips‘ margins and nail bed do not sweat.
25. A special type of sweat gland known as apocrine sweat gland can be found in anus, genitals and armpits. These glands produce a fatty secretion that causes body odor.
26. It is not that the fatty secretion has a smell of its own. It is the bacteria present of skin that feeds on the fatty secretion and digests them. They byproduct left after digestion is what causes the odor.
27. Fingerprints (fine ridges seen on the skin of our fingers) may never develop in some people. This is actually a result of two rare types of genetic defects known as dermatopathia pigmentosa reticularis and Naegeli Syndrome.
28. Fingerprints are responsible for helping with a better grip on objects. These fine ridges help to increase friction and thereby helping with better grip.
29. Touch receptors of skin (known as Meissner corpuscels) are very sensitive but they are most sensitive on tongue, lips, palms, fingertips, clitoris, penis and nipples. The touch receptors in these areas respond more quickly to slight pressure put by just 20 milligrams (a common housefly weighs 20 mg).
30. The visual cortex of brain in blind people is rewired in a way that it responds to sound and touch stimuli. Thus, blind people literally ‘see’ the world using hearing and touch.
Interesting Human Skin Facts: 31-40
31. Per square inch of human skin contains 50 million bacteria. On oily surfaces like face, the number can ramp up to 500 million.
32. The scientific name of skin is Cutaneous Membrane.
33. Human skin has a pigment known as melanin. The more the melanin content, the darker is the skin. Lighter skin means melanin content is low.
34. Skin is made up of three different layers. The outermost layer is known as epidermis, the middle layer is known as dermis and the innermost layer is known as subcutis.
35. 4 acres of skin tissue can be grown in laboratory from 1 sq. inch of foreskin from a circumcised young boy.
36. Melanin is produced and distributed by tentacle-shaped cells known as melanocytes.
37. The number of melanocytes is same for all humans but the amount of melanin produced by these cells differ.
38. Again, there are two different types of melanin – Eumelanin and Pheomelanin.
39. The Eumelanin is either black or dark brown in color and the Pheomelanin is either red or yellow in color.
40. Some people may not have melanocytes. This is a medical condition known as albinsim. Only 1 out of 110,000 people suffer from albinism.
Interesting Human Skin Facts: 41-50
41. If there is over production of cells lining the sweat glands, it leads to acne formation.
42. One out of every hundred adult males suffer with acne compared to one out of every 20 in case of adult women.
43. Four out of every five teenagers suffer from some form of acne.
44. There are special glands in our ears that produce wax. These glands are actually specialize sweat glands.
45. Between our toes, there are around 14 different fungi species living on the skin.
46. The skin’s outer layer remains healthy and moist because of a special kind of natural fat known as lipid. Alcohols and detergent are known to destroy lipids.
47. Every hair we see on our skin has a small muscle attached to it. This muscle is known as pili. In case of stimuli such as heightened emotional state or cold, the pili helps the hair to rise and stand. Commonly we call it goose bump.
48. Every inch of skin has its own stretchiness and strength designed especially for its position. So, the skin that you see on your belly is very different in strength and elasticity compared to skin that you see on your knuckles.
49. Staphylococcal bacteria is responsible for producing skin boils. This bacteria enters skin through very tiny cuts and travels all the way down to hail follicles (the second layer of the skin) and results in boils.
50. Artificial skin has been produced by INTEGRA using silicon and bovine collagen. This artificial skin can be used for complete skin replacement
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4
13 Facts About Skin
Skin isn’t just the outermost layer of our bodies. Without it, we couldn’t do most of the things we take for granted, like breathing, moving, and keeping the body’s inner workings where they belong. And while skin also evolved to keep pathogens and other bad stuff out of our bodies, consumers spend millions of dollars on products to penetrate that defense (with mixed results). Read on for more fascinating facts about the skin.
