If you’re like me, you remember a few of those random skin facts from your school anatomy classes. You know, “the skin is the largest organ of the body” and all that jazz. Of course, the only facts I still remember are those that are wholly useless for the average person like myself.
Maybe the reason I forgot all those lessons the moment I walked out of the final exam is because I didn’t think they mattered to my daily life. They probably didn’t when I was 13. But the older I get, the more I want to know about my health, including my skin. The moment I started seeing those first fine lines, I turned into a Googling whirlwind trying to find out what this nonsense was and how I could stop it.
So let’s take a journey, shall we? These fun skin facts can help you keep your skin looking its best for ages, and hey, they might even come in handy the next time you hit up bar trivia.
1. Your Skin Delegates Its Touch Reception
We all know our skin is full of nerve endings and sensors because we rely on it for information about touch, temperature, pain, and more. Did you know there’s a whole bureaucratic division of labor, though?
Your skin has several different types of receptors and nerve endings that specialize in different sensations. For example, certain types called Meissner’s corpuscles perceive light touching while Pacinian corpuscles sense deeper pressure and vibrations. There are wholly different nerve endings that focus on temperature and pain.
2. Everyone Has Living Things on Our Skin
I know, it’s a nasty thought, but it’s true: our skin is home to plenty of living beings. Most notably, we all have many species of bacteria that take up residence in our pores and on our skin. In addition to the bacteria, we all have microscopic critters called Demodex mites on our skin.
For the most part, these living creatures are harmless. They’re part of the natural ecosystem just like us. They can, however, get out of control or come into contact with the wrong particles on our skin, leading to irritation, blemishes, or infections.
This is one of many reasons why it’s so important to use a skin cleanser twice per day: to keep your skin friends happy and under control.
3. Your Skin Sheds More Than You Think
This is another “fun fact” that might sound gross, but it’s actually a good thing, I promise!
Most people know their skin (and other organs in your body, for that matter) is constantly shedding old cells and replacing them with new ones. Did you know that your skin sheds an astonishing 30,000 to 40,000 cells every minute, though? In fact, every 28 days, your skin’s surface layer is completely different than the layer that was there a month before.
For the most part, these skin cells just slough off, venture into the air, and turn into dust. They don’t always have such a clean break, though. When too many dead skin cells stick around on the surface, they can clog your pores or cause other types of unwanted irritation.
That’s why you need to use an exfoliant on a regular basis: twice per week for most of us. A skin exfoliant does a more comprehensive job of clearing away dead skin cells than your daily cleanser, so it can catch up on any buildup your cleanser might miss.
4. Not All Skin Is the Same
You can call your skin a lot of things, but you can’t call it basic. It’s more complex than you realize, and in fact, skin in different parts of your body is very different.
For example, the skin on the bottom of your feet is 1.4 millimeters thick. The skin on your eyelids is only 0.2 millimeters thick. Your skin may even be more sensitive in some areas than in others and could react differently to certain particles.
In other words, when you see skin care products labeled for use on certain areas of the face or body, they aren’t just blowing smoke. Especially for delicate areas like the skin around your eyes, you need skin care products that are specifically formulated to give that type of skin what it needs.
5. Your Skin Starts Aging at 25 (or Earlier)
I hate to break it to you, but no matter how much we say that 40 is the new 30, our skin isn’t playing along. I know, I’m just as frustrated as you are.
The skin-firming collagen that naturally appears in your skin breaks down over time. It’s in a constant cycle of breakdown and regrowth, and when you’re young, your body produces enough collagen to keep up with the breakdown so you keep looking youthful.
Don’t think of this fact as depressing – think of it as motivating. If you’re nearing or past 25, it’s not too early to start playing defense. You can keep your collagen breakdown to a minimum by wearing sunscreen every day and adding a retinol serum or other anti-aging products to your regimen.
Knowing Your Skin (and Knowing How to Protect It)
You’ve heard that saying: “when you know better, you do better.” That’s just as true when it comes to your skin and other aspects of your health as it is with your behavior. By knowing more about your skin, the problems it’s prone to, and how it reacts to different habits, you can better learn how to take care of it and give it the brilliant youth you love.