Human skin is a remarkable organ, but one we often take for granted. It does more than hold us together and look presentable. It’s a complex system that protects our internal structures from outside damage. The skin is made up of three main layers: the epidermis (outer layer), the dermis (the middle layer) and the subcutaneous layer (the inner layer). Components of the skin include hair and nails.
The skin is more interesting than you think. Here are just a few fascinating facts:
Skin is Your Body’s Largest Organ
The skin is the largest organ in the body, weighing 12-16% of a person’s total body weight. The average adult is covered with approximately 20 square feet of skin weighing about 6 to 9 pounds.
Skin Protects Your Body
The skin acts as a barrier between us and our environment, insulating and protecting the organs, muscles and bones from external threats - everything from dust and dirt to bacteria and viruses.
Skin Regulates Body Temperature
The skin releases as much as three gallons of sweat a day in hot weather. Your skin helps control body temperature by distributing heat through the skin and by preventing dehydration.
The skin is a sensory organ, and has receptors for detecting hot and cold, touch, pressure and pain.
Other unique facts about the skin include:
- The skin is composed of approximately 300 million skin cells.
- Every half square inch of the human skin has approximately 100 sweat glands, 10 hairs, 15 sebaceous glands, and 3.2 feet of tiny blood vessels.
- A large percentage of the dust in your home is actually dead skin.
- Your skin sheds a layer of dead skin cells every day and is constantly renewing itself.
- Goose bumps are actually small pimples that help retain a layer of warm air over our body.
- Human skin is the thinnest on the eyelid.
Human skin varies in type, color and texture for every person, but everyone’s skin serves the same primary purpose - to protect our insides! Your skin is very important, which means you should take care of it by protecting if from the sun, moisturizing it regularly, and practicing good daily skin care. Whenever you detect an unusual skin spot or suspect a problem with your skin, contact your dermatologist for an evaluation.
Warts are benign skin growths that appear when a virus infects the top layer of the skin. They often appear as a small, unsightly, rough growth on a person’s hands or feet, but can also appear on other parts of the body. There are many types of warts, some appearing flat or raised, and others growing in large clusters.
The virus that causes most warts is called human papillomavirus (HPV). Warts are usually harmless, but some strains of HPV are associated with other health complications. Wart viruses are contagious and can spread by direct contact, usually entering the body in an area of broken skin.
When should you see your dermatologist?
In some cases, a wart will disappear on its own, although it may take months or even years. Most people prefer some method of wart removal since warts are often unattractive, bothersome and even painful. In many cases, warts can be treated at home.
Common methods for self-treatment include covering the wart with duct tape or applying salicylic acid. It’s always best to consult your dermatologist before trying any at-home remedies. Wart removal by a trained dermatologist is always the most effective treatment.
The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends visiting your dermatologist if you have any of the following:
- Any doubt that the skin growth is a wart, as some skin cancers resemble warts
- A wart that appears on your face or genitals
- Several warts
- A wart that is painful, itchy, burns or bleeds
- A weak immune system
Because HPV is contagious, you’ll want to take a few extra precautions to keep it from spreading, including:
- Avoid scratching or picking your warts.
- Always wear shoes in public places such as showers, locker rooms or pools.
- Never touch another person’s wart.
- Keep warts on the feet dry to prevent moisture from spreading the virus.
If your warts persist, are painful or if you have several warts, you should visit your dermatologist. There are many treatment options available for warts, including laser treatment or freezing, burning or cutting out the wart, among others. Your dermatologist can help you determine the best treatment option for your specific type of wart.
Since there is no permanent cure for HPV, warts can redevelop. In this case, its best to have your dermatologist treat the new wart as soon as it appears. Warts are a common and frustrating condition affecting both children and adults. Contact our office today and learn how you can wipe out your warts!
Although it may only seem like a temporary irritation, a sunburn can cause long-lasting damage to the skin. Skin that is sunburned is red, tender and warm to the touch. Severely sunburned skin may even result in the formation of painful blisters.
