We may not know it but our skin plays a key part in our wellbeing – from managing body temperature to shielding inside organs from outside infection.
Yet, there is a lot more to our skin. Here are probably the most surprising facts about the thin layer of tissue that structures the regular external covering of our bodies.
1. Skin is the largest organ of the body. On average, your skin extends to around 22 square feet and makes up around 16% of your body weight.
2. Dead skin accounts for about a billion tons of dust in the atmosphere. Human skin sheds around 50,000 cells every minute – that’s 500 million skin cells each day.
3. Every square inch of the body has around 50 million bacteria on it. Your skin is home to more than 1,000 species of bacteria.
4. The skin contains around 45 miles of nerves. That’s roughly equal to the distance from London to Reading.
5. We have 200 different types of fungi living in our feet, according to a study published in the journal Nature. Although they live all over the human body, apparently their favourite spots are the heel, under toenails and between the toes.
6. 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.
7. On average, a human has roughly 1.6 trillion skin cells.
8. About every 30 days, your body produces a totally new epidermis – the outer layer of the skin.
9. The average person has about three million sweat glands, but only some of them, called the apocrine glands, secrete sweat that encourages bacteria to grow and make you smelly.
10. Breasts are a modified form of the apocrine sweat gland.