Skin. We see it. We live in it. And yet, we know very little about this ever-present organ in (well, on) our body. While one may consider it a bit mundane to make an effort to get to know our skin better, your overall well-being is directly linked to the health and quality of your skin, which provides a strong barrier to external forces such as strong ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and infection-causing microorganisms. So, without further ado, here are 10 important things you should know about your skin:
- The skin is the body’s largest organ
Unlike internal organs, your skin is “worn” on the outside and is the body’s largest (and heaviest) organ. Most of the skin’s weight is due to its three-layered composition which is made up of the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis. Its substantial mass is further reinforced by the fact that human adults carry at least three kilograms and two square meters of skin.
- Your skin makes up 15% of your total body weight
Unsurprisingly enough, since the skin is the largest organ in the body, it makes up more than one-eighth of your entire body weight. Its three-layered composition and the fact that it houses hair follicles, sweat glands, and oil glands (to name a few) further contribute to its mass.
- Your skin sheds around 30,000 dead cells per minute
Desquamation is a natural process in which the human body sheds dead skin cells to make way for newer, healthier cells. It is the skin’s way of renewing itself and is a very active process that causes the shedding of at least 30,000 dead cells every minute of every day.
- The dust in your home is actually 50% dead skin
It may be surprising for you to know that most of the dust in your house isn’t the accumulation of dirt from external factors, but is actually your dead skin cells! In fact, around 50% of house dust is dead skin that has been shed through the process of desquamation.
- Up to three gallons of sweat can be released by your skin in hot weather
In extremely hot weather, your sweat glands work harder to cool you up, thus causing more sweat to be released (around three gallons!) which results in a cooling effect upon evaporation. Did you know? Since each foot contains approximately 125,000 sweat glands, this makes the feet the sweatiest part of the human body.
- The palms of your hands and the soles of your feet are where skin is the thickest
Thick skin is often found on the soles of your feet and the palms of your hands due to the presence of an additional layer within the epidermis known as the stratum lucidum. The palms and soles are most often exposed to friction since we perform most of our routine activities with our hands (such as picking things up, cleaning, etc.) and our feet (walking, running, etc.). As such, the thick skin helps to protect these areas from damage caused by repeated exposure to friction.
- The face and neck are the most sensitive areas of skin
Both the face and neck contain a significant number of sebaceous glands which secrete oil (sebum) to provide lubrication to the hair and skin. These glands are prone to becoming clogged and need to be taken care of to prevent potential infections and acne. This makes the face and neck the most sensitive areas of skin, which is why care must be taken when shaving or waxing as these processes can damage the sebaceous glands.
- Fingertips are very touch-sensitive and can “see” (or react) with touch similar to the way eyes see
Just as how pupils allow your eyes to react to varying light intensities, fingertips allow your fingers to react to stimuli such as extreme hot or cold temperatures. The tips of the fingers are another part of the skin that is very sensitive due to the presence of large amounts of sensory neurons which send signals to the brain, with touch being the main medium through which sensitivity is felt.
- Skin tends to lose elasticity as you age, making it thinner and more fragile
As you age, the collagen production in your skin decreases. Collagen is a protein that provides structure and elasticity to your skin to give it a tightened, more youthful appearance. As its production is reduced, your skin loses elasticity and starts to sag. Additionally, with decreased collagen production, your skin starts to lose the ability to repair itself and fewer dead skin cells are replaced, resulting in skin that is much thinner, dull-looking, and more fragile.
- Excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light contributes to skin damage
Spending time in the sun is essential for the synthesis of Vitamin D. However, overexposure to sunlight can contribute to skin damage as harmful UV rays may cause the skin to age prematurely thus giving rise to wrinkles, sun spots, and hyperpigmentation. As such, it is advisable to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 before heading outside and to use protective clothing such as headgear or sunglasses, particularly in hot weather.
As you can tell, there are many important facts about the skin that often go unnoticed but should be made known throughout. After all, your overall well-being is dependent on the health and quality of your skin. Protective measures from sun damage such as the use of SPF-rated sunscreen or protective clothing are just a few of the many ways you can ensure your skin remains healthy and youthful. Although undesirable skin changes are inevitable with age, these processes can actually be slowed down so long as you make the effort to take care of your skin earlier on, thereby enabling you to maintain a youthful appearance for years to come. Visit https://ever.healthcare/ for more tips on skincare, beauty and wellness.