Mirror, mirror on the wall, is skincare a key to bettering my mental health at all?
The last two years have been challenging. The pandemic created a sense of constant loss. Anxiety levels spiked while we lived in a constant state of despair. People around may have been kind enough to bear with us through this turbulence, but many felt like we barely had anything to hold on to.
After over 18-24 months of feeling the same, many started digging deeper to find a sense of being and respite. From hot long showers to yoga, meditation and improved sleep routines – people explored it all.
For times immemorial, women have enjoyed ending their showers with light moisturisers and facial oils, and their days with night routines. Those few minutes of serenity belong to us – and in those moments, we bring ourselves back to the present, disrupting the arrays of thoughts in our heads.
The act of caring for your skin additionally provides an opportunity for mindfulness, which has been shown to buffer depression and anxiety by stopping worry and rumination, according to a study on more than 1,100 adults published in March 2019 in Frontiers in Psychology. An article by HarpersBazaar also revealed that consistent skincare decreases the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the human body by 83 per cent.
How does skincare actually help improve mental health?
- Skincare is taking care of the largest organ of your skin - it is bound to make you feel better and more loving towards yourself. It's like journaling or working out - regular, consistent activities that improve your mental wellbeing. Skincare can act as an anchor and keep reminding you to take care of yourself. When you can materialise your love for yourself, you can put yourself in a routine to reinforce the emotion.
- It helps you focus and be mindful. Feeling the curves and bends of your face and body while rubbing a lotion or body oil is relaxing and calming. Our minds are wired to protect us against physical and emotional hurt, and this way, we can recreate the sense of being loved and cared for.
- Expecting positive events has also been shown to activate a certain area of the prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with a sense of wellbeing, according to a study published in January 2018 in Frontiers in Psychology. It's a little natural high for something so simple.
"Anticipation of happy events releases feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain."
- Skincare is a subject that is so often resonating and familiar, giving you a chance to bond with people. You can find skin-friendly ingredients in your pantry for a DIY mask, like coconut oil, mashed avocado, or a milk compress and turn skin care into a fun, bonding event with your friends. Alternatively, you can go online and research for ingredients suitable for your skin and have a DIY session, only for that secret glow!
- Loving yourself is powerful. When you invest in your wellbeing, you ensure that you put yourself first. Your skin isn't just beautiful but also a barrier to environmental pollution. You're inclined to make healthier choices when you proactively care for yourself. If a swap of mascara or a tint on your skin makes you feel good, do it!
Ultimately, it is about being there for yourself. You can always fuse your skincare with scented candles, a bowl of hot chicken soup or a glass of wine, and some Netflix or your favourite book.
Here's to hoping you discover your self-care routine and it helps you reclaim your calm even on the toughest days. Here's to loving ourselves, no matter what. Here's to living.