Believe it or not, the skin is your body’s most gigantic organ. Not only is it stretchy and strong, but every layer is also full of fun skin facts for kids. Some of these scientific facts about your skin might even surprise you!
The skinny on fun skin facts for kids
Even though your skin might seem thin, it’s like a coat of armor for your body. The skin layers are:
- The epidermis on the outside that you can see and touch.
- The dermis in the middle contains things like nerves, blood vessels, and hair follicles.
- The hypodermis, the deepest layer, is made of fat and connective tissue to cushion and keep your body warm.
Fun facts about skin that might surprise you
Which of these skin facts have you heard about? Which facts are new to you?
Your skin is heavier than you think
If you could take the average person’s skin and weigh it, it would measure around 6 pounds. That’s almost as heavy as a gallon of milk!
If you could take the average person’s skin and stretch it out, it would measure around 22 square feet. That’s around the size of a car!
The top layer of your skin is dead
As strange as this fun fact might seem, the topmost part of your skin is made of dead cells. Even though these skin cells are dead, they protect your body from germs, chemicals, and UV sun rays.
But these dead skin cells don’t stay there forever! You shed your skin like a snake!
- Every minute, your skin loses about 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin cells. In a whole day, that’s around 5 thousand million skin cells!
- Every year, you shed about 9 pounds of dead skin cells.
Since you’re constantly shedding, some of your home’s dust may be dead skin.
Most of your skin has hair
It’s time to reveal the truth about this fun skin fact for kids everywhere! Did you know that almost every part of your body has hair? Just a few areas are bare:
- Palms of the hands
- Soles of your feet
Your skin is waterproof
The top layer of your skin is like a special rain jacket that we always wear. It’s filled with proteins that make the skin tough. It also has fat that keeps water from escaping so we don’t get too dehydrated.
When you shower or swim, your waterproof skin keeps you safe!
But it’s important to know that your skin is not totally waterproof like a rubber raincoat. If your skin soaks in water for too long, the fatty waterproof barrier can break down, and small amounts of water can pass through your skin. This is why your skin can get uncomfortable after a long bath or day of swimming.
So, even though your skin is pretty good at keeping water out, you still need to be careful about your skin. After you wash your hands, make sure to dry them. And try to keep showers shorter than 5 to 10 minutes!
Nails and skin have similar ingredients
Your fingernails and toenails are made of tough proteins, just like the outermost layer of your skin. The main protein, keratin, is packed extra closely in your nails, making them harder than skin.
That’s why your nails can help you scratch, pick, dig, and climb. So instead of biting your nails, take good care of your little helpers!
You have skin inside your ear
Most people know that skin covers the outside of your body. There’s one exception to this fun fact: your ear canal is also covered by skin!
In many ways, the skin in your ear is similar to the skin everywhere else. Its main job is to protect the inside of your ear from water, germs, and junk.
But the skin inside the ear canal is thinner and more delicate than the skin on the rest of your body. It also has a unique superpower: it can make sticky yellow ear wax! Earwax traps dust and dirt and keeps your eardrum moist and comfortable.
Skin is like a thermostat
Your busy skin has another special job: to help keep your body at the right temperature.
When you feel hot, your skin makes sweat to cool you down. When the drops of sweat evaporate, it takes some of the heat away with it. This is why you feel cooler when you sweat.
The blood vessels in your skin also get bigger or smaller depending on the temperature. When the environment is cold, the blood vessels in your skin shrink to keep warm blood near your organs in the middle of your body. As a result, your hands and feet feel cold.
When you feel hot, your blood vessels get bigger to release more heat from your body. This can make your skin look pink or red because more blood flows close to the surface. This way, your body can stay at the right temperature no matter the weather.
You can get a sunburn on cloudy days
This skin fact is not so fun for kids or anyone, really. But we can’t ignore the scientific truth.
Clouds are not thick enough to block all UV rays. Even when the sky is gray, powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays can penetrate the clouds and reach your skin.
So if you spend a lot of time outside without protection, you can get sunburned. The chance of getting sunburned is higher when the UV index is high during the summer and when the UV rays reflect off of snow or water (like an ocean or swimming pool) and onto your skin.
That’s why sun safety tips like sunscreen, hats, and shade are important on cloudy or sunny days.
Thousands of bacteria live on your skin
Did you know your skin is home to more than 1000 types of bacteria? Other germs, like viruses, live on your skin, too.
But don’t panic! This is totally normal.
In fact, many of these invisible bugs are “good germs”. When “good germs” take up space on your skin, “bad germs” have less room to grow. This helps your immune system stay healthy.
Which of these skin facts surprised you the most?
Share these interesting skin facts with your friends!
More fun facts about the human skin for kids
Updated on November 28, 2023 by Betty Choi, MD
Updated on November 28, 2023 by Betty Choi, MD