The Loh Down On Science

Scientists may have figured out how skin regenerates

Before you buy your next face cream—here’s the latest on skin!  

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

Humans constantly shed and regrow skin.  But scientists don’t all agree on exactly how that happens.  So researchers at the University of Sheffield, in England, decided to stop getting under each other's skin and figure it out.

They developed a computer model of human skin that, like the real thing, can shed and regrow cells over time.

Once they had the model, they used it for a multi-year simulation of the three most popular skin-growth theories. 

And?  After the virtual study period ended, two of the theories left the team, well, virtually skinless.  Only one led to sustained regrowth.  That theory says our skin has a population of “sleeping” stem cells in its bottom-most layer.

Those "sleeper cells" remain dormant until they get the signal that there's been skin damage.  That's when they wake and jump into regenerative action!

Also when you slather yourself with fifty-dollar-an-ounce face cream.  Right!

***** For more 90-SECOND SCIENCE FACTS, click here.*****

The Loh Down on Science is produced by LDOS Media Lab, in partnership with the University of California, Irvine, and 89.3 KPCC. And made possible by the generous support of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Win a thousand dollars for your favorite public school in our November contest! Details at lohdownonscience.org.


blog comments powered by Disqus