It’s the largest organ of our body, yet it is often simply labelled as “superficial”: but the skin is actually a crucial organ, which can help us assess the state of health of our entire organism.
The importance of the skin is described in the book “La pelle lo sa” (The skin knows) – recently published by Mondadori in Italy – written by dermatologists Federica Osti and Alessandro Martella, who also disclose their findings and news on the social media (@myskin).
“Quite simply, without skin there could be no life. You can live without hearing or tasting, we have somehow actually experienced it, to a certain extent, over the past year. You can live without smelling, without a nose. Even without seeing, without eyes. But you could never live without skin. Neither from an anatomical standpoint, nor from a neuro-psycho-emotional one”, the authors claim.
Through the skin, and therefore through the sense of touch, we interact with the world and get to deeply know ourselves: “consider, for example, the relaxing effect of a massage, which can reduce blood pressure and release cortisone, a stress-related hormone, or actually boost your immune system”.
Why is this? Because the epidermis and the nervous system share an embryonic origin, hence almost all skin disorders feature psyche-related elements too. Vice-versa, some pathologies that involve the psyche appear on the surface, such as itching – surely the most common one – and other types of self-harming habits, rarely serious, such as nail-biting and trichotillomania.
Yet the skin is often overlooked, it’s treated as a minor organ, and skin disorders are considered to be merely aesthetic. But there are some skin disorders that should not be neglected, for they might be the first symptom of complex pathologies affecting other organs. For example, an uncontrollable itch may be caused by the lymphoproliferative disease, hives may indicate an ongoing infection, skin lesions similar to chilblains may be a symptom of Covid. So, the skin talks to us, and it’s up to us to listen to it.
That is why it is crucial to take good care of our skin. Firstly, by taking some time to take a good look at ourselves and monitor the reactions of our skin in response to our everyday life. Properly observing the skin and listening to our sensations can help us understand whether a product we’re using is a suitable one. That’s how we can boost both our awareness of and self-love for our whole body, thoroughly.