Interesting facts about Skin

  • It’s your body’s largest organ, despite what the readers of Maxim think.
  • An average adult’s skin spans 21 square feet, weighs nine pounds, and contains more than 11 miles of blood vessels.
  • The skin releases as much as three gallons of sweat a day in hot weather. The areas that don’t sweat are the nail bed, the margins of the lips, and the eardrums.
  • Body odor comes from a second kind of sweat—a fatty secretion produced by the apocrine sweat glands, found mostly around the armpits, genitals, and anus.
  • The odor is caused by bacteria on the skin eating and digesting those fatty compounds.
Normal Skin Layers
Normal Skin Layers
  • Breasts are a modified form of the apocrine sweat gland.
  • Fetuses don’t develop fingerprints until three months’ gestation.
  • Without a trace: Some people never develop fingerprints at all. Two rare genetic defects, known as Naegeli syndrome and dermatopathia pigmentosa reticularis, can leave carriers without any identifying ridges on their skin.
  • Fingerprints increase friction and help grip objects. New World monkeys have similar prints on the undersides of their tails, the better to grasp as they swing from branch to branch.
  • Globally, dead skin accounts for about a billion tons of dust in the atmosphere. Your skin sheds 50,000 cells every minute.
  • There are at least five types of receptors in the skin that respond to pain and to touch.
  • One experiment revealed that Meissner corpuscles—touch receptors that are concentrated in the fingertips and palms, lips and tongue, productive organs, and tip of breasts—respond to a pressure of just 20 milligrams, the weight of a fly.
  • In blind people, the brain’s visual cortex is rewired to respond to stimuli received through touch and hearing, so they literally “see” the world by touch and sound.
  • White skin appeared just 20,000 to 50,000 years ago, as dark-skinned humans migrated to colder climes and lost much of their melanin pigment.
  • People have started radio frequency identification chips, or RFID tags, inserting under their skin. The tags can provide access to medical information, log on to computers, or unlock car doors.
  • The Cleveland Public Library, Harvard Law School, and Brown University all have books clad in skin stripped from executed criminals.
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