1. YOUR SKIN HAS THREE DISTINCT LAYERS.
Skin is considered an organ in its own right. It’s comprised of three layers: the waterproof top layer, the epidermis; a middle layer of tougher connective tissue, hair follicles, and glands called the dermis; and the inner layer, the hypodermis, which is mostly fat and connective tissue that supports the skin’s structure and attaches it to muscles.
2. SKIN COLOR IS DETERMINED BY CELLS IN THE EPIDERMIS.
Those cells are known as melanocytes, which secrete a pigmented substance called melanin; the more melanin in the cells, the darker the skin. Having too little or too much melanin can lead to some skin color disorders: On one end of the spectrum are conditions like vitiligo—which occurs when some melanocytes lose the ability to produce melanin, resulting in whitish patches on the skin—and albinism, a condition in which melanocytes don’t produce any melanin. On the other end is hyperpigmentation—the presence of excess melanin, which can cause darker patches of skin.
3. YOUR SKIN COULD WEIGH MORE THAN 20 POUNDS.
“Your skin accounts for 15 percent of your body weight,” says Toral Patel, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist and supervising physician at D&A Dermatology in Chicago and a clinical instructor of medicine at Northwestern University. This makes it your body’s largest organ.
According to that calculation and data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average American woman weighs 168.5 pounds and carries more than 25 pounds of skin. An average man weighing 195.7 pounds will have nearly 30 pounds of skin.
4. YOUR SKIN RENEWS ITSELF EVERY 28 TO 30 DAYS.
New cells are created in that deep layer of the skin and take about four weeks to rise to the surface. There, they grow hard and then shed. This process, in which old skin is sloughed off and replaced by newer skin, might occur more than 1000 times over the average American’s lifespan. But all skin is not created equal: Its thickness varies naturally among all areas of the body. Thickness can also be affected by age, gender, and habits (like smoking) that can change the cells’ elasticity and other traits. According to Patel, the skin on the soles of your feet is up to seven times thicker than the skin of your eyelids.
5. TATTOOS STAY PUT, THANKS TO CELLS CALLED MACROPHAGES.
If your skin cells shed every month, how do tattoos stick around? It turns out to be a function of your immune system. The puncture of the tattoo needle causes inflammation in the dermis, the skin’s middle layer. In response, white blood cells known as macrophages are sent in to help heal the damage. These macrophages “eat” the dye and can pass it to newer macrophages when they die off, so the pigment is essentially transferred from one cell to another. Any leftover pigment is soaked up by fibroblasts, which are longer-lasting skin cells that don’t regenerate as often. Only lasers designed for tattoo removal are strong enough to kill off the macrophages and fibroblasts that hold the dye.
6. YOUR SKIN IS HOST TO BILLIONS OF CREATURES.
Your skin hosts a microbiome that can contain more than 1000 types of bacteria (along with other microbes, viruses, and pathogens). These “tiny ecosystems,” as Patel describes them, are mostly friendly bacteria that work in concert with our bodies for many beneficial purposes, including wound healing, reducing skin inflammation, and assisting the immune system to help fight infection. These bacteria were once thought to outnumber your own cells 10 to one, but more recent research has found the ratio is closer to 1:1.
7. ANCIENT EGYPTIANS PUT SALT (AND OTHER FOODS) IN THEIR WOUNDS.
Injuring or breaking the skin’s dermis, the layer below the epidermis, can expose the inner tissues to pathogens. To prevent infections from reaching any further into the skin, body fat, or muscle, ancient Egyptians cared for topical wounds with salt (yes, really!), fresh meat, moldy bread, and onions.
While these may seem like unsanitary things to put on a cut, modern research has found that there was actually merit in their methods. With its high iron content, meat was a good blood coagulant and recommended for the first day of a wound, according to a 2016 paper in the Journal of the German Society of Dermatology. Salt and onions are both astringent, which can stop blood flow. Moldy bread likely had antibacterial properties—a very early form of penicillin, you might say. Skin wounds would then be sealed with a combination of oils, fats, honey, and plant fibers.
