Medical Facts Check Friday.

Fact: Your skin is a Major Constituent of household dust.

You're probably well acquainted with the fact that snakes shed their skin but are you aware that you shed your skin too?
Generally snakes shed from three to six times per year. Younger snakes shed more often than older ones but study shows we shed our skin more often than that.

Yes, it is fact that the human skin is constantly changing and regenerating itself through the process of shedding.
Although the process isn’t as dramatic and conspicuous, and they don’t fall off all at once but the average human loses millions of dead skin cells everyday.

According to a 2011 study by Charles Weschler and colleagues, which was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, humans shed their entire outer layer of skin every 2-4 weeks at the rate of 0.001 – 0.003 ounces of skin flakes every hour.
In the course of the year, it could amount to a pound of skin.
And over the course of a lifetime it adds up to roughly half your bodyweight.

The study also revealed that the skin flakes contain skin oils, including cholesterol and “squalene". And these tiny flakes form a major constituent of the dust that accumulates on tables, furnitures, rugs and other surfaces in homes and offices.
The saying "dust to dust..." actually makes more sense now, doesn't it?

The squalene oil Interestingly reacts with harmful ozone in houses, offices and aeroplanes, thereby improving the quality of the air.

Even while you take a shower, most especially in the morning, you're scrubbing away the oldest and loosest skin cells to reveal even more dead skin.
And as these dead skin leaves the body, it becomes dust.

The science behind this is simple. Your skin is made up of two layers — dermis(inner) and epidermis (outer).
The dermis is packed with constantly dividing cells and as they continue to divide to push upwards to the outer layer where they accumulate "Keratin"(also found on nails and hair) and the eventually die and become scale-like. As newer cells are growing up, the dead cells break away from the epidermis and fall off, making room for newer cells.

Each surface skin cell lasts roughly about 30 days on the outside, which means you get an entirely new skin every month.

A source says if you want to take a look at your dead skin before it becomes a constituent of the dust on your table, you can try out this experiment:
Stick a piece of clear tape on the back of your hand, strip it off, and then hold it up to a light. You’ll find hundreds of freshly shed skin cells preserved for your inspection.

Thanks for reading.


The American Chemical Society. How shed skin reduces indoor air pollution.,of%20skin%20flakes%20every%20hour. Accessed 5th August, 2022

O'reilly. Skin: Your Outer Layer. Accessed 5th August, 2022

Sarah Rutland. What is skin made of?. Accessed 5th August, 2022

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