Establishing a Routine: Skin
Establishing a Routine: Skin
In a wonderful book called, A Natural History of the Senses, the author Diane Ackerman, includes an essay titled, “The Skin Has Eyes”. Our skin keeps us in touch with where we are in space, protects us and is the receiver of stimuli from our external environment. In some cases that stimuli can be soft as a sweet kiss on your cheek or damaging like UV rays from the sun. Skin can be a personal canvas for us to decorate with tattoos, paint and cosmetics. The skin can repair itself, regulate our internal temperature and aid us in sexual attraction. The color, texture and marking of skin through scars, acne or wrinkles, has been used as a way to construct us as individuals whether we agree with these constructions or not. In this way skin is part of the structural nature of power and privilege. The skin is what stands between the essence of who we are and the rest of the world. In that in-between space is the possibility of multiple interpretations of who we really are.
When it comes to fashion and my own personal style, I most often rely on my skin to tell me how I feel about a garment, more so than how it may look to my eye. I judge fabrics and textiles by how they feel on my skin which in turn engages my brain, triggering a memory or emotion. I judge the drape of a piece by how it engages with the air around my body and how it dances back and forth against, and with, my skin. The choice of color is usually decided by how well it interacts with my skin tone. I choose jewelry based on the level of comfort I feel when it is placed against my skin. An outfit may be constructed based on how much of my skin I wish to reveal or conceal.
I think we might be heading into a good time for skin. As much as there is more and more evidence about how pollution and the sun hurt and damage our skin, there is also much new technology that is harnessing the power of our own skin to heal and many skincare products being developed that are environmentally friendly and organically pure. Many have inspiring social missions. A large amount of these brands have been founded by women and are creating empowerment for them through promoting economic stability. This is beauty being part of a solution, not just bringing attention to it. This is women controlling something that once controlled them.
I must admit I think I have an intellectual approach to skincare as I pay much more attention to my face (in other words my head), in my beauty rituals than the rest of my body. My feet and hands get their needs met through a semi regular manicure and pedicure. My RE-word for skin is: "re-imagine", my skin care routine to extend below my neck. The best I do now is to make sure I am using a moisturizing body wash. Suggestions for RE-imagining the rest of my body in a skincare routine would be greatly appreciated!