Did you know that your skin can remember? It has a memory! While skin cells don’t have the same memory recalling ability as your brain (it doesn’t remember your 3rd grade play), it does remember wounds, trauma, and damage that it has to work to repair. According to new research, the stem cells of our skin (the cells responsible for growth and renewal) retain the memory or skin repair and healing, tucking the information away in the event of a similar occurrence in order to recognize the same trauma or damage and the best healing path—allowing your skin to get to work faster and speed up the recovery process. Science is crazy!

This isn’t the only study that developed similar findings. This study on mice found that an injury on a mouse healed two and a half times faster when the mouse had been previously injured in the same spot. The cells in this location remembered the trauma and what to do to properly heal it.

What does this mean for your skin?

Considering that injuries to your skin can include something as little as inflammation or acne, this discovery can help us to better treat cycles of acne, psoriasis, or melasma. It helps explain why the first chemical peel requires more recovery time then the second or third—your skin remembers and is prepared during these additional treatments to recover faster and often display better results.

This information supports multi-treatment processes over the one-and-done facial treatments; with the follow up treatments, your skin can optimize the function of the facial, minimize recovery, and see on-going results. When your skin is equipped with the memory of how to handle inflammation cause by outside sources, it can better defend against them on a day-to-day basis.

This doesn’t mean your daily facial cleanser is useless, but it does help explain why sometimes when you change to a product and then go back again the original product seems to work so much better. It is because your skin cells remember the product and its response to it, so it does it faster and better this time around. This can help us better shop for facial care products and keep in mind that our cleanser didn’t stop working, our skin just needs a break and when we return to that treatment, it will be better.