The skin is the largest organ in the human body, as such, you’d expect some pretty interesting workings—but “interesting” doesn’t even scratch the surface of what we found. We did some digging to pull together 12 fascinating facts about your skin—Keep flipping through to see them all!
1. Super shedding: Even though you probably don’t know it’s happening, your skin sheds about 30,000 to 50,000 dead skin cells every minute. It’s okay though, because the average human has around 300 million skin cells.
2. Just another reason to dust: All of that dead skin floating around accounts for about a billion tons of dust in the atmosphere, globally, and about 50% of the dust in your own home.
3. Keep your cool: Roman physician Galen developed the first cold cream (named for how it made your skin feel) in 200 BC by melting beeswax into rose oil, and then adding water.
4. It’s not broken, don’t fix it: Today, Pond's Cold Cream ($9) is the most sold cold cream on the market, and the main ingredient, beeswax, remains the same—just like in Galen’s first cream.
5. The bee’s knees: For just over $55,200 an ounce you can treat yourself to the skincare ingredient reportedly loved by Kate Middleton—bee venom. Undiluted bee venom is painful to apply (not to mention costly), but the smooth skin benefits are said to rival the results of botox.
6. Sun gods: Two separate inventors, Chemists Eugene Schueller and Franz Greiter, are credited with the development of the first sunscreens in the 1930s. But it’s not for another 30 years that the term “Sun Protection Factor” (SPF) gets introduced by Greiter as a way to measure a product's ability to block ultraviolet rays.
7. Oh, how it burns: A sunburn will cause immediate (and visible) damage to the skin, but it can take up to 20-30 years for UVA damage, which penetrates deeper layers of the skin, to show up.
8. Your skin is essentially waterproof: Spend as much time as you want in the water, but nothing will pass into you and nothing will leave your skin because each cell is surrounded by waterproofing lipids like cholesterol, fatty acids, and ceramides, making skin a great water barrier. Without skin’s ability to minimize water loss, water would evaporate from the skin and we would literally dissolve.
9. DIY moisturizer: Humans have been using moisturizer since at least the Mesolithic era, 10,000 years ago. At that time, the hydrator of choice was animal fat, smeared onto to skin to keep it supple.
10. Bloody good skin: Your body’s own platelet-rich plasma can be used to give your face that radiant glow—just ask Kim Kardashian. The reality TV star is not shy about her blood facial habits, in which blood is drawn from the arm, spun at high speeds to separate the platelets, and then injected back into the face.
11. The price of being pale: Back in the "Golden Age of Spain," having a golden tan was a serious beauty faux pas. So, in an effort to maintain a porcelain complexion, women would eat clay. Unfortunately, eating clay not only not didn't help skin, but it also often caused anemia or chlorosis.
12. Men and women really are different: Men have a higher collagen density than women. Because collagen content is so tied to signs of aging, it has been said a woman’s skin is about 15 years older than a man’s of the same age. However, men are less sun-savvy, and their increased level of UV damage could negate their inherent slowed aging and contribute to why the “15 year” skin age difference is not often readily noticeable.
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