Scientists are aware of how closely our skin and our emotions are connected. Sigmund Freud described the skin as a receptacle for all the formative experiences in our lives that we carry around with us. French psychoanalyst, Anzieu used the term ’skin ego’ to describe personality development. Biologists long ago discovered the ectoderm, one of three embryonic cells from which our skin, nervous system and sensory organs develop.
Especially for the celebration of its 100th anniversary, NIVEA wanted to decode the language of the skin. Therefore the German based brand did a NIVEA Skin Surveyto verify whether there is a scientifically verifiable correlation between biography, personality and skin type. NIVEA attempted to answer this question in a large-scale, international survey of more than 8,000 men and women between the ages of 18 to 65 headed by psychologist and trend researcher, Iris Nowacki. The evaluation of the survey findings supports the theory that there is a clear correlation between our self-perception and the perception we have of our skin. NIVEA defined five skin personalities with clear personality traits and skin type profiles. These five skin personalities have nothing to do with a person’s gender, age or cultural background. In other words, skin personalities are archetypical and exist all over the world.
The five skin personalities are:
The largest skin personality category is the proactive ‘doer’, and around 30 percent of the population falls into this category. ‘Doers’ are performance oriented, active realists who like to be in control of their destiny. Their impact on other people is important to them and they see new situations as welcome challenges. ‘Doers’ have a relatively easy-going attitude to their skin. Significantly more people in this skin personality category describe their skin as oily or shiny. They tend to take a solution oriented approach to dealing with skin problems by using the appropriate skin products. This is why ‘doers’ are heavy users of skin care products that claim to be highly effective. Generally, ‘doers’ are willing to work hard on improving their appearance. Their skin is a key aspect of their self-perception and they love to be touched. ‘Doers’ closely associate skin contact with success and sex appeal.
‘Thinkers’ are introverted, pragmatic people who like to feel secure in their immediate personal environment. They are quite happy to be alone and place less value on social interaction. ‘Thinkers’ also tend to be rational people. For them, the skin primarily has a biological function. The emotional and personality-relevant role of touch is not important to them. ‘Thinkers’ describe their skin type as ’normal’. They do not perceive their skin as sensitive and they don’t believe that it has any attributes worth mentioning. Above all, ‘thinkers’ use practical skin care products and you’ll find deodorant, basic care products and sunscreen on their bathroom shelves. ‘Thinkers’ take a relaxed approach to accepting changes to their skin, such as wrinkles. For them, the skin is a chapter in their life biography.
‘Seekers’ are ambivalent people. On the one hand, they like to follow their intuition. On the other, they long for affirmation and they want to be accepted and recognized. This is why they fluctuate between the need to be successful by their own actions and the desire to conform to rules and expectations. This often means that they will take a passive stance as life observers. ‘Seekers’ often do not have healthy, balanced skin. People with this skin personality mention suffering from blackheads and impurities more than people in other categories. In some phases of life, ‘seekers’ feel that they are at the mercy of the world, which can negate the skin’s protective function. Touch is not an emotional affirmation for them because they find it impossible to accept without attempting to interpret its meaning. 12 percent of people in the world fall into this category.
The next smallest category at 11 percent includes the socially engaged and cheerful ’helpers’, who are very emotional and value oriented. ‘Helpers’ have the most emotional of all the skin personalities. They are driven by emotions, moods and intuition, and they like to have emotional relationships with other people. They enjoy life and are in control of their destiny. They are also spontaneous individuals who are not afraid of new things. For ‘helpers’, the skin is predominantly a ’communication organ’ that enables them to interact with other people. They know that touch has an important impact on their development and they remember positive childhood experiences that are characterized by tender ‘skin contact’ with their parents. Because they are so emotional, ‘helpers’ sometimes have to live with conflicts that literally ’get under their skin’. This group states to have sensitive skin that is prone to irritation and sometimes even allergic reactions. ‘Helpers’ love applying cream to their skin and prefer sensuous skin products with unusual ingredients and special fragrances. They like their skin products to tell them a story and enhance their emotional well-being.
The smallest category – 6 percent – is ‘moralists’; people who have high social and ethical standards. ‘Moralists’ walk a tightrope between their ideals, fears and emotional needs. They think a great deal about other people and believe that they know what affects them emotionally – but they don’t share this knowledge with them. They are the most introverted of all skin personalities, even though they long to be more open and have more influence. High moral values are associated with a desire for security and peace in their personal environment. This means that ‘moralists’ tend to avoid things so that they won’t encounter frustration or disappointment. As a result, they passively observe and comment on the world. ‘Moralists’ find it difficult to be touched and they often only allow people whom they trust completely to touch them. Friends are not ’touching partners’. From their value perspective, ‘moralists’ negate the importance of beauty, appearance and skin condition. However, they are heavy users of skin care products. The fact that their attitudes and actions do not provide them with harmony is also reflected in their skin. ‘Moralists’ state to have dry, combination and very sensitive skin and they are the only group of statistical relevance in describing their skin as dull and pale, prone to dark rings under the eyes and an uneven tone.