The skin is the largest organ of your body. For the average adult, the surface area is about 3,000 sq. inches (or over 20 sq. ft.). It ranges from one-tenth to one-one hundredth of an inch in thickness. And, one square centimeter, you have an average of 1,000 oil glands (called sebaceous glands) and hundreds of sweat glands.
Your skin is an extremely complex organ. Besides protecting the underlying tissues from dehydration and bacteria invasion, it performs many other vital functions. It also helps control body temperature, store chemicals, synthesize several compounds such as vitamin D, receive environmental messages, and act as an elimination organ. This last function is of particular importance in dealing with skin diseases.
Waste products and body toxins that are filtered and broken down by your liver and kidneys are removed from the body by several organs. These include the bowels, the urinary tract organs, the lungs, and the skin. You use water to carry these waste products away and detoxify the body. By tracing this water loss, you can tell just how important the skin is in this cleansing process. The average water intake is about 10½ glasses a day. This includes the eight glasses of water you should be drinking and about 2½ glasses from food.
Although the skin’s primary purpose is generally said to be that of temperature regulation, the sweat it uses to cool the body is made up largely of waste material. In fact, the chemical composition of sweat is remarkably similar to urine. Sweat is a mixture of water, various salts, urea, uric acid, amino acids, ammonia, sugar, lactic acid and ascorbic acid.
As you can see, the skin is not just something to cover your organs. It is a complex organ itself, and its overall health depends on how well your body detoxifies and eliminates waste.