Why do Astronauts Develop Thin Skin in Space?

According to a new study, astronauts develop thin skin in space.
Scientists analyzed the skin of Samantha Cristoforetti, Alexander Gerst and Luca Parmitano, both before and after their missions on the global Space Station (ISS) and discovered a marked difference.

The study suggests that following space travel, astronauts seem to have more collagen. As a result, this causes the epidermis – the outermost layer of the skin–to shrink by just about 20 percent.

Space travel looks remarkably glamorous and exciting in the movies and on television, however it is far more complicated and demanding. Medically, there are both short- and long-term health complications faced by astronauts on a flight voyage, including muscle wastage, reduced bone mass and psychological effects which come with limited mobility, isolation and living in very close quarters with other astronauts on the same flight. And now, scientists are adding thinning skin to the list.

Experts in Germany examined the scenario with the help of an advanced imaging technology. JenLab, the developer of the system, noted how the femtosecond laser impulses help provide a spatial resolution that’s a thousand times higher than ultrasonic devices, giving researchers a better grasp on this bizarre phenomenon.

“Because we want to know if there’s any aging process going on or what kind of modifications happened to astronauts as they work for six months out in space.’ Because many astronauts complain about skin problems”, lead study author Professor Karsten Koenif from the Department of Biophotonics and Laser Technology at Saarland University, said via Reuters.

Researchers will continue to examine just why this may be the case. “We’ve seen the epidermis get thinner by nearly 20 percent. And so far we have no explanation.”


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