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    Posted on Jun 3, 2016

    11 Facts About Skin That Will Make You Feel Weird

    *stares at back of own hand in mixture of disgust and awe*

    1. Your skin is your largest organ. In an average adult, it has an area of 2 square metres and weighs roughly 5 kilograms.

    Lions Gate Films

    That's a lot of skin.

    2. There's an awful lot going on inside of it.

    NIH /

    The epidermis is the top layer that you can see. Underneath that is the dermis, which is thicker and has a lot more going on including blood vessels, sweat glands, and hair follicles. The layer under the dermis is often called subcutaneous tissue, and consists of mostly fat and collagen.

    3. The technical term for skin peeling is "desquamation".

    Milan Maksic / Getty Images

    It happens after you get badly sunburnt, but also as a result of some diseases or injuries.

    4. The average person has about 3 million sweat glands.

    Henry Gray / Gray's Anatomy / Via

    And they look a bit like tiny little worms according to this anatomical diagram.

    5. But only *some* sweat glands secrete "milky sweat" that encourages bacteria to grow and make you smelly.


    They're called apocrine glands and they mostly occur in your armpit and groin regions.

    The other type are called eccrine glands, and the sweat they release is mostly just water and doesn't encourage the growth of odour-producing bacteria.

    6. Spots and blackheads happen when pores in your skin become clogged with sebum (oily stuff that comes from sebaceous glands) and dead skin. staff / Creative Commons / Via

    The difference is the stuff clogging your pore in a blackhead is exposed to the air, so that's how it ends up black – the melanin in sebum reacts with oxygen in the air and turns a dark colour, as you can see above.

    7. The thickness of your outer layer of skin varies hugely and is as thin as 0.05 millimetres on your eyelids.

    But up to 1.5mm thick on the bottom of your feet.

    8. You continuously shed skin and replace it with new cells.

    Gray /

    The top layer of your skin (the stratum corneum) is made up of cells that are already dead and have been flattened into "scales" ready for shedding and becoming household dust.

    9. A tan is your skin trying to protect itself from more sun damage.

    Hove Center for Facial Plastic Surgery /

    There are cells in your skin called melanocytes that produce melanin. Sun exposure makes those cells produce more melanin to try to protect your skin from UV rays, resulting in you getting a suntan.

    But that doesn't mean a "base tan" will protect you from harm. According to an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association: "A suntan is a sign that skin has already been damaged. And tanned skin can continue to be damaged when exposed to UV rays."

    10. There are probably tiny mites living on your skin.

    Fuse / Getty Images

    Demodex folliculorum (pictured above) is one of two species of face mites that live on humans. It's probably hanging out in your hair follicles (including in your eyelashes) right now. The other, Demodex brevis, prefers your sebaceous glands. The mites have scales to keep themselves in place on your face, and "pin-like" mouth parts for eating your skin cells and sebum.

    In all but the most severe infestations they're not at all harmful. But they're still there.

    11. And at night they come out and have sex on your face.

    And they lay eggs. Oh, and they don't have any way to expel waste, so when they die they just decompose right where they were and leave all your lovely digested face stuff back where they found it – on your face.

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