“I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.”
― Rita Mae Brown
One of our most important natural assets that evolution has given us is our skin. Skin protects, insulates, and regulates our body. Each body contains its own genetic and geographic remnants. What your skin looks like reflects your individuality in multiple ways. Sometimes the look is made through choices and some are ingrained. Either way, let your skin tell the story of who you are.
Skin as identifier
Your skin can literally identify who you are. Your fingerprints are unique to you. The thin epidermis layer of skin on your fingers begins to form while still in your mother’s womb. When a baby starts using fingers to touch, the pressure interaction with surfaces starts to form faint “friction ridges.” If burned or cut, fingerprints will grow back over time exactly as they were. Skin elasticity does decrease as we age so fingerprint ridges are less prominent in seniors.
Skin also contains personalized bacterial communities. What we touch leaves an imprint on an object’s surface. Research studies show that skin-associated bacteria can be recovered from surfaces. It can be used to differentiate objects handled by different individuals. Our skin actually leaves a trail of our personal touch.
At the age of 20 French-American model Maeva Giani Marshall had a stroke and was treated for kidney problems that caused hyperpigmentation on her face. The burn marks from medication faded into dark smudged like freckles. Of her look, she says: “I want to show people that you’re allowed to be different and don’t have to change for anyone.”
When Salem Mitchell posted selfies on her twitter account people made fun of her freckles. But her speckled tawny brown skin and personal confidence grabbed the attention of Ford Models Agency, where she is now signed.
Women of the Middle Ages used ointments, dyes, and cosmetics to hide what they considered skin flaws, including freckles. They wanted pale skin which was associated with high status. This goes to a point art critic Jerry Saltz made recently in his article How to Be an Artist for New York magazine: “Don’t be reined in by other people’s definition of skill or beauty or be boxed in by what is supposedly high or low.”
Birth marks, scars, and skin disease such as vitiligo all tell a story of who you are. Rather than diminishing your look it can enhance by emphasizing your individuality. Consider it a twist on conventional beauty.
Skin Color and adaptation
The color of your skin tells its own story of geography and sun exposure. Through the ages skin has adapted to conditions. When humans started walking on two legs in Africa, they lost much of their body hair and their skin increased the number of sweat glands to keep them cool in a hot climate. Their skin produced a lot of melanin to keep skin dark, acting as a natural sunscreen against the sun’s harsh UV rays.
A person’s skin color (melanin found in skin cells) is related to their ancestry and heritage. When humans moved to milder cooler climates where UV rays were less strong, the skin adapted to a paler color to better absorb Vitamin D from sun rays and folic acid. Melanin content varies by gender and age and differs on body parts as well. Consider the palms of your hands and feet.
Skin and emotion
Skin blushes, gets goosebumps and regulates temperature according to how we are feeling. Some professional training companies analyze a person’s emotional reactions to situations by reading their skin temperature. Skin may help you to understand your own emotional intelligence. A study on facial thermal response measured skin temperature at the tip of the nose when showing positive, neutral and negative pictures to participants. The skin temperature remained the same when participants were shown the neutral picture but changed to warmer when viewing the positive and cooler when viewing the negative pictures. It seems the skin of your nose knows.
Being one of your most important natural assets, protect and nurture your skin. Let your skin reflect your individuality and prove you’re one of a kind.
(photo: Milena Fotografia/pexels)