Full text of neuroscientist Claudia Aguirre’s talk: The Hidden Brain in Your Skin at TEDxUCLA conference.
Claudia Aguirre – Neuroscientist, Skincare Expert, Spokesperson and Lecturer
So, take a look at these behaviors: Does Math… Gets High… Gets Stressed Out… And Rocks Out To Music… What’s the first that comes to mind? Does it sound like – I heard “college,” yeah.
I was thinking more of a teenager. It does sound like a teenager. But what if I told you that your skin — take a look at it, that very colorful sheath covering your body — that your skin can perform all of these behaviors.
Now, before I give you the “skinny” on the teenage-like behavior of skin, I want to show you how I got to examining the radical behavior of skin.
It started during the economic recession, which is where I found myself in my first job — an unlikely time for a first job.
So how did this happen?
Well, there was an alarming trend: There was a rise in skin sensitivity. And that meant more people in the dermatologists’ office and more people in the facialists’ chair.
And there was a rise in skin conditions like inflammatory conditions, like eczema and psoriasis. And we didn’t know exactly why, but a lot of people in the industry thought maybe it was the rise in stress; maybe it was a lifestyle thing; maybe it was pollution.
But I wanted to know how. So when I started working in the skincare industry, I asked myself: How does something as globally extreme like the economy, how does that translate to something like a skin rash?
You see, I’m a neuroscientist, and in studying the skin, I found that there was just as much neuroscience in studying the skin as there was in studying the brain. And that was actually surprising to me.