Is Skin Waterproof Or Water Resistant? Let’s Find Out!

Is skin waterproof or water resistant? Well, you are not the only one wondering this. Many people are interested in the skin because it is the body’s biggest defense against infections. As a protective barrier, the skin plays a major role in keeping you healthy. Your skin is exposed to a broad range of substances on a daily basis. While many of these substances are harmful, a few of them can lead to allergic reactions, infections, and inflammation. The only way to protect yourself from developing these conditions is to keep your skin clean and healthy.

So, is skin waterproof or water resistant? An arrangement of fatty bilayer lipid molecules makes the skin impermeable. These fatty molecules can be found in between the outermost layer of skin known as the stratum corneum. This fatty structure makes it to where water cannot pass in either direction of the skin, essentially, making the skin waterproof and not just water resistant.

About The Skin

The skin consists of various substances, including protein, lipids, water, nucleic acids, proteoglycans, glycosaminoglycans, and other chemicals. There are three main layers of the skin – epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous (adipose) tissue. The only part of the skin that is not waterproof or water resistant is the pores. These tiny openings allow moisture and water to penetrate the body. The skin pore opening is located on the top of the epidermis, extending downward through multiple layers of the skin. The skin has millions of pores that have several functions. These functions include releasing sweat, helping decrease body temperature, receiving moisture, and keeping the skin healthy and flexible.

Why Skin Is Waterproof

So, by now you already know that skin is waterproof and not water-resistant. Your skin is designed to specifically keep water out, not to keep it in. This is why regardless of how much it rains or how soaked your clothes get; your skin will always prevent the water from entering your body. Unfortunately, no one knew why this was the case until now. It is hard to imagine that the human species would have gotten far if foreign liquids could just seep right into your body whenever they wanted. Just imagine the kind of infections and viruses that this would create. Well, this is not even really the most interesting part of the human body and its waterproof abilities. The most interesting part is that the skin is able to repel water while also forcing it out of the body at the same time in the form of sweat.

All that aside, there are new scientific reports that reveal that a waterproof barrier has been found between the thin layer of fat located between the outermost layer of skin cells. It was a team from Sweden that spent months on top of months shaving layers of skin off volunteers as well as freezing the tissue to uncover this information. All of this was done in an attempt to keep the fat cells in their original positions so that they could be studied.

There is simply no denying that there were a number of trial and error moments along the way, but the team was finally able to uncover this valuable information. The team finally reached a point where they sliced the skin thin enough to reveal the inner workings.

Keratin

Keratin is a protein naturally found in human skin. This protein creates a water-resistant barrier to protect the epithelial cells from coming into contact with harmful substances. Since keratin is “insoluble”, it is incapable of dissolving in water. Since keratin is an insoluble fibrous protein, it creates a seal to help prevent water from penetrating the skin.

Unfortunately, the keratin water-resistance capability decreases when the skin is exposed to water for a long time. The good news is the body is continuously producing new keratin. With that said, sometimes the body can overproduce the protein, leading to a buildup underneath the hair follicle.

Sebum

Is skin waterproof or water resistant? It is waterproof, thanks to the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are generally attached to the follicles of the hair. These glands generate a substance known as sebum, which is made up of a mixture of cell debris and fats. Sebum has a greasy texture, which is utilized to keep skin hydrated and flexible. It also helps prevent moisture and water from penetrating the skin.

The Skin’s Reaction To Water

Most people are probably more than confused by the fact that skin is waterproof. After all, isn’t your skin mostly made up of water as is the rest of the human body? That would be exactly right. The skin and the human body are mostly made up of water. This is just one of the things that makes this whole revelation so exciting. If you have ever spent a long time in the pool, ocean, or bathtub, you probably noticed that when you got out your skin was all pruned up. This is because your skin absorbed so much water.

It’s the fact that your skin was specifically made to hold in water in the right amounts, while also keeping it out, this prevents you from becoming waterlogged after sitting in water for hours on in. Not only this, but you must go back to the discovery of the three layers of skin. As mentioned before, Skin is composed of three layers. These would be the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous fat. The dermis, which is the second layer, contains something that is known as sebum. Sebum is basically nothing more than a natural oil that keeps the skin protected while lubricating it at the same time. Not only this, but it is one of the essential components of keeping your skin waterproof.

Simply put, as long as your body continues to produce sebum, you won’t have to worry about absorbing dangerous amounts of water.

Is Water Bad For The Skin And Body?

Since the body was specifically designed to be waterproof this leaves many people wondering if water is bad for the skin. How could water be bad for your skin, right? You literally use it every day to cleanse your face and skin as well as brush your teeth. This really brings up some interesting points and questions. The first thing that you need to know is that not everyone is exposed to the same types of water. Some individuals live in parts of the world where the water is considered hard. Others live in areas where the water is considered soft.

Not only this, but you must also consider the fact that rainwater is different in certain parts of the world. All that aside, it’s more than important to understand these different types of water and how they can affect your skin. Saltwater, in particular, is not bad for your skin. However, it is no secret that saltwater is mostly found in the ocean. This means that you will only be exposed to this water while also being exposed to sun and sand, two components that can end up being extremely harmful to the skin. This will be even more so true for those individuals that have a personal history with sensitive skin or suffer from eczema.

Understanding The Lipids

Once the team of scientists from Sweden got the skin thin enough, they were able to uncover that it is the lipids that have hydrophilic heads (water-attracting). Not only this, but they also have hydrophobic tails (Water-repelling). Now, here comes the tricky part. Normally, these two tails would point in the same direction. And, this would give the molecule a hairpin-like appearance. It doesn’t look like this is the case with skin cells. Within the skin cells, it is the lipid molecules in between the cells of the stratum corneum that are splayed outwards. This literally means that the tails of each molecule are pointed in opposite directions, but why is this important?

The scientists believe that it is the fashion in which the lipids that are stacked that give them their waterproof abilities. This more condensed structure creates an impermeable force that is anything, unlike your traditional bilayers. Simply put, these skin molecules are laid out in a way that prevents water from getting passed them in either direction. However, this is not always the case. There are exceptions. And, those exceptions will be where the skin layer has been modified to form pores.

What’s even more interesting is that this new discovery really opens a whole new scientific world of unlimited possibilities. Now, that scientists know how the skin keeps water put, they might be able to learn how to hack it to get it to accept foreign liquids. Why would they want to do this? Well, opening the waterproof barrier could help with administering drugs and other medications. Administering them right through the skin might, in fact, be more effective because it would allow the substances to enter directly into the bloodstream, bypassing organs like the liver and intestines.

Blocks Pathogens

Since the skin is waterproof, it can block pathogens. A pathogen is a substance or agent that can cause disease. Pathogens are more commonly known as germs. The skin is the largest organ in the body. So, it has many functions. These functions include body temperature regulations, waterproof protection, and skin tone creation.

Related Questions

What are the 7 layers of skin?

The 7 layers of the skin include the stratum corneum, epidermis, dermal-epidermal junction, dermis, hypodermis, facial muscle, and bone cells. All these layers play a major role in keeping the skin healthy, flexible, soft, and supple.

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