8. YOUR BODY’S FLUID BALANCE DEPENDS ON SKIN.
Your skin is a significant shield against billions of tiny microbes and pathogens. But just as importantly, skin keeps fluids in. Another way to think of this, Patel says, is that your skin resembles a brick and mortar pattern. The bricks are the cells. The mortar is made up of lipids, fatty acids, and other sticky proteins that form the watertight layer. “If you have any ‘holes’ in skin where moisture can escape, which are more susceptible to damage, that leads to dryness, cracking, and inflammation,” Patel says.
People who have suffered burns often have fluid-balance problems, says Robert T. Brodell, M.D., professor of dermatology at University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. “Fluids are seeping out, and they can’t keep them balanced internally,” he tells Mental Floss. This can be incredibly dangerous, because fluid loss can cause the heart to stop pumping blood to the rest of the body. Dehydration, hypertension, and other problems may also occur when skin is injured.
9. A SKIN CONDITION CAN PUT YOU AT GREATER RISK OF OTHER DISEASES.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition in which the skin cells in an affected area grow rapidly, leading to excess skin buildup, inflammation, and a red and scaly rash. While it can be uncomfortable to live with the condition on its own, studies have shown that inflammation of the skin can lead to inflammation of other tissues and internal organs, and eventually certain diseases. For example, psoriasis has been linked to a greater risk for heart disease, as well as diabetes, Crohn’s disease, metabolic syndrome, and other conditions thought to be correlated with inflammation.
Patel says that association makes treatment even more important: “If one organ is inflamed, you have to make sure another isn’t.”
10. YOUR LEGS MAY BE THE DRIEST PART OF YOUR BODY.
Unless you live in the tropics, you’ve probably noticed that the skin of your lower legs becomes drier in winter—and there’s a biological reason for that. “You have fewer oil glands on your legs than any other area of your body,” Brodell tells Mental Floss. Oil (or sebaceous) glands, found near the dermis’s border with the epidermis, secrete an oily substance called sebum that lubricates skin and hair. As people age, the glands secrete less oil, and that means drier skin. Winter’s low humidity and our tendency to spend more time around heat sources dries out skin even more.
The solution is to install a humidifier or apply some moisturizer. Certain skincare products, such as those with emulsifiers like sodium laureth sulfate, can also dry out or irritate your skin, so read your labels carefully.
11. OVERHEATING IS A RISK IF YOU LACK SWEAT GLANDS.
Both types of sweat glands are also located in the dermis. Eccrine glands, found all over the body, emit sweat directly through pores in the epidermis. Apocrine glands release sweat along hair follicles, so it’s no surprise that these glands are concentrated in the hairiest parts of the body—head, armpit, and groin. Both types help regulate body temperature: In hot conditions, the glands release water and fatty liquids to cool the skin.
A lack of sweat glands puts people in danger of overheating. Those with a condition known as anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia have few to no sweat glands, so they can’t properly cool off when the body overheats. “They get heatstroke easily,” Brodell says. A subset of people with this disorder suffer from immunodeficiency. They produce low levels of antibodies and infection-fighting immune T- and B-cells, so they are more prone to skin and lung infections.
12. YOUR GUT AND YOUR SKIN ARE SYMBIOTIC.
The gut and the skin never come into direct contact with one another, yet research shows that the gut has a profound impact on the skin.
“The skin becomes very unhealthy when the microbiome of the gut goes into a state of dysbiosis,” meaning when something attacks the gut’s good bacteria, says Gregory Maguire, Ph.D., a former professor of neuroscience at UC San Diego and the founder and chief scientific officer of BioRegenerative Sciences, a stem-cell technology company.
Dysbiosis can lead to inflammation, irritation, rashes, and pain. “There’s good evidence that eczema atopic dermatitis is partially due to dysbiosis of the gut and skin,” he says.
