An Open Letter from Your Skin

bare legs at pool

Dear Person,

I’ve been meaning to talk with you about a few things but wasn’t sure how to approach it. The subtle signs I’ve been sending you don’t seem to be doing the trick, so now I’m going with a more direct approach in hopes we can remain friends. Just remember that I always have your best interest in mind.

Let’s start with a little background. I’m your skin. I’m the largest organ your body has, and I protect you at all times, at all costs. You could say that I literally have your back. Here are my main objectives in our relationship:

  • When anything tries to penetrate your body, I’m the stopping block. Anything that tries to inflict harm—a change in temperature, chemicals, outside forces—has to get past me. That paper cut you got last week while opening the mail? That was me doing my job.
  • I’m the reason you know the difference between hot and cold. The nerve endings that come to my surface are the reason you pull your hand away from the hot saucepan handle and put your boots on before going outside to make snow angels.
  • I supervise the amount of heat and moisture your body internalizes, and I make whatever adjustments are necessary to keep you feeling good. When you get too hot while exercising, I sweat to help you to cool off.

Now that you know what I’ve been doing for you this whole time, I’d like to make a few simple requests. If we work together, we can put our best self forward at all times.

First of all, don’t be so rough. Sure, I’m pretty tough in most situations, but even I have certain areas that need a little tender loving care. Take a look at your face and neck, for example. You’ll see I’m a little more delicate in these areas. It’s the little things that count here. After you wash, it would be really helpful if you could simply pat me dry rather than rub me as if you’re polishing your car. This way, it’s easier for me to keep you looking young. Also, a little moisturizer wouldn’t hurt.

Which brings me to my next point: when it comes to skincare products, less is more. The fewer ingredients there are, the better chance our body has of recognizing and utilizing them. Those teeny little openings all over my surface are called pores, and they bring all sorts of things into your body—including any nasty chemicals they come in contact with. There’s only so much I can do to keep them out. Sure, nontoxic skincare products can sometimes cost a little more than the stuff you find at the drugstore, but aren’t we worth it? If you’re so inclined, you can even feel free to make your own. That way we’ll truly know what we’re putting on me.

Next, if you ever want to know how the rest of your body and overall health is doing, pay attention to my warnings and signals. I lay it all out there, right under your sleeve. If you use a skincare product I don’t particularly like, I’ll give you a little rash to contend with. I may even make it itchy just to be sure you don’t miss it. When your internal workings are less than pleased with the food you eat, it might just clog your pores, causing blackheads and acne. So if you want to know what’s going on, pay attention and make adjustments. I’ll let you know when we’re in the clear. You can also check out this article on blackheads here.

Lastly, give me some breathing room. Sure, I’m vulnerable to harmful rays from the sun, but it’s not entirely bad. If you let me get just a little bit of sun at the right time of the day, guess what I can do with it? I take the cholesterol that sits just under my surface and convert it into vitamin D. There’s no simpler way to get this essential nutrient, so please give me some time to soak up some rays before you help me out with a little protection.

That’s about all I have to say for the time being. I think you’ll agree that I’m asking some pretty simple things of you, and we’ll both benefit if you commit to them. Thanks for hearing me out—and let’s keep in touch.

Best Always,

Your Skin

Paula Widish

Paula Widish, author of Trophia: Simple Steps to Everyday Self-Health, is a freelance writer and self-healther. She loves nothing more than sharing tidbits of information she discovers with others. (Actually, she loves her family more than that—and probably bacon too.) Paula has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Public Relations and is a Certified Professional Life Coach through International Coach Academy.

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