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A Valentine for the Skin You're In

A Valentine for the Skin You're In

You and your skin: it’s a love story for the ages. Your relationship may be stormy and dramatic; it may be lovey-dovey; maybe it’s a little of both. But there is no other skin in the world exactly like yours and no other relationship quite like the one you share. And we think that’s worth celebrating.

As essayist Danzy Senna wrote, “I am awed by skin’s endless gorgeous varieties—from rosebud pink to coffee black, reddish brown to high yellow.” We are awed, too, by both the endless types of beauty skin can display, and by its incredible powers to protect, nourish, and communicate. Here are four more reasons you, too, should fall in love with your skin.

Your knight in shining armor

Your skin is your #1 protector. As the largest (and arguably the toughest) organ in your body, it protects your internal organs from the elements, ultraviolet rays, pollutants, and bacteria. It provides physical and immune barriers against infections and helps the body produce essential proteins and vitamins.

And skin doesn’t just have inward-facing superpowers. Simple skin-to-skin contact between a mother and her baby has been shown to promote the baby’s own brain development, healthy weight, ability to regulate temperature, reduction in pain, stress, and many more benefits.

It’s like a Canada Goose parka for your insides

You may not think of your body like a pair of galoshes, but thanks to your skin, your body is waterproof! Meaning, your skin regulates your fluid retention, so that when you’re in an arid environment, your body fluids don’t evaporate, and when you’re in an aqueous or humid environment, your fluids don’t get diluted or washed away.

Plus, skin is key in maintaining your body temperature by managing superficial heat loss and providing a barrier (aided by the skin’s natural moisturizing emollients) against the cold.

Your skin always keeps it real

As we often discuss at RESCUE, everything your skin does is an expression of your health. And when you behave badly—in your eating or drinking habits, the amount of sleep you get, or just not showing yourself enough love—your skin will let you know. This may feel like a nuisance when we can’t hide the fact that we’ve been partying a little too hard, or working a little too long, but your skin will always tell you what’s best for you, and it’s not often wrong..It’s the BFF who tells you the cold hard truth, rather than the one who lets you go all night with spinach in your teeth.

Pleasure, pain, and the power of touch

In addition to being the largest and most protective organ in the body, your skin is also by far the most fun. Why? It’s the epicenter of all the touch sensations, with the power to make your whole body into one big erogenous zone.

It’s hard to think of a better reason to love (and we mean really love) the skin you’re in, and the science behind it is pretty awesome, too: as a human’s largest sensory organ, your skin is literally an extension of your brain! The two organs develop from the same embryonic tissue and remain intimately connected via the marvelous complexities of the nervous system. You can’t touch the body without directly contacting your brain.

When you make physical contact with someone—say, a hug, kiss, or a comforting hand on the arm—the sensation quickly triggers the brain to signal the pituitary gland to release oxytocin and dopamine. These hormones lower heart rate, cortisol, and stress while triggering pleasure, comfort, and emotional bonding. Good vibes indeed.

So this Valentine’s Day, amid the rush to romance your sweetie (or the instinct to curse the whole institution), remember to show a little love to your skin—your true soul mate and BFF.