In a 2017 paper published in the Archives of Dermatological Research, Maguire writes that normal gut bacteria can actually calm the body’s response to stress. A reduction in the release of the stress hormone cortisol, which is thought to cause breakouts, also reduces the chance of skin irritation—all thanks to microbes in your intestine.
13. RESEARCHERS ARE USING “GOOD” BACTERIA TO TREAT ACNE.
When the skin’s pores get clogged with sebum from the sebaceous glands and dead cells, a condition usually associated with hormonal changes, you’ve got acne. Clogged pores that stay closed are called whiteheads; if the pore opens and reveals the gunk inside, it’s a blackhead. (The medical term for a blackhead, an “open comedo,” stems from a Latin phrase alluding to “worms which devour the body.” But don’t worry, blackheads are not actual worms living in your face.)
While acne may seem like a rite of passage associated with puberty, researchers are experimenting with fighting “bad” bacteria (in this case, Propiobacterium acnes, which is linked to acne breakouts) with “good” bacteria, also known as probiotics. “One of the things do is ferment things on the skin like ammonia and nitrites, and metabolize it and turn it into other chemicals that are beneficial to the stem cells in your skin,” Maguire explains. A 2015 study in the Journal of Women’s Dermatology and other research has found that applying topical probiotics like Streptococcus salivarius and Streptococcus thermophiles inhibits P. acnes and may make skin more resilient against it in the long run.
We focus so much on how to get rid of wrinkles and dark spots on our skin, but it’s rare that we really think about it as a whole. Yes, we’ve all heard the oft-repeated fact that it’s the largest organ on our bodies, but there are way cooler facts out there about skin. Like, for example, the exact canine equivalent of its weight. Ahead, four surprising skin facts you haven’t heard before.
Your skin contains more than 11 miles of blood vessels. That’s twice the height of Mount Everest. And some people’s blood vessels are more visible than others, which manifests in redness. To help reduce it, Annet King, the director of global education at Dermalogica, says to look for certain ingredients in skin-care products. “Treat the area with ingredients that strengthen the capillary walls and soothe and reduce the redness and inflammation,” she says. “Two good ingredients are avena sativa from oats and red raspberry.” And Kavita Mariwalla, a dermatologist in West Islip, New York, suggests this hack to hide visible blood vessels on your face: “Use a drop or two of Visine on the skin and it will decrease redness for a few hours,” she says.
The average adult’s skin weighs 20 pounds—or the equivalent of one pug. Yes, all of the skin on your body weighs as much as an adorably wrinkly medium-size dog. And most of that weight in your skin is full of water. “Water makes up 50 to 70 percent of your skin’s total weight,” says Rebecca Tung, a dermatologist in New York City. “That’s why hydration is important for making it look youthful.”
Every minute, your skin sheds more than 30,000 dead cells, which means you lose about nine pounds of skin cells per year. And to make things even more disturbing, Mariwalla says that “over 50 percent of the dust in your home is dead skin cells.” Wonderful. But there’s a good reason you’re shedding those dead cells. “We need to shed dead, damaged cells so that new cells can rise up through the layers. Dead cells are made of keratin, and this forms a corny layer of protection over the skin, stopping invading bacteria, viruses, and organisms,” says King. So that’s something you probably never knew to be thankful for: your corny skin layers.
The skin around your eyes is the thinnest skin on your body. It’s as thin as a few sheets of paper. “The skin around the eyes is two thirds finer than that of the face, and there are no hair follicles or sebaceous glands, so the skin here needs different products—a targeted eye cream,” says King. Need help finding the best eye cream? Here are our favorites.
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Skin is an organ you probably don’t think about much, but it’s extremely important.
It protects and covers the muscles, bones, and other organs and holds them together.
It also keeps our bodies at the right temperature, protects our bodies from harm, and gives us the sense of touch.
Layers of the Skin
Your skin is made up of three layers: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous fat. Let’s take a look at each layer.
The epidermis is the part of the skin that you can see. It’s thin in some places (like your eyelids) but thicker in other places (like the bottom of your feet).
