How It Works

If we’re constantly shedding our skin, how much do we lose over our lifetimes?

Skin is our body’s largest organ – on average an adult has about two square metres (22 square feet) of it, or in weight about 3.6 kilograms (eight pounds). It protects our internal organs, produces vitamins and minerals, provides tactile feedback, and helps us retain water; that’s why keeping it moisturised and well protected is so important. Since it’s so hardworking and subject to so much, though, skin constantly needs to reproduce itself. For each minute that goes by, you’ve shed 40,000 skin cells, and your skin is entirely renewed every 35 or so days. So if you live for 80 years, you’ll have renewed your skin approximately 800 times, shedding up to 2,880 kilograms (6,400 pounds).

To learn more amazing facts, pick up a copy of Issue 73  of How It Works today from all good retailers, or order it online from the ImagineShop. If you have a tablet or smartphone, you can also download the digital version onto your iOS or Android device. To make sure you never miss an issue of How It Works magazine, make sure you subscribe today!

Plus, take a look at:

FeyeCon Intelliplant helps you regrow skin and bone like wolverine

How skin grafts work

What’s in fake tan that makes our skin go brown/orange?