We jetted off to Tokyo, beauty capital of the world, where it seems cosmetics shops stand on every corner and the plethora of products on offer—a mix of cutting-edge innovation and time-honoured classics—are enough to make even the most seasoned beauty writer dizzy.

It’s no coincidence that luxury brand Clé de Peau Beauté, part of the Shiseido group, was born here more than 40 years ago; pushing the limits of science to better understand skin is in its DNA. And its latest discovery might be its most exciting yet.

Studies conducted by Shinobu Nakanishi, molecular biologist and research scientist at Clé de Peau Beauté, and his team have revealed that our skin cells have receptors that are tied to the five senses. They allow our epidermis to monitor its environment and adapt itself to it in a manner that’s completely independent from our brain.

Clé de Peau Beauté, Intensive Fortifying Cream ($235)

“We’ve successfully visualized the network in the skin that is separated from the brain’s neuron network,” explains Nakanishi. “This discovery represents a significant advancement in understanding skin behaviour and opens up new possibilities for further research and development.”

So how do these receptors work exactly? “It’s fascinating to see that the cells are reacting as if they were thinking for themselves,” says Nakanishi. “They can even communicate with each other.”

Pretty cool, right? The genes in these cells form a sort of “community” and react together to different stimuli—be they positive (such as a pleasant scent, a nourishing ingredient, a luscious texture) or negative (pollution, stress, UV rays)—and determine our skin’s key attributes.

Cle de peau - photo Lotion hydro-adoucissanteClé de Peau Beauté, Hydro-Softening Lotion ($150)

The great news is that by upping our skin’s intelligence, we can actually improve the way our cells interact with each other, which can directly impact our complexion, affecting everything from texture to radiance. “Skin with high intelligence is more resilient and adaptive and better equipped to protect itself from external aggressors such as dryness and UV damage and internal aggressors such as stress,” says Nakanishi.

We know we can foster our intellect by reading up on topics and remaining curious about the world around us, but how can we go about honing our skin’s intelligence? It’s as simple as doing something nice for our skin. “By receiving good stimuli, the intelligence of cells increases and the skin becomes more and more beautiful,” explains the expert. “Giving your skin something it enjoys is a very good thing!”

Cle de peau - photo Le Serum

Clé de Peau Beauté, The Serum ($395)

That means smoothing on cocooning products, taking the time to massage our face and incorporating effective ingredients, like Clé de Peau Beauté’s new Skin-Empowering Illuminator complex, which is formulated with platinum gold silk essence, Japanese pearl-shell extract and theanine as well as perilla and angelica extracts. (The brand’s glow-enhancing solutions are now all powered by the special brew.) It’s a philosophy we could all stand to benefit from—and not just from a skincare standpoint. It comes down to peppering our days with little pleasures: petting a purring cat, listening to a feel-good tune, breathing in a fabulous fragrance… After all, if positive stimuli are good news for our complexion, why not let our whole being in on the action?