SKIN

(opinion article)

How much does our skin weigh and how many holes in it? Why is it so hard to pat yourself? What determines skin color? Tells Bill Bryson in the book ‘Body. Instruction for use,’ published by ‘Nash Format.’

This may sound a little strange, but our skin is the largest and perhaps the most diverse organ. It keeps internal organs inside and the harmful things outside. Softens shocks. Gives a feeling of touch, brings pleasure, warmth, pain and everything that makes us alive. Produces melanin to protect us from the sun. Self-healing if we damage it. Makes us beautiful. Takes care of us!

Formally, the skin is called the integumentary system. Its size reaches about two square meters, and it weighs from 5 to 7 kilograms — depending on your height and circumference of the buttocks and abdomen. The thinnest layer of skin covers the eyelids and the thickest — the palms and heels.

The skin has an inner layer — the so-called dermis — and an outer — epidermis. The epidermis itself is also covered with a stratum corneum, which consists entirely of dead cells.

Interesting: everything that makes you beautiful is long dead. The part of the body that touches the air is dead. Within a month, these dead cells are replaced by new ones. We shed our skin profusely and carelessly, dropping about twenty-five thousand flakes per minute and more than a million every hour. Swipe your finger on the dusty shelf — and you will have the remnants of your own former “I.” We all leave behind about half a kilo of dust a year.

As for our receptors, they are tuned so that you feel the world with one hundred percent accuracy. Pacini’s bodies perceive motion even within 0.00001 millimeters, which is almost no motion. What’s more, they don’t even need to come into contact with a moving object. As David Linden points out in his book ‘Touch,’ if you immerse a shovel in gravel or sand, you will feel the difference between them, even if it is not you who touches them, but the shovel. Interestingly, we do not have moisture receptors — only thermal. That’s why when we sit in a wet place, we usually can’t tell if it’s wet or just cold.

These are just a few facts about the skin that you need to know to better understand the processes that take place in your body. But the most important thing is proper and timely self-care.

February 17, 2021

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