Space & Innovation

Here's Why Your Skin Doesn't Rip Easily

Our skin is capable of some amazing things including being both stretchy and tear resistant. But why doesn't our skin tear?

In honor of Halloween - and Hollywood's rich tradition of slasher films - today we address an obscure but actually quite intriguing question: Why doesn't skin rip or tear easily? As Natalia Reagan explains in today's DNews report, some newly published research provides the strange specifics.

By using sophisticated x-ray analysis, and some rabbit skins, scientists were able to examine matters on the cellular level. They found that the skin's fibers actually rotate, flip and slide when stretched. Collagen proteins in the skin reorient themselves and align in such a way as to prevent a laceration or puncture from getting any bigger. That's why some people can, and do, hang themselves from hooks for health and recreation. No, really. Happy Halloween.

Read More:

ScienceDaily: Skin tough: Why skin is resistant to tearing

Nature.com: On the tear resistance of skin

The Atlantic: The Therapeutic Experience of Being Suspended by Your Skin