Although the skin is the body’s largest organ, many people still know surprisingly little about it. From the different layers that make up your skin to the number of skin cells you naturally shed every minute, here are 15 surprising things that you probably didn’t know about your skin.
1. It Sheds 30-40,000 Skin Cells Every Minute
While this may seem shocking, it is totally natural for your body to shed its dead skin cells every day.
However, while your body may try to shed these on its own, many skin cells do end up remaining on the surface of the skin, settling into pores. This can lead to quite a dull, rough complexion, but, fortunately, there is an easy fix…
The answer lies with exfoliation, as this technique helps to clear the skin of its dead skin cells, revealing the fresh, new skin cells beneath. Whether you opt for mechanical, chemical or enzymatic exfoliation, make sure that this is a key part of your skin care routine.
2. It Regenerates Every 28 Days
Wondering how quickly your body produces new skin cells, to replace the 40,000 that are lost each day?
The answer is every 28 days or so.
However, keep in mind that this number does rise with age, as this is when the skin regeneration process begins to slow down.
3. It Is Made Up of 3 Layers
Many people believe that there is just one layer to their skin, but there are actually three main layers:
- Subcutis – this is the innermost layer of your skin, and mainly consists of collagen cells and fat
- Dermis – this is your skin’s middle layer, and is responsible for around 90% of your skin’s thickness
- Epidermis – the outermost layer of skin, the epidermis protects the skin from the environment, while retaining moisture
4. It Can Get Damaged by Over-Washing
There is no denying that washing your face is so important, but doing this more than twice a day will only end up stripping your skin of its natural oils.
Even if you have oily skin, you do not want to clear all of these natural oils away, as this will only send your oil glands into overdrive, resulting in even more oil being produced.
Do not forget…
Always apply a layer of moisturizer onto your face after washing it, while your skin is still damp. This ensures that the moisturizer will trap in the extra water on your skin, meaning that the only place that it can go is into your skin, hydrating it even further.
5. Air Pollution Ages It Prematurely
There are an increasing number of studies out there that point to the ways in which air pollution can cause the skin to prematurely age.
This is frightening for many, especially for those who live in cities and cannot really escape the pollution.
Fortunately, there are ways in which you can counter their damaging effects:
- Use skin care products that contain antioxidants, as these will help to protect your skin from pollution damage
- Invest in an electronic cleansing device, as studies have shown that these are especially effective at removing particulate matter from pollution
- Always cleanse your skin at the end of the day
- Apply a moisturizer that can help to strengthen your skin’s natural protective barrier
6. It Has Different Thicknesses Around Your Body
While you may think that skin is skin, your skin actually varies in thickness at different spots around your body.
Wondering where your thickest skin is?
This can be found on the soles of your feet, with the skin here measuring around 1.5 millimetres in depth.
When it comes to thinnest skin on your body, this can be found on your eyelids and around your eyes, measuring just 0.05 millimetres in depth.
Surprised at the difference between the two?
This is why it is so important to be extremely gentle when dealing with the skin on your face, especially around your eyes. Even tugging it on a regular basis while removing makeup can quickly lead to wrinkles and fine lines.
7. It Becomes Thinner with Age
As your body ages, your skin becomes thinner, and can almost seem translucent in certain areas.
While this is something that is inevitable in the end, there are ways in which you can slow down the process:
- Drink more water to increase hydration
- Consider taking a flax seed or fish oil supplement
- Begin using a retinoid product to increase skin thickness
Try to also practice a lifestyle that is as healthy and holistic as possible, as this can really do so much when it comes to slowing down the aging process, not only for your skin, but also the rest of your body.
8. Your Cellphone Can Cause Breakouts
For many people, their cellphone is something that stays by their side each and every day, accompanying them everywhere they go.
This means that your cellphone is also exposed to all of the germs and bacteria, everywhere you go, as well as on every surface that you place it on.
Each time you hold your cellphone up to your face, this bacteria ends up getting transferred onto your skin, leading to breakouts and blemishes.
So, what can you do to prevent this?
It’s simple. Just clean your cellphone with some antibacterial wipes a couple of times a day. Do not forget to also do this with other surfaces that your skin comes into regular contact with, which you may often forget about while cleaning. These include the remote control, light switches around your house, and door handles.
You should also try to refrain from touching your face with your fingers, unless you have just washed your hands.
9. It is Affected by Stress
Stress can be responsible for a number of skin problems, especially if you experience chronic stress.
