Don't take this the wrong way, but when people look at your skin, all they're seeing is a sheath of dead cells called the stratum corneum.
Makes you look at Playboy
in a whole new light, doesn't it? That and other interesting facts about the epidermis come out in this witty, accessible, and highly personal book by two dermatologists who happen to be married to each other. After reading The Life of the Skin,
you'll never look at yours the same way again.
Much of this engaging book is about husband-and-wife dermatologists Arthur and Loretta Balin's patients, their diagnoses and treatments. The skin--not, by the way, the body's largest organ; that distinction belongs to the digestive tract--has many and various problems all its own, and it warns of such problems within the body as Hodgkin's disease. Its main enemy is sunlight. The Balins, identifying Coco Chanel as instigator of the mass yearning for a "good, healthy" tan, say that much can be done to overcome some sunlight damage, but that the best thing is to avoid it by using sunscreens and clothing against prolonged exposure. And still, one of the Balins' best stories is about a nun who didn't object to facial sun-marks because they reminded her of the pleasant times she had spent in the garden. In addition, Arthur Balin cites good examples of basic research paying off in clinical usefulness, and there are some strong statements here about many HMOs' opposition to specialists, which often subjects patients to unnecessary dangers. William Beatty