Core Curriculum: Body Skin Care Is Not An Elective
Whether or not you agree with the fashion decree that “arms are the new face,” you’ve doubtless noticed that the body is one hot topic. Atul Gawande’s watershed article in The New Yorker on health care costs and practices and the push for new legislation have put the issue of the care of our bodies on the front page. Now magazines are reporting the news that treatment creams are making it “to the skin below the neck.”
Pause for a second and it’s the newness of this “serious-creams-below-the-neck” concept that’s odd. Why does our fitness fanaticism follow a distinction of face equals skin care while body equals diet and exercise? Surely the sight of a stunning creature — mythically sculpted from machine-like physical exertion — revealing a backful of blemishes or lizardly limbs begs the question, “If you take such good care of your core, why treat your skin as an elective?”
It may be that the skin is not thought of as a vital organ in the way that, say, the heart is. With that, and with our faces more immediately on view, body skin care is brushed off as b-a-s-i-c. If you disagree, compare how much time you spend mulling over a facial cream versus a body lotion.
But from providing protection to our internal organs and being a barrier against infection, to regulating our temperature; from the anatomical and emotional significance of our sense of touch to the skin’s ability to expand and contract as we do, the importance of skin vis-à-vis our overall health cannot be underestimated. The body obviously has the largest surface area of this, our largest organ; why then treat the skin on our bodies with less seriousness?
Study your corporeal complexion as you would your face. How dry is it? Does it have a condition that requires extra care like eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis? What about dark spots, signs of aging or acne? Are you concerned about or prone to infection? Instead of reaching for the body lotion that’s prettiest or cheapest, choose products based on your body skin’s needs. Ultimately what must done is to give your body skin the serious face time it deserves.