Here are just a few of the ways in which stress impacts your skin:
- Causes under-eye bags, as a lack of quality sleep leads to fluid building up underneath the eyes
- The cortisol hormone that is released into the body when stress is experienced can lead to acne on the face and body
- Stress can cause rashes and hives
- Stress can cause you to make repeated facial expressions, such as a frown, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles
- Stress exacerbates existing skin conditions, such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis
Wondering what to do about it?
The best way is to tackle the root of the problem, which means the stress itself, rather than trying to fix each symptom. There are many stress management techniques out there that you can try:
- Exercise has been proven to lower stress levels
- Spending time doing something that you love can help to relax you
- Find a hobby
- Keep a journal to track your stressors, so that you can then work on eradicating them from your life
- Give yoga or meditation a try, even if this is just a few simple breathing exercises
10. Your Sleeping Position Affects It
Many dermatologists can immediately tell the way in which a person sleeps, just from looking at the skin on their face.
If you tend to favor one side of your body when sleeping, this is the side of the face that comes into contact with your pillowcase the most, and experiences quite a bit of friction with the fabric. This can lead to fine lines and wrinkles on that side of your face.
Luckily, there is an easy way around this…
Simply swap your cotton pillowcases for silk or satin versions, as this smooth material does not cause any friction when it comes into contact with your skin.
11. It Reflects What You Eat
Have you ever heard the saying, “you are what you eat”?
This could not be more true when it comes to your skin…
Your skin needs certain nutrients in order to thrive, meaning that an unbalanced diet will only result in a poor complexion.
You are likely already aware of what makes up a healthy, balanced diet, but, if you are finding this difficult to stick to, here are a few tips to get you eating healthier:
- Begin with beverages, cutting out sugar-filled, processed drinks, and swapping them for herbal teas and fruit-infused waters
- A nutritious breakfast will go a long way in helping you to cut back on snacking throughout the day
- Spend 30 minutes a week planning your meals for the next week
- If you tend to over-eat, practice portion control rather than banning certain foods from your plate
- Eat smaller portions throughout the day rather than three large meals, especially if you tend to feel hungry in between meals
12. Up to 90% of Its Wrinkles Are Caused by the Sun
Facial wrinkles are something that many want to avoid, but those same people still spend so much time exposing their vulnerable skin to the sun.
With the sun being responsible for up to 90% of facial wrinkles, it is vital that you understand the importance of sunscreen, especially if you want to keep your skin looking youthful for longer.
Sunscreen needs to be worn throughout the year, as the sun’s UV rays are just as damaging in the winter as they are in the summer.
Do you spend most of your day in an office, or in a car?
This does not make you exempt from wearing sunscreen, as the glass that you sit by can actually magnify the sun’s rays.
Even on a dark, cloudy day, UV rays are still able to penetrate into your skin, meaning that sunscreen should definitely be a part of your morning skin care ritual…every single day.
Not sure which sunscreen to buy?
There are two main types of sunscreen out there: physical and chemical.
Chemical sunscreens contain ingredients that absorb UV rays and then emit them as infrared rays, whereas physical sunscreens contain ingredients that reflect UV rays away from the skin.
Both types of sunscreen provide adequate protection from the sun. While physical sunscreens are best for those with sensitive skin, chemical sunscreens are far more widely available, making them much more convenient.
13. It Has > 60,000 Miles of Blood Vessels
While some people may not notice the blood vessels in their skin at all, they are much more visible for others, and this can often result in what looks like redness.
If this is the case for you, try opting for mild and gentle skin care ingredients as much as possible, while treating your skin as gently as possible in other ways.
What exactly does this mean?
It means staying away from hot showers, keeping your environment at a pleasant temperature, and making sure not to over-exfoliate.
14. It Weighs 20 Lbs
For the average adult, your skin probably weighs around 20 lbs.
Wondering exactly how much 20 pounds is?
This would be the equivalent of, say, a dining chair, or a pug dog.
Yes, your skin is actually quite heavy, and around 50-70% of its total weight is actually made up of water.
Do you find it difficult to consume an adequate amount of water each day?
Try encouraging yourself to drink more water by placing bottles of fruit-infused water around the house, and opting for warming herbal teas, rather than coffees, during the winter months.
15. It Helps Regulate Body Temperature
The regulation of body temperature is so important, but your body would not be able to do this without your skin…
Each time environmental temperatures rise, the sweat glands within your skin are activated, and this helps to cool your body down.
However, when temperatures drop, your skin’s blood vessels tighten, which helps the body to retain heat.