Aah glorious skin: We fight for its firmness, get stressed out when it’s saggy or wrinkly, and lament how it hurts when we get too much sun or if we touch something too hot. Like a sponge, it absorbs up to 60 percent of the topical products we put on it. Even though our skin cells are replaced every 28 days, we may carry the effects of how well we treat our “shell” for a lifetime.
What Its Jobs Are
Contrary to how we may perceive it, skin does much bigger jobs for the body than merely sitting pretty on the surface. It regulates your body temperature. Like a shield of armor, it defends your body against invasion from bacteria and pathogens. To a certain extent, it protects you from the sun’s UV rays. As it works like a natural raincoat with the help of oils and lipids, your skin also keeps moisture inside the body from escaping. And it protects your inner workings by cushioning your body from strong blows.
If you put it on a scale, your skin would weigh about eight pounds. Stretched out, it would be 22 square feet and between two and three millimeters thick. Your thinnest skin is on your eyelids, and the areas of the body your skin is thickest is on your hands and feet.
Every Five Square Centimeters of Skin
Our skin is full of action at a microscopic level. Every five square centimeters of skin contains a whopping 50 million bacteria, which can climb to an astonishing 400 million if you have oily skin. Additionally, there are 1,000 nerve endings, 600 sweat glands and 20 blood vessels.
Talk the Talk
The skin actually consists of three layers. The surface is called the epidermis, and it’s where your sweat glands, sensory nerves, hair follicles and blood vessels end. In the center is the dermis – home to your skin’s pigment, sweat glands and hair follicles, sitting atop the skin’s deepest level, called the subcutaneous fatty layer.
Did you know?
Besides the skin’s largest nemesis, the sun, excessive wind exposure can also contribute to a breakdown of your body’s barrier. Collagen loss and gravity work together to contribute to the loss of elasticity in the skin’s surface. You can counteract the effects of the environment with a good skincare regimen that includes regular exfoliation and sunscreen use.