This layer of skin is responsible for making new skin cells, giving skin its color, and protecting your body.
New skin cells form at the bottom of the epidermis, and they take about 2 weeks to a month to move to the top.
During this time, older cells on the top die and rise to the surface of your skin, where they eventually flake off.
Even though we don’t notice it, we lose about 30,000-40,000 dead skin cells every minute.
This is why 95% of the cells in your epidermis are busy making new skin cells.
The other 5% produce a substance called melanin. Melanin gives skin its color, so the more melanin you have, the darker your skin is.
These cells also protect your skin by producing extra melanin to protect you from the rays of the sun.
The dermis is beneath the epidermis and contains nerve endings, blood vessels, oil glands, and sweat glands.
Nerve endings work with your nervous system to send messages to the brain about what you touch and feel.
For instance, your nerve endings might alert the brain that a surface feels hot. Using this information, the brain sends a message telling you to move your hand.
The tiny blood vessels in your dermis bring oxygen and nutrients to your skin cells to keep them healthy. They also take away waste from the skin cells.
Oil glands, also called sebaceous glands, produce a natural oil called sebum.
Sebum rises to the top of your epidermis to keep your skin soft and smooth and protect it from damage.
It also makes your skin waterproof, so that it doesn’t absorb water and get soggy.
The sweat glands produce a tiny bit of sweat at all times, which you probably don’t feel. The sweat rises through pores, tiny holes in the skin.
Sebum and sweat combine to create a protective fluid.
The bottom layer is subcutaneous fat. As you might guess, it’s made up mostly of fat.
It helps keep your body warm and absorbs shocks, like if you bump into something hard or fall down.
Hair follicles have their roots in the subcutaneous layer, and they rise up through the dermis.
In the dermis layer, each follicle is connected to a sebaceous gland that releases sebum onto the hair, making it shiny and waterproof.
Skin and Temperature
The blood vessels, sweat glands, and hair in your skin work together to keep your body at the right temperature.
Your brain has an inner thermometer called the hypothalamus that sends messages to your skin when you’re getting too hot or too cold.
When you’re feeling hot, blood vessels bring warm blood closer to the surface of your skin to release heat.
Has your face ever gotten red when you’re running around outside? That’s your body trying to cool you down!
Sweat is another way that your body cools you down.
When you get cold, the blood vessels narrow as much as possible to keep warm blood away from the surface of your skin.
This causes tiny muscles called the erector pili to pull on your hair and make them stand up very straight.
You’ll notice tiny bumps on your skin, which you probably call goosebumps!
So even though we don’t give our skin much thought, it’s always hard at work protecting us and keeping us comfortable.
Skin is the human body’s largest organ (an organ is a group of tissues that work together to perform functions in your body, others include your brain, heart and lungs).
Your skin performs a range of different functions which include physically protecting your bones, muscles and internal organs, protecting your body from outside diseases, allowing you to feel and react to heat and cold and using blood to regulate your body heat.
The layers of mammal skin include the epidermis, dermis and subcutis.
The outer layer of your skin is the epidermis, it is found thickest on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet (around 1.5mm thick).
The subcutis (or hypodermis) is the deepest layer of your skin, as well as storing fat, it also contains blood vessels, hair follicle roots and nerves.
If skin is severely damaged then it may try to heal by forming scar tissue. Scar tissue is not the same as normal skin tissue, it often appears discolored and lacks sweat glands and hair.
The color of human skin depends on the amount of pigment melanin that the body produces. Small amounts of melanin result in light skin while large amounts result in dark skin.
Areas that experience repeated friction or pressure can form tough, thick skin known as a callus. Common examples of calluses can be seen on the hands of tennis players and the fingertips of guitarists.
A large amount of the dust in you home is actually dead skin.
All mammals have some hair on their skin, even if it isn’t easy for you to see.
