Your skin is such a fascinating part of your body. It’s actually your largest organ, and a multitalented one—protecting your internal systems from harmful conditions and alerting you to problems that may otherwise go undetected.
As you help get your kids clean during bath time, talk about some remarkable things their skin does. Here are six examples of its unsung qualities, plus a few skin care facts and activities to entertain everyone in your family.
1. Your Skin Doesn’t Just Protect
This watertight covering is most famous for protecting your organs and bones underneath, but your skin also serves as an all-over stimuli receptor. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), there are more than a thousand nerve endings in every inch of your skin. Those nerve cells don’t just make you feel pain; they allow you to feel the summer breeze, a comforting hug, the warm sun, and the creepy crawling of an ant—all at once. The more you feel, the more aware you are of the surrounding environment.
To explore this, have your kids close their eyes during bath time and describe what they feel on their skin. Can they feel it when a bath toy falls off their head? The ripples on the water’s surface? Bubbles popping? The heat under the faucet?
2. It’s Constantly Regrowing
Made up of 300 million cells, the top eighteen to twenty-three layers of your skin consist entirely of dead cells, according to the AAD. That’s because as new cells form on the lowest layer of your skin, the ones on top are nearing the end of their life cycle. The whole process takes less time than you might expect.
Ask your kids how long they think it may take for all of their skin to replace itself (answer: twenty-eight days!)
3. It Indicates Your Overall Health
When I was a kid, my mom and grandmothers would identify my “pallor” to see if I was in good or bad health. Having been under the care of a great homeopathic doctor, I’ve learned to watch skin for an overall indication of how each family member is doing, both physically and emotionally. Redness, hives, breakouts, and irritation used to scare me. Today, they’re clues into the overall health of my favorite little ones.
During bath time, have your kids hunt around their bodies for these types of conditions. Boost your water intake as a family, too; at least eight glasses of water per day is ideal. Spend a week recording how your skin feels and looks, then ask your kids to imagine what they’d look like if they doubled their vegetable intake for a week.
4. It Regulates Your Body Temperature
When you’re hot, either from a workout or the weather itself, your skin responds by activating your sweat glands to cool you down. When it’s chilly, the pores and blood vessels in your skin tighten up, keeping blood away from your skin’s surface. This prevents more heat from escaping, allowing you to be more comfortable.
Ask your kids why goosebumps often appear after a bath. Form a theory together, and check your answer against the Smithsonian Institution‘s explanation.
5. It’s Home to ‘Good’ Bacteria
Believe it or not, your skin has an army of microscopic helpers to keep it clean and healthy. Just as amazingly, your skin can discriminate between the good guys (beneficial bacteria) and the bad guys (staph, strep, and the like), according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Body odor is the result of these same bacteria. Otherwise harmless, skin microbes can make both you and your kids pretty smelly. The good news is natural hops (yes, hops) inhibit the smelly bacteria’s ability to “do their thing,” so young adults can smell fresh and clean all day. For the goodness of natural hops and effectiveness of industrial brands, check out Tom’s of Maine Wicked Cool™ Kids Deodorant and see if your kids need any as they dry off.
6. Your Skin Adapts Like a Pro
One of the coolest facts about your skin is its ability to adapt. When your skin suffers a cut, scrape, or repeated friction, tough “scar” tissue forms with additional thickness to protect the offended area.
During bath time, find as many old scars on yourself and your child as possible. Make up wild stories to go along with the scars, and sing an original sailor’s song of how your skin’s self-healing powers saved the day.
You can’t make your kids appreciate their own health by lecturing, but with fun skin care facts, anyone can learn the miracle of the human body—down to the last inch.
How do you get your kids interested in staying fresh and clean? Let us know on Twitter.
Image sources: Pixabay | Bethany Johnson
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.