Understanding your skin – Skin Facts
1. Skin is the largest organ of the body (8-10 lb or 3.6-4.5 kg).
The skin undergoes a very active cell regeneration (grow & die). The unique function of skin is that it prevents fluid loss, absorbs and excretes various substances on an as required basis (e.g. sweat, lubricating oils, toxins, ultra-violet light stimulates vitamin D synthesis), has a high network of blood vessels (11 mi or 17.7 km) and nerves (45 miles or 72.4 km).
The skin has a very large surface area (22 square feet or 2 square meters) that acts to waterproof, insulate and guard the body against extreme temperatures, sunlight irradiation, and harmful chemicals in the form of liquids, solids or gas. The skin’s unique elasticity allows stretching and contracting to allow us free movement in our environment.
2. Human skin regenerates itself, forming a shield of new outer skin cells every 4 to 5 weeks.
The average human has 1.5 billion skin cells or 473,485 skin cells on every square inch of body (75,000 skin cells per square centimeter). The skin sheds 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells every minute or 1.8 to 2.4 million cells every 24 hours. In a lifetime you will shed your skin about 1,000 times. Skin shedding is equivalent of 8.8 lb (4 kg) every year that adds to house dust.
3. Skin is a large sensory organ.
Skin is packed with nerves that communicate with the brain, informing the body of various stimuli such as temperature, humidity, irradiation and gaseous environments to which it is exposed.
4. At birth a baby’s skin is neutral acid/base balance (pH7) and quickly changes to acidic nature.
Normal skin is slightly acidic with a pH ranging from 4.5 to 6.0. This skin acidity protects against bacterial attachment and potential infection. As we age the skin’s pH becomes more neutral, losing its anti-bacterial properties. Most soaps are alkaline (pH+7) which removes the protective barrier of the skin.