Rhinoceros’s are protected by thick skin which can be between 1.5cm and 5cm deep.
Although polar bears have both white and transparent (see through) fur, their skin is actually black.
Amphibians such as frogs have unique skin. Rather than drinking water, frogs actually soak it into their body through their skin. They also use their skin to absorb around half the air they need.
Snakes have smooth, dry skin.
A number of different sea creatures, such as sea lice and barnacles, attach themselves to the skin of whales, making it their home.
- Some fruits and vegetables are known to have ‘skins’, these include bananas, oranges, apples and potatoes.
Did You Know? Facts About Your Skin.
Our skin is our body’s largest organ, yet many of us do not truly know much about our skin, how our lifestyle affects our skin or how to properly care for our skin. Read the fun facts below from Dr. Asarch and start thinking about your personal skin care habits.
Learn more by visiting www.asarchcenter.com or by ordering a copy of one of Dr. Asarch’s books.
Did You Know?
- Your skin is an organ- the largest organ in your body.
- If your skin were removed, it would weigh between 7 and 9 pounds and stretch out to about 20 square feet.
- One square inch of skin is packed with 100 oil glands, 15 feet of blood vessels and two kinds of sweat glands.
- Skin has a memory. It keeps track of all of the sun damage that’s accumulated over the years. Even normal, everyday sun exposure can cause lines and wrinkles.
- It takes about an ounce of sunscreen to protect all of your exposed skin from the sun. An ounce of sunscreen is enough to fill up a shot glass.
- You should apply your sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going into the sun so it has time to absorb into your skin.
- Men are less likely to use sunscreen-According to a 2013 study, only 51% of U.S. men reported using sunscreen in the last 12 months.
There is no safe tanning. Indoor tanning salons predominantly use UVA radiation. Although not as potent as UVB, UVA also has both short-term and long-term effects.
- UVA rays can pass through windows in your car, home or office and chronic exposure can lead to skin aging and damage. UV protective film on your windows keep your interiors UV-free.
- Smoking robs your skin of life-giving oxygen. Nicotine narrows blood vessels and prevents oxygen-carrying blood from circulating through the tiny capillaries in the top layers of the skin.
- Skin heals more slowly as you age. Unfortunately, aging skin repairs itself more slowly than younger skin, taking wounds up to four times longer to heal. Older patients produce fewer cells, and these cells have shorter life spans.
Many people think “broken” blood vessels on the nose and cheeks are a sign of alcoholism. In reality, facial blood vessels usually become dilated or slightly larger from sun damage, though alcohol abuse and a rich diet can make them worse.
- Aspirin may help prevent Melanoma in post-menopausal women. New research revealed that post-menopausal, white women who regularly took aspirin were 30 percent less likely to develop Melanoma than non-aspirin users.
- Your diet affects your skin. Vegetable oils, margarine, red meats, white bread, or sugary processed foods can cause inflammation and accelerate aging of your skin.
- Foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and Alpha-Linoleic Acid such as avocados, salmon, flaxseed and olive oil can contribute to your skin health, giving you softer, supple skin.
- Sleeping on your back is a good thing. Gravity pulls on your skin during the day. Give your skin a break and make sleeping on your back a nightly habit.
The skin is our body’s largest organ and makes up a big chunk of our body weight. That makes it pretty important, health-wise — but we’re more obsessed with it because when we take care of our skin, we look better! You’ll be extra prepped for fab skin once you read these crazy skin facts.
1. Your skin is practically waterproof: You can swim in a pool or an ocean and nothing will pass into you and nothing will leave your skin! It turns out that each superficial cell is surrounded by waterproofing lipids/fats like cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides that make your skin such a great water barrier, says Fayne L. Frey, MD, Founder of FryFace,LLC. Without the ability of skin to minimize water loss, water would evaporate from the skin into the environment and we would literally “dissolve” — shrivel up like a prune!
2. Creepy crawlies: There are over 1,000 species of bacteria that grow on the average person’s skin. And almost 20 species of fungus that grow between our toes!
