Let's say some chemical washed out the pigments in our skin, causing us humans to have transparent skin, and therefore we can look at our internal organs and our blood vessels.

What effects would having transparent skin cause?

Like sunlight reaching into our internal organs, i.e our internal are exposed to sunlight.


closed as too broad by Mołot, Aify, Renan, RonJohn, Frostfyre Apr 10 '18 at 12:20

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    $\begingroup$ Too many to list them all, I'm afraid. Medical, social, even economical ones. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Apr 10 '18 at 9:50
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    $\begingroup$ Wait, what? organs? So also transparent flesh? $\endgroup$ – Nuloen The Seeker Apr 10 '18 at 10:09
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    $\begingroup$ Lack of pigment != transparent; see for example ground glass. Some human populations actually do have very little skin pigmentation; the stereotypical Swedes come to mind. For most people of European descent (a.k.a. "white" people) you can see the color of the blood in the subcutaneous veins on some parts of the body (e.g., hands) through their skin. The problem with "looking at internal organs" is that skin is not made of glass, so that light is scattered on the conjunctive tissue fibers; so you get just a general pinkish-purplish color from the flesh, and not an actual image. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Apr 10 '18 at 10:12
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    $\begingroup$ If memory serves correct, albino humans lack pigment almost if not entirely so, @AlexP $\endgroup$ – Pleiades Apr 10 '18 at 12:06
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    $\begingroup$ @NuloenTheSeeker Skin is an organ too. :) $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Apr 10 '18 at 12:20

I think you have the wrong perception on what skin is.

Washing "out the pigments in our skin" would, in my opinion, lead to a very white skin. Even if it was invisible then all you would see is fat! And I have no idea what effect would sun on fat have! LE: Vitiligo is a skin condition that does just that.

Vitiligo is caused by a loss of pigment in the skin, due to destruction of pigment-forming cells known as melanocytes.

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Let's say some chemical washed out the pigments in our skin

This is simply oculocutaneous albinism. Wikipedia states that "Albinism in humans is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes." However, this doesn't give you the ability of seeing albinos' internal organs, because you would still have fat and blood underneath.

However, a chemical has actually been developed to make tissue transparent, and its name is Scale. This article gives a good summary of what you need for a body to become transparent:

“For transparency, you have to get rid of scattering,” says Duke University biologist Sönke Johnsen. After 15 years of studying transparent sea creatures, he admits scientists still do not know exactly how certain animals allow light to travel through them. But he does know what ruins transparency: “We observe light when it moves from one refractive index to another. The more indexes it moves through, the more scattering there is.” The varying refractive indices of skin, muscle, and bones make most animals opaque. Scale works by soaking into the cells and creating a uniform refractive index that photons pass through.

I highly doubt that the use of Scale is compatible with life. However, let's pretend it is and let's take a look on what would the medical consequences of having internal organs exposed to sunlight be.

  • Melanin, the pigment lacking in albinism, protects our skin from ultraviolet radiation, which causes DNA to mutate. As such, albinos are more prone to melanome development. I'd guess that having internal organs exposed to UV radiation means an increased risk to cancer development, at least for those not encased in bone.
  • On the other hand, detecting cancer (or at least the macroscopic ones) would be easier - the only things physicians will need will be a good flashlight.
  • Eyelids would be transparent as well. I think this could produce eyes conditions and sleep deprivation problems.

I guess there will be also a change in aesthetics - suddenly, appearance of people involves a beautiful intestine or an elegant bladder. There will be cosmetics for the enhancement of internal organs looks. Also, probably chewed food won't be gross anymore, as we would be able to see it each time someone eats. In short, perception of what's beautiful and what's ugly would change pretty drastically.


cancer, your skin absorbs a lot of UV light. Also your skin keeps making new cells to replace the old ones. Your organs are a lot more vulnerable. You would get cancer all over your organs.-

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    $\begingroup$ Skin isn't a monolithic layer. There are muscles, fat deposits, blood vessels, pores and sweat glands. Getting rid of pigments makes and albino, not the (in)visible (wo)man $\endgroup$ – nzaman Apr 10 '18 at 12:07

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