Can you guess what the biggest organ of the human body is? The brain? Heart? Liver? Intestines? It’s none of these.
The biggest organ is the skin. Yes, the skin is an organ!
Alongside its role in protecting us from many different environmental challenges, it is an extremely active structure.
The skin is both the source and target of several hormones, has its own immune system, is our largest sensory organ, and so on. Without this remarkable organ, human life as we know it would not be possible.
The skin has many functions. It protects against pathogens (germs), prevents excessive water loss from our body, insulates us from heat and cold, and aids in our temperature regulation.
Our skin is so sensitive that we can feel the weight of a fly.
The human skin is really amazing. On the average human, the skin weighs about 8 to 9 pounds, covers an area of over 22 square feet and has 300 million skin cells (19 million per square inch).
The skin contains over 11 miles of blood vessels and 45 miles of nerve cells.
The skin has three main layers:
- Epidermis: This outer layer that you see.
- Dermis: This layer that lies beneath the epidermis is where blood vessels, nerve endings, and oil glands reside.
- Subcutaneous Layer: This layer of fat and connective tissue contains larger blood vessels and nerves and helps regulate body and skin temperature.
So, why are we discussing skin? Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve manufactures all natural and organic products for the skin and naturally, we care about how our products interact with our skin and body.
One of the ongoing controversies is the effect of synthetic chemicals in personal care products. To better understand the controversy, let’s talk about the concepts of skin penetration and skin absorption.
- If a chemical or substance is applied to the skin, it may only penetrate the first of the three layers of skin. With penetration, the systems of the body are not affected.
- If a chemical or substance is absorbed through the skin, it goes through all three skin layers, reaches the bloodstream and can affect internal body systems. For example, olive oil only penetrates the skin, while the drugs in a transdermal nicotine patch are absorbed.
So what about synthetic chemicals in soap, detergents, body creams and other such products?
Do they merely penetrate, or are they absorbed?
And, if absorbed, what is the long-term effect on our bodies? At this time there is no definitive answer.
We don’t agree with the scare tactics used by some companies concerning skin care ingredients. I have read comments like “up to 75% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream?" It would be great if I could absorb enough calcium into these old bones by simply taking a bath in milk--but it can't happen--the calcium molecules are too large.
However, there have been studies revealing that some synthetic chemicals in personal care products, like phthalates and parabens, show up in blood and urine tests, which means they are absorbed.
Whether the claims about links to serious health issues are true or not, it is that “unknown” factor that worries me most.
Chagrin Valley Soap was created because of a sincere concern about the chemicals present in personal care products and the potential adverse effects of these chemicals on us, our children and our planet.
At Chagrin Valley we believe that we do not need the synthetic chemicals to have effective soap, skin and hair care products.
Are you wondering which products we recommend for different skin needs, hair types, and more?
Visit our "Help Me Choose" section which offers great recommendations for all sorts of products.