Large brains are what made it possible for us to evolve from ape to human. But those big brains could never have developed if we didn’t have exceptionally sweaty skin. [story]
On an evolutionary level, there are three remarkable facts about skin. It comes in colors, of course. Compared to other mammals, our skin is relatively hairless. And it’s sweaty. In the last few million years, humans became the sweatiest of mammals.
Unless we’re having the sort of problem that brings us to a dermatologist, we take our skin for granted. We never think of it as working very hard for our body or doing valuable things for us socially.
But when you really start thinking about it, it’s a factory that produces vitamin D, sweat, hormones, oils, wax, pigments — substances we need. Skin is a raincoat in that it protects us from water, bugs and noxious chemicals. It’s also a billboard which we adorn with powder, tattoos, piercing and scars to give off instant messages about our history, health, values and availability for mating.