Our skin does a lot more for us than just covers our bones and makes us look nice. It plays a wonderful and versatile role. It protects and shields us from the external world, and absorbs vital nutrients into our body, as well as maintains the functioning of everything internally such as regulating our body temperature. Our skin really allows us to experience life in the most sensory of ways!
But it’s quite unfortunate that most of us know just too little about this lovely friend that has been with us from the very first time we opened our eyes. In this post, I will be showing you some interesting facts about the skin as well answer some questions you might have in your mind concerning the special organ. So get ready to excite yourself with some interesting facts!
Some Interesting Facts about the Skin
The Skin is our largest Organ
Of all the organs in our body, the skin is the largest of them all. It covers approximately 2 meters of surface area with an average weight of 4.5 kilos. The thickness of the skin depends on where it is on the body, as it is thinner on the eyelids and thicker on the heels of our feet, but it averages to approximately 1.6 mm.
How many dead cells does the skin shed per day?
The skin is made up of three layers and each of them has its own important parts. New cells are made deep down in the bottom layer but slowly moves up towards the top of the skin. This movement could take about two weeks or even a month. But as new cells begin to move up, older cells near the top are shed by the skin. So what you see everywhere else on your body are really dead skin cells.
Talking about how many dead cells the skin shed daily, your skin loses about 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells every minute. But thankfully, the epidermis always makes new cells to replace the old worn-out skin cells.
How long does it take the skin to regenerate?
Throughout your life, your skin will constantly change – either for better or worse. It regenerates itself approximately every 27 days and in people above the age of 50, the regeneration process might take up to 84 days. To maintain the health and vitality of the skin, proper skincare is essential.
What are the major functions of the skin?
The skin is not only the largest organ in our body but it is also one that performs several essential functions. The functions of the skin are numerous but here are its 6 major functions:
- The skin protects you
The skin is our first line of defense against radiation, toxins, and harmful pollutants. It contains cells that provide immune functions that protect us against infections.
- The skin helps with absorption
The skin has thousands of pores on its surface that help with the absorption of vitamins, water, acids, and oxygen in order to moisturize and nourish the skin.
- Your skin helps with excretion
The body’s largest waste removal system is the skin. The body gets rid of several toxins through the sweat glands and pores of the skin.
- The skin secrets sebum
The skin secrets sebum, a mixture of oils that ensures the skin stays supple and soft. The sebum layer on the outermost layer of the skin acts like an acid mantle that helps maintain the pH of the skin and also protects the skin from outside invasion.
- Your skin can warm and cool you
The skin helps regulate body temperature using its blood supply. If we are too hot or too cold, the brain sends nerve signals to the skin which then adapts the temperature. The sweat from our skin when it’s hot evaporates and gives off heat and cools the body. When it’s cold, the muscles deep down in the skin contract to release energy that helps warm the body.
- Your skin helps you feel
This is a function of the skin that is well known to all. The skin contains millions of nerve endings that transport stimuli. These nerve endings are what help us detect sensations such as cold, heat, pressure, touch, itching, and pain. The skin helps you feel them all!
The skin consists of three layers
The skin is made up of three layers: the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous fat. The epidermis is the outermost layer and that is where skin cells are produced. This layer offers the protective ability of the skin and that is where melanin is produced – a pigment that protects you away from harmful ultraviolet rays.
The next layer after the epidermis is the dermis. The dermis contains nerve endings, oil glands, blood vessels, and sweat glands. It also contains elastin and collagen which gives the skin its elasticity. The nerve ending work with your brain by sending necessary messages concerning the skin to the brain. It also works with your muscles to prevent you from getting hurt.
The blood vessels supply the skin with nutrients and oxygen to keep it healthy and the oil glands make sure it remains lubricated and protected.
The last layer is the subcutaneous layer. This bottom layer is made up of fats and helps the body stay warm and absorbs shocks, like when you fall down or bang into something. It also helps hold your skin to all the tissues underneath it. Every hair on your body also has its root way down in the subcutaneous layer of the skin.
The skin gets its colour from melanin
The pigment melanin is the one that determines the colour of the skin. Whether your skin colour will be very pale or very dark, it all depends on how much melanin your body makes. This pigment is produced in the outer layer of the skin – the epidermis, but not everyone produces the same amount of melanin. The more melanin you produce, the darker your skin will be.
Your skin is a host to millions of bacteria
This might come as a surprise to you but the surface of your skin is home to diverse communities of bacteria, which are collectively known as the skin microbiota. There are both harmful and harmless bacteria living on the skin surface. While the harmful ones can cause various infections, the harmless ones can help immune cells fight disease-causing microbes when they thrive.
Changes in the skin have a lot to say about your health
Some changes in the skin can be a sign that something is wrong with you. Itching, rashes, hives may signal an allergic reaction, a viral infection, a bacterial skin infection, or an autoimmune disease. A mole may be a sign of skin cancer too.
Tattoos remain on your skin – thanks to macrophages
We already said skin cells are shed every month. If that is true, then how do tattoos manage to stick around? That happens to be a function of your immune system. The tattoo needles make punctures that cause inflammation in the dermis – the middle layer of the skin. In response to that, the body sends white blood cells which are known as macrophages there to help heal the damage.
The macrophages “eat” the dye and so are able to pass it over to the new generations of macrophages when they die off. That way, the pigment is typically transferred from one cell to the other. So your tattoo stay put even after several months or years. Only lasers designed for tattoo removal are strong enough to kill off the macrophages that hold the dye.
Your skin likes being pampered
Unlike other organs in your body like the brain, lungs, and heart, your skin likes good washing. Use water and mild soap to wash your skin and don’t forget to apply natural products on it. Harsh chemicals can damage the skin but it tends to do well with natural skincare products.
Your skin is very important to you, you should find every possible way to reciprocate its kindness too. So pamper your skin!
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