• Fede Montagud, editor

    Human skin, unique healing

    10 Mar Human skin, unique healing



    New Scientist

    Human skin has a unique healing mechanism shared with no other mammal. Recent research suggests that our sweat glands contain a reservoir of stem cells that are recruited to repair damaged skin.


    Each square inch of our skin has, on average, 600 sweat glands, triple the number of hair follicles. On a normal day we segregate a litre of liquid through these orifices, but up to ten litres a day in extreme circumstances. A study by the University of Michigan (USA) has shown that humans have a unique healing mechanism – lacking in the skin of other mammals – that is based on stem cells stored in the sweat glands. The enormous regenerative potential of such stem cells could help develop new wound therapies. Researchers hope, for instance, to improve treatments for ulcers in diabetic patients and bed sores in hospitalized patients, as the corresponding healthcare costs are substantial. The research could, in fact, open up new avenues for skin care in general.

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    The colours of our skin

    The human species has three broad ethnic types: black, Asian and Caucasian. This division, if not scientifically accurate, is convenient. Skin colour reveals, almost always at a glance, what ethnic type we belong to. But the difference in skins is not just a matter of pigmentation. The characteristics of the stratum corneum, glands and microflora also affect how skins age and what risks they face.


    When comparing the appearance of black, white and Asian people, we often refer to skin colour. Ethnic differences are showcased by the body’s largest organ, the skin. But is colour the only difference between skins? Do different skins age differently? Which skins are more sensitive to chemical and environmental damage? Read More

  • Josep Orellana, science journalist

    Hives: not dangerous, but annoying

    26 Feb Hives: not dangerous, but annoying




    Welts and itching are usually symptoms of urticaria, also called hives. Hives usually come and go quickly, although longer-term treatment is necessary for some cases. Tight clothing and the cold aggravate itchiness. The truth is that the precise origin of this irritating condition is unknown.


    Urticaria is a very common allergic disorder, characterized by the appearance of red, swollen welts on the skin. The main symptom is severe itchiness. In most cases, a bout of hives disappears almost immediately or within 24 hours. But sometimes the hives persist for months or even years. Hives affect 20% of the population at some time or another in their lives, most often women. The origin is unknown in 70% of cases. Read More

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    Men: the weaker sex (in their skin at least)

    Contrary to popular belief, men's skin is more fragile than women’s skin. Dry skin, ingrown hair and persistent redness are some of the problems faced by men who shave. But there’s much more. Men's skin is more sensitive to the harmful effects of the sun and is more susceptible to cancer.


    We can distinguish the sex of a young person just by observing and touching a square centimetre of skin. Men’s and women’s skin react in specific ways to internal aggression (infections, hormonal changes) and external agression (temperature and humidity changes, shaving, cosmetics). The differences are in part due to steroid hormones that travel through the blood to bind to proteins in the skin, where they act. However, we now also know that lifestyle and approach to skin care have a bearing on the health and appearance of our skin. Read More