The pandemic has demonstrated the human need for social contact. People want to feel they belong to a “tribe,” yet distinguish thoughts from the external and perceived world from their own.1 Similarly, the skin distinguishes between the self and the external world by acting as a sensory envelope, encompassing the human body and providing a protective barrier.
Didier Anzieu first explored the importance of boundary in the “skin-ego concept,” which considers how early tactile experiences from a mother’s care impacts a child’s development as an autonomous individual who feels secure within a mental and physical boundary.2 The representation of the self is based on the child experiencing their own body surface, i.e., when they separate from their mother and develop an individual presence.
A focus on the quality of early tactile bonding has helped, in many aspects, to advance the field of psychodermatology.3 Indeed, there is more than meets the eye when imperfections and blemishes on the skin compromise the human sense of bonding and belonging; this dynamic has yet to be thoroughly explored...
Read more in the October edition of C&T magazine
- Consoli, S.G. (2006). Le moi-peau. Available at https://www.medecinesciences.org/en/articles/medsci/full_html/2006/03/medsci2006222p197/medsci2006222p197.html
- Werbart, A. (2019). 'The skin is the cradle of the soul': Didier Anzieu on the skin-ego, boundaries and boundlessness. Available at https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0003065119829701
- Steventon, K. (2021, Apr 30). Evoking emotion: Stress less with skin care. Available at https://bit.ly/3BCNzDc