'Skin Hunger' Is A Real Thing. Here's What You Need To Know

How are you feeling? A bit peckish? Like you could maybe use a bite to eat? Well, how about your skin? Bet you never realized your skin could get hungry, too. So what are you supposed to do about it? Maybe whip up a nourishing skin mask full of filling ingredients like mayonnaise or sourdough starter?

While that might actually do your skin some good, it won't satisfy the type of skin hunger we're talking about here. Instead, skin hunger is a term now trending to describe the sensation you feel after weeks or months without touching anyone, which may be the case if you've been self-quarantining solo. While video chats are all very nice, and it's good to get out of the house (protectively masked) and see your neighbors from a safe six feet away, nothing substitutes for the feel of a real live hug, or at least some type of human contact.

How to satisfy your skin's hunger

While everybody's touch needs may vary — some are huggers, some not so much — everybody needs some touching sometime. Communications professor Kory Floyd told Insider that there's no substitute for physical contact when it comes to reducing our stress levels, which for most of us are undoubtedly through the roof by now. Psychologist Sarah Schwartz, Psy.D., elaborated by giving us the scientific reasons behind why this is so. She told The Mighty: "As humans, when we hug for 20 seconds or kiss for six seconds, oxytocin is released. But it also pushes cortisol, the stress hormone, out of our system. So physical touch can really help reduce stress."

So what can you do to feed your touch-hungry skin in the absence of anyone safe to hug? Cuddling with a pet can help, since it also satisfies the emotional need for some actual, reciprocal loving. You can also get some good out of using a weighted blanket or even hugging a pillow, since, as Floyd said, "There are some benefits of just going through the motion." You can also give yourself a hug or a self-massage — after all, you've always been there for you, through thick and thin and months-long isolation, so who deserves a nice neck rub more than you, yourself, and you?