MORE: 101 Best Tips for Clear Skin
3. Moisturizer is not the most important skin care step: We know that sounds surprising, but the right way to restore moisture in your skin is by repairing the epidermal barrier and not exfoliating it every day. Notice that kids usually don’t need a moisturizer, because their barrier is intact, says Dr. Ben Johnson, founder of Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare.
4. Fat cells can be destroyed, but…: You have a certain number of fat cells, says Dr. Kavita Mariwalla of Mariwalla Dermatology. Once they are removed or die off (like in liposuction or in a Cool Sculpting treatment) they will not grow back in those areas. The downside is fat cells in other parts of your body can plump with weight gain.
5. Skin brushing: Our moms never told us about skin brushing, but it’s been around for centuries. It helps exfoliate skin beautifully, boost circulation, reduce cellulite, aid the immune system, and keep ingrown hairs away, says Kathy Heshelow, Founder of Sublime Beauty. Plus, it is invigorating!
6. Acne can continue into adulthood: “Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting up to 50 million Americans and it’s true that acne can progress into adulthood, even into your fifties!” says Doris Day, MD., MA., Clinical Associate Professor of Dermatology at New York University Longone Medical Center. Despite this, many women are embarrassed to speak with their dermatologist “because it’s supposed to be a teen issue.” Acne is a chronic condition and it’s important to see your dermatologist to find the right treatment options for you. One medication I like to prescribe for adult acne is Aczone, because it has a unique ingredient dapsone, that treats both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.”
MORE: How to Fake That Vacation Glow
7. Skin tone determines which nail color looks best: For example, skin with pink undertones looks best with bright blue-red or lavender shades while yellow undertones should stick with coral or peachy pink colors. It’s best to stick with this versus following what’s trendy at the moment, says Dimitri James, beauty expert and founder of Skinn Cosmetics.
8. The cold spoon myth: People have recommended using a cold spoon or ice to compress puffy eyes, but doing so can actually result in spider veins due to the cold temperature breaking tiny, fragile capillaries in the delicate eye area tissues. Instead, use instant eye depuffing creams or sleep on a foam pillow, says James.
9. Avoid getting anything waxed during your period: Your skin is more tender and sensitive during your menstrual cycle, says James. Three to four days after your period ends is when your pain tolerance is highest, so aim for that window of time for your next wax.
10. Cut back on the sodium: Reducing your salt consumption, particularly during the evenings, will make a difference in skin’s puffiness and overall appearance.
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1. It’s your body’s largest organ, despite what the readers of Maxim think.
2. An average adult’s skin spans 21 square feet, weighs nine pounds, and contains more than 11 miles of blood vessels.
3. The skin releases as much as three gallons of sweat a day in hot weather. The areas that don’t sweat are the nail bed, the margins of the lips, the tip of the penis, and the eardrums.
4. Ooh, that smell: Body odor comes from a second kind of sweat—a fatty secretion produced by the apocrine sweat glands, found mostly around the armpits, genitals, and anus.
5. Yum! The odor is caused by bacteria on the skin eating and digesting those fatty compounds.
6. Breasts are a modified form of the apocrine sweat gland.
7. Fetuses don’t develop fingerprints until three months’ gestation.
8. Without a trace: Some people never develop fingerprints at all. Two rare genetic defects, known as Naegeli syndrome and dermatopathia pigmentosa reticularis, can leave carriers without any identifying ridges on their skin.
9. Fingerprints increase friction and help grip objects. New World monkeys have similar prints on the undersides of their tails, the better to grasp as they swing from branch to branch.
10. Blowin’ in the wind: Globally, dead skin accounts for about a billion tons of dust in the atmosphere. Your skin sheds 50,000 cells every minute.
11. There are at least five types of receptors in the skin that respond to pain and to touch.
12. One experiment revealed that Meissner corpuscles—touch receptors that are concentrated in the fingertips and palms, lips and tongue, nipples, penis and clitoris—respond to a pressure of just 20 milligrams, the weight of a fly.
