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Skin deep

Did you know that skin is our largest organ? We tend to think of our organs as inside the body but skin is one organ that adults carry 8 pounds of while it would stretch for 22 square feet. Skin is a wonderful things and we owe it a great deal which is why we should look after it to the best of our ability. It acts as our own personal waterproof shield, guarding and insulating us from temperatures, sunlight and chemicals.

What else can it do? Cleverly, it can produce antibacterial substances to help prevent infection. It also produces Vitamin D for us to convert into calcium for maintaining healthy bones. Skin helps us to know what is happening in the outside world by sending messages to our brains via nerve impulses. Without this, we would not know when we were perhaps in danger. So let’s learn a bit more about this incredibly important organ of ours.

The outer layer of skin is called the epidermis which actually contains the same material found in nails and hair called keratin. This protein forms several layers that are constantly growing outwards as the exterior cells die and fall away. There is roughly a five week cycle while new cells work their way to the surface. The epidermis is where the useful Langerhans cells live which are the ones which alert the body’s immune system to viruses and other nasty things.

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The deeper layer is known as the dermis and this is where the collagen and elastin are situated. Blood vessels here help to regulate body temperature and a network of nerves detect things like touch, temperature and pain – sending these messages to the brain. This is also where the hair follicles are and the sweat glands can be found. Take care of your skin daily with Eucerin Aquaphor Soothing Skin Balm. For more information, visit

The subcutis is the name given to the deepest base layer of skin and includes a layer of fat which is held in reserve in case of a food shortage. It works well as an insulator and helps prevent us from injury when we have a bump or fall.

The colour of our skin is down to a substance called melanin which a pigment produced in the epidermis. It is designed to protect us from the harmful UV rays emitted from the sun. Darker skinned people produce more of this substance with deeper coloured melanin particles. This is why dark skinned people are native to tropical regions. Where solar rays are weakest, in the northern hemisphere, fair skin is more prevalent. The need here is for the Vitamin D to be absorbed for bone strength more than the need for protecting the skin.

Here are some other interesting things about skin:

  • Skin amounts to 15% of your total bodyweight
  • Every minute your skin sheds 30,000 dead cells
  • On average, over 14 species of fungi live between your toes
  • It takes up to 6 months for a baby to develop it’s permanent skin tone
  • The thickest skin is found on your feet at 1.4mm deep

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