Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Skin Cells: Fast Facts


  1. Capsaicin, the chemical in peppers that makes them hot, doesn't just affect your tongue. Some people also experience an intense burning in their skin and eyes, which can usually be alleviated with soap and water. Learn more about irritating plants.
  1. Though you might not see any difference in the health of your hands if you forget to wear gloves once when using household cleaners, prolonged exposure can dry out your skin and break down its surface. Learn more about the effects of household cleaners on the skin.
  1. Soft, freshly cleaned laundry might seem snuggly, but it could be irritating your skin. Laundry detergents' fragrances and dyes -- the biggest culprits -- can cause rashes and itching. Fragrance- and dye-free detergents have been created to alleviate this problem. Learn more about how laundry's other components affect skin.
  1. PABA, para-aminobenzoic acid, provides an essential nutrient to some animals and works as an effective sunscreen for humans. However, many people, particularly children, experience allergic reactions to sunscreen containing PABA. Learn more about avoiding PABA in your sunscreen.
  1. The best bug repellent isn't a spray -- it's your clothes. Clothing is the skin's best protection against insects. Learn more about bug repellent.
  1. Heat rash isn't actually caused by heat; rather, all the sweating you do when it's hot causes heat rash. Blocked sweat ducts and trapped perspiration result in the telltale red lumps or outbreak of blisters. Learn more about heat rash.
  1. When it comes to removing unwanted body hair, waxing can be a longer-lasting alternative to shaving; however, it can also be more irritating. Since the wax sticks to both the hair and skin, ripping off the waxed strips can cause your skin to become red and irritated for a few hours after the procedure. Learn more about hair removal methods.
  1. It's usually not a good idea to keep your makeup until the container is empty. Cosmetics have a certain shelf life, and heat and bacteria can shorten that time frame. Using makeup beyond its shelf life can lead to skin irritation and other harmful effects. Learn more about the shelf life of cosmetics.
  1. Allergies can develop suddenly. Even if you have been using the same soap for years, you can unexpectedly experience an allergic reaction to a specific ingredient. Learn more about irritants in soap.
  1. Though you wear it every day, clothing can also be a source of sore skin. Clothes can irritate your skin for a variety of reasons: Abrasive fabric Allergic reactions to dyes, metals, appliqu├ęs or additives in the fabric Scratchy tags and seams Movement that causes chafing Infections from fabric that doesn't let the skin breathe Learn more about eliminating irritants in clothing.

Here are some helpful links:


More to Explore