Your skin is the largest organ you’ve got. It’s the weather, germ and toxin-proof packaging for your insides. It stores water, fat and all the good metabolic products. Shouldn’t you have more of it?
How would twice as much skin affect your health? How would your everyday life change? And what strange benefits would it come with?
Your skin gets its tautness and elasticity from elastin and collagen. As you age, you start to lose these key proteins. And you can begin to sag. If you have bariatric surgery and you lose a lot of weight suddenly, you might have to deal with troublesome amounts of loose skin.
But that wouldn’t even compare to what your life would be like if you had twice as much skin.
First, you’d have to figure how to manage the weight and drag. Playing sports or working out would become very challenging. You would likely suffer from chronic backaches. But could things get bad enough to kill you?
Not unless you had a severe case of a rare genetic disorder, Harlequin Ichthyosis. With this disorder, you could grow more skin in one day than the average person does in two weeks. But instead of sagging, it would get thicker.
Your skin would break into painful cracks. Your breathing would be restricted. You might not make it past the first weeks of your life.
But in this scenario, we are talking about a sack of excess skin floating around you. The hardest part would be keeping all of it clean and healthy. You would have frequent bouts of yeast infections and rashes. You might have twice the risk of getting skin cancer.
But couldn’t you tuck yourself into a compression suit? Well, a suit like that would need to cover you head to toe. You’d even require eyelid clips to hold back your drooping lids so you could see.
Taking a bath or having some love time with your partner would be almost impossible. It would be difficult to type on a keyboard with all that extra skin hanging around your fingers. But it wouldn’t be all bad. With that much skin, you could stay in the Sun longer without getting heatstroke. The folds of your skin would gather sweat and slow down the evaporation of the moisture, keeping you cool. If you are into tattoos and piercings, you could get twice as many.
You could take up spelunking as a hobby and use your excess skin to explore caves and squeeze into areas you couldn’t reach before. Or if you grew some cartilage and tiny flat muscles in your armpits and around your legs, you would unfurl into a perfect, flat square. And glide like a flying squirrel.
- “How does skin work?”. Institute For Quality And Efficiency In Health Care (Iqwig).
- “Saggy Skin: Why You Have It And What To Do About It”. 2021. Healthline.
- ” Harlequin Ichthyosis | Genetic And Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD) – An NCATS Program “. 2021. rarediseases.info.nih.gov.
- “Loose Skin After Weight Loss”. Webmd.
- “Modern Human Diversity – Skin Color”. 2021. The Smithsonian Institution’s Human Origins Program.
- “Deadly Disease Causes Sisters To Grow Too Much Skin”. 2008. Fox News.