Too much sun is especially dangerous for children. One severe sunburn during childhood may double a child’s lifetime risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
It may take up to 24 hours after sun exposure to recognize the severity of your burn. For mild burns, follow these tips to relieve discomfort:
- Avoid the sun. Spending additional time in the sun after you already have a sunburn will only worsen the negative effects and delay the healing process.
- Take a cool shower or bath to relieve any pain or discomfort. Apply a cool compress, like a damp cloth, to the skin to help reduce discomfort.
- Apply moisturizer or cream to soothe the skin. Aloe gel is a common household remedy for sunburns as it helps ease pain and inflammation.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body.
- Take ant-inflammatory medications. Do this as directed by your doctor to help decrease the inflammation and reduce redness and pain.
- Do not pop any blisters. This will slow the healing process and increase the risk for infection.
In most cases a sunburn does not require medical attention. Call a doctor immediately if there are signs of heat exhaustion, dehydration, fever, severe blistering or other serious reactions.
Fortunately, sunburns are completely preventable. Remember to always wear sunscreen and limit overexposure to the sun by seeking shade and wearing appropriate clothes and accessories that cover the skin, such as hats and sunglasses.
Remember, prevention is better than cure, so remember to take extra precaution to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays!
When school is in session, it’s easy for students to pick up a number of bad habits between late nights of studying and long sports practices. From poor eating habits to a lack of sleep and increased stress, unhealthy lifestyles can lead to unhealthy skin.
Whether you’re in middle school, high school or college, students everywhere can benefit from healthier skin. With a little extra care and attention, you can keep your skin blemish free all year long.
Keep your skin clean
This may sound obvious, but keeping your face clean is one of the most important things you can do to improve its health. Get in the habit of washing your face twice a day with warm water and a mild soap to remove the dirt and debris that accumulate throughout the school day.
Avoid touching your face with your hands throughout the day as your hands contain oils that cause breakouts. Never pop pimples as this can irritate the skin, make acne worse and increase your risk for scarring.
Moisturizers seal moisture into the skin to prevent skin from drying out. Your dermatologist can help you determine the best moisturizer for your skin type.
Avoid excessive sun exposure
Protect your skin from the sun by wearing sunscreen and avoiding overexposure. Too much sun can damage the skin leading to future breakouts and even skin cancer.
Improve your physical well-being
Your skin reflects what you eat, so remember to eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants. Learn to manage stress as it can make your skin more sensitive and trigger acne breakouts and other skin problems. Get plenty of rest every night; approximately 7-8 hours of restful sleep is essential for healthy skin.
By maintaining a consistent daily regimen that includes washing and a healthy diet, you can achieve clear, healthy skin throughout the entire school year. Whenever you have a question or concern about your skin, talk to your dermatologist. Dermatologists offer a range of treatments that help prevent and treat acne and other skin conditions. We can help you find the treatment method that's best for you.
We all want to achieve a healthy tan. It makes us look and feel better, but that bronzed glow may not be as healthy as you think. A tan is your skin’s reaction to ultraviolet (UV) light. This darkening of the skin cells is the skin's natural defense against further damage from UV radiation.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), nearly 28 million people tan in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens. Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless, but this is far from true. Tanning beds emit UVA and usually UVB rays as well. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause long-term skin damage and premature aging (i.e. wrinkles, spots and sagging skin), and can contribute to skin cancer.
The AAD states that the risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—is 75% higher among people who used tanning beds in their teens and 20s. Despite the known risks associated with indoor tanning these numbers continue to increase, as do the incidences of cancer.
Visit your dermatologist immediately if you detect any unusual changes in your skin’s appearance, such as:
- A change or an increase in the size or thickness of a mole or spot
- Change in color or texture of the mole
- Irregularity in the border of a mole
Protecting yourself from UV exposure is the best defense against premature aging and skin cancer. In addition to avoiding indoor tanning beds, you should also always wear sunscreen outdoors to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Remember to self-examine your own skin as well as have your skin checked regularly by your dermatologist.
Whether you acquire your tan from the beach or a lamp, it’s not safe and it’s not healthy. If you’re a regular tanner, it may be time to rethink your current stance on the standards of beauty. There are safe alternatives to a bronzed glow without risking your health.
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