13. In blind people, the brain’s visual cortex is rewired to respond to stimuli received through touch and hearing, so they literally “see” the world by touch and sound.
14. “In the buff” became synonymous for “nude” in 17th-century England. The term derives from soldiers’ leather tunics, or “buffs,” whose light brown color apparently resembled an Anglo-Saxon backside.
15. White skin appeared just 20,000 to 50,000 years ago, as dark-skinned humans migrated to colder climes and lost much of their melanin pigment.
16. I see very, very white people: Albinos are often cast as movie villains, as seen in The Da Vinci Code, Die Another Day, The Matrix Reloaded, and—inexplicably—the 2001 flick Josie and the Pussycats. Robert Lima of Penn State suggests that people associate pale-skinned albinos with vampires and other mythical creatures of the night.
17. More than 2,000 people have radio frequency identification chips, or RFID tags, inserted under their skin. The tags can provide access to medical information, log on to computers, or unlock car doors.
18. Flesh for fantasy: At the Baja Beach club in Barcelona, customers can get an implanted RFID “debit card” and party until their funds are exhausted.
19. The Cleveland Public Library, Harvard Law School, and Brown University all have books clad in skin stripped from executed criminals or from the poor.
20. Hopefully, they didn’t have to reprint it: One such volume is Andreas Vesalius’s pioneering 16th-century work of anatomy, De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body).
For more strange facts on the human body’s largest organ, see Skin: A Natural History by Nina G. Jablonski.
What kids should know about the layers of skin
The layers of skin Your skin has a big job to do protecting your body, so it’s made to be tough and stretchy. There is a lot more to this job than it might seem. There are three main layers of the skin.
Epidermis is the top layer of the skin, the part of the skin you see.
Dermis is the second layer of skin. It’s much thicker and does a lot for your body.
Subcutaneous fat is the bottom layer.
Your skin’s top layer, the epidermis, is super thin on some parts of your body (your eyelids) and thicker on others (the bottoms of your feet). The epidermis is the layer of skin in charge of:
Making new skin cells: This happens at the bottom of the epidermis. The skin cells travel up to the top layer and flake off, about a month after they form.
Giving skin its color: The epidermis makes melanin, which is what gives your skin its color (find out more about this in).
Protecting your body: The epidermis has special cells that are part of your immune system and help you stay healthy.
A lot happens in the next layer, the dermis. The jobs of the dermis include:
Making sweat: There are little pockets called sweat glands in the dermis. They make sweat, which goes through little tubes and comes out of holes called pores. Sweating keeps you cool and helps you get rid of bad stuff your body doesn’t need.
Helping you feel things: Nerve endings in the dermis help you feel things. They send signals to your brain, so you know how something feels if it hurts (meaning you should stop touching it), is itchy or feels nice when you touch it.
Growing hair: The dermis is where you’ll find the root of each tiny little hair on your skin. Each root attaches to a tiny little muscle that tightens and gives you goose bumps when you are cold or are scared.
Making oil: Another type of little pocket, or gland, in your skin makes oil. The oil keeps your skin soft, smooth and waterproof. Sometimes the glands make too much oil and give you pimples. (See Acne: Pimples and Zits.
Bringing blood to your skin: Blood feeds your skin and takes away bad stuff through little tubes called blood vessels.
The bottom layer of skin is the subcutaneous fat layer. This layer plays an important role in your body by:
Attaching the dermis to your muscles and bones: This layer has a special connecting tissue that attaches the dermis to your muscles and bones.
Helping the blood vessels and nerve cells: Blood vessels and nerve cells that start in the dermis get bigger and go to the rest of your body from here.
Controlling your body temperature: The subcutaneous fat is the layer that helps keep your body from getting too warm or too cold.
Storing your fat: This fat pads your muscles and bones and protects them from bumps and falls.