Skinned Alive

Fact: Your skin will replace itself around 900 times over your lifetime.

Stop worrying about that spot on your forehead. In about a month’s time all the skin on your body will have been completely replaced with new, flawless perfection – even if you don’t use that new cream enriched with platapus beak.

Skin cells are vitally important to protect you from infections, UV light and physical damage, as well as to keep all your organs from just sloshing out on the pavement. But exposed to the dangers of the world, their life is a stressful one, so they die off pretty quickly.

To keep you together, the lower layers of your skin are constantly producing new cells to replace the dead ones, meaning over 80 years you would have nearly 1,000 separate birthday suits to take for a test drive. But skin isn’t even the most impressive organ when it comes to keeping itself going.

The cells that make up your stomach lining are constantly being eaten away by acid, and so have a lifespan of just 5 minutes, while a human liver can famously completely regenerate when just 25% of it is left standing after a big Saturday night down your local. And lets not forget the true workhorse of the human body: the testes.

Remember though, while your body is resilient, your mind is weak – brain cells never recover if they get damaged or killed. Treat them with respect.

‘Another one of Mr Shaunak’s Little Bites of Science’
Image under creative commons license

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