All About Acne

Your Epidermis is Showing

If you skinned an adult, you would have enough material to make a 4-by-5 foot (1.2-by-1.5 meter) area rug that weighed upward of 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) [source: Chudler]. That skin rug is your body's largest organ, although it varies in thickness. The thinnest part of your skin, your eyelids, are only half a millimeter thick, while the thickest skin is found on the soles of your feet, which have pads that are about 1.5 millimeters thick [source: Amirlak, et al].

When you look at someone, you're looking at eyeballs, hair, teeth, clothes and millions and millions of skin cells that are dead. That's it. Every inch of skin you see is old, dead skin. This is the outermost layer of the skin's outermost layer, the epidermis. The new skin is being formed beneath it, in the innermost layer of the epidermis. As new skin cells are produced, they begin traveling outward toward the surface of your skin. Older, dying skin cells that exist between the new cells and the skin's surface are pushed up and out by these new cells. It can take as long as a month for a skin cell to make the journey from the inner layer of the epidermis to the outer layer. While this seems like a long time for one cell to travel such a short distance, anywhere from 40 million to 60 million of these cells are reaching their destination every day, where they then leap from your skin to freedom [source: KidsHealth]. While humans have fairly good vision, it is perhaps a blessing that we can't see the 40,000 dead skin cells a minute that fall off each of us.

Let's go beyond the surface.