Most people don’t think about it, but our skin is one of the most complex and important parts of our body. Taking good care of your skin is essential, but did you know a good skin care regime has many good effects on your mental health?
A daily skin care regime is good for your mental health because:
That’s just the beginning—there’s a whole world of ways in which a good skin care regime affects your mental health. We’ll cover them all below in greater detail, including how to tell when your skin care regime is becoming an unhealthy obsession.
Healthy Skin Equals a Healthy Mind
There are a few obvious ways in which a skin care regime helps you out. It protects against sun damage and keeps your skin looking and feeling healthy. However, many people don’t know that our skin is inherently tied to the rest of our bodies processes—including the brain.
Changes in your skin can reflect issues that are happening in many places in your body, including:
- Your teeth and stomach health
- Your gut and digestion health
- The stress and chemical levels in your brain
It goes the other way, too! Taking good care of your skin with things like hydrating masks, good moisturizers, and gentle cleansers can affect your mental health in a lot of ways.
Healthy skin truly helps you keep a healthy mind, as we’ll show below!
It Keeps Your Self-Esteem High
Almost everyone knows the stress of waking up with a zit or blemish on an important day or fighting an outbreak of rosacea right before a big social event. Even just minor day to day blemishes can cause an extreme amount of stress, impacting both your mood and confidence. It can often cause people to resort to unhealthy or obsessive measures, which often don't combat the root cause.
Stress caused by low self-esteem because of poor skin can be a nightmare. So many people look at our face every day, it can often feel like they can see every single little blemish and impurity (even though this isn’t true!).
Establishing a good skin care routine helps to fight those issues, or even eliminate them entirely. Knowing that your skin will be glowing and clear when you wake up the next morning can relieve such a large amount of stress!
Keeping your self-esteem high by maintaining a high-quality skin care routine with good moisturization affects you in several ways:
- It makes you more confident and likely to be outgoing
- It cuts way back on the stress you feel, especially if you already have a lot of social anxiety
It Gives You Control
In the crazy events of everyday life, it can really feel like your own life isn’t even in your control. Especially for those taking care of others or working all day at a demanding job, it can seem like you are constantly looking after what others need. Periods of high stress and uncertainty, like a divorce or other life-changing event, can make this even worse.
During those times, many people count their skin care regime as an important part of keeping their sanity. As writer Gina Way said,
“When I was going through a divorce, my routine kept me sane. It was one of the things I could count on. Every liquid layer I put on comforted me like a soothing security blanket.”
Feelings of hopelessness and being out of control can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health. Keeping a good skin care routine helps you regain control by:
- Giving structure to your day—you know you get to start and end every day with a period of routine
- Giving you the reigns—by taking proactive steps to improve your health, you begin to feel like you are in charge of your skin
- Allowing you to have constants—no matter what happens or where you find yourself, you know that your skin care routine is always a rock-solid touchstone
It Allows You Room to Breathe
Modern life can keep you running on high from the second you wake up until the second you go to sleep. There are always things tugging at your attention, constantly nagging you to keep moving and be productive.
While productivity is a good thing, that constant pressure to keep moving and keep up with the world can seriously impact your mental health. Periods of rest and contemplation are a crucial part of maintaining a healthy outlook on the world.
A daily skin care routine is a perfect place for that need to naturally be filled. There’s just something very restful and meditative about rinsing your face with cold water or methodically massaging in a nourishing moisturizer. Stopping every morning and night to slow down and take care of your skin helps maintain your mental health by:
- Giving you relaxing periods of rest and contemplation at the beginning and end of every day
- Forcing you to slow down and methodically follow a routine, which is very meditative
- Allowing you to relax without feeling bad or unproductive, since you are doing something very useful and good for your health at the same time
It Gives You a Ritual to Start and End Your Day
The word “ritual” tends to bring up thoughts of ancient cultures or religious ceremonies, but it means a lot more. In fact, a lot of modern people have lost the knowledge of how daily rituals can affect their life. Daily rituals and patterns bring a lot of meaning to people’s lives, and if you ask any successful and confident person, they'll be the first to tell you that their little quirks and routines they do every day help them to focus and remain on top of everything.
A good skin care routine is a perfect daily ritual to begin practicing in your life. Every time you start and end your day, you know you can look forward to a period of time where you can just go on autopilot. It makes perfect bookends to your day and really helps ground you.
Having a daily ritual like a skin care regime helps you out in more than one way:
- It takes uncertainty out of your day to day life. Every morning you wake up, and every night before bed, you know exactly what to do next—pamper your skin!
- It puts a solid start and stop to your day. No more feeling like it's "go-time" from the second you wake up until the second you go to bed. Now you have two periods that can help you to slow down and contemplate the events of the day.
Taking Care of Yourself Will Bring Peace
Self-care is a lot more than just isolated acts of love towards yourself. Taking steps every day to heal your skin and keep your body healthy also has large effects on your mental health. We’re constantly telling a story about ourselves through our actions. How you interact with the world and how you treat yourself influences how you see yourself and others.
People often think that you have to care about yourself before you can take care of yourself, but the reverse is more often true. Taking the time every day to treat your skin and body right acts as a physical reminder of how important and valuable you are—and actions speak louder than words.
Spending time daily to take care of your skin:
- Helps remind your brain that you are worth loving and taking care of
- Shows you and those around you that you are valuable and worthy of the same love and time you give other people
- Brings you peace of mind because you know that you are taking care of your health, just like exercising
It Can Be a Time of Comfort
Sometimes, hearing about all the steps that other people take to care for their skin can make it feel like an annoying or exhausting task. Especially when you see the long, 20 step or more processes that many K-Pop stars or other celebrities undertake every day. It can make you think, “these people are doing such a huge chore every day, is that really worth it?”
One thing you might be surprised to realize is that, far from being a chore, most people love doing it! Many skincare products feel great to use and leave you feeling awakened and refreshed, like:
- Resurfacing treatments
- Soothing masks
- Cooling and hydrating treatments
- Moisturizer and primers
A lot of people might tell you that the time they spend on their skin care routine is more about comfort than necessity. Just like sinking into your favorite spot on the couch to watch your shows, going through all the different steps of a skin care routine relaxes and soothes you.
You Get Some “You Time”
Taking time out of your day to just focus on yourself can be a challenge for many people, especially those with kids or other people they care for. Running around all day, constantly checking on other people, going on errands—where’s the time to stop and focus on yourself?
Having a skin care routine is a perfect time for that. Besides the meditative and comforting parts of a skin care routine, it’s also a fantastic excuse just to have some time to yourself. Both literally and figuratively, taking a few minutes every day to take stock of your own moods and feelings while you pamper yourself with a nice new exfoliation cream, can become a highlight of your day.
In the craziness of day to day life, it can be a huge help to have time specifically set aside to not only focus on yourself but heal your skin at the same time.
It Gives You a Chance to Practice Setting Goals
One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to set goals—and achieve them. The more we learn about our psychology, the more we see that we are goal-oriented creatures who gain happiness and stability from constantly moving onward and upward.
So why don’t people do this all the time? Well, it can be difficult. Setting, managing, and keeping goals can be a difficult undertaking.
That’s there a good skin care regime comes in. It provides such an easy access point to begin practicing goal-oriented thinking because:
- The goals can be very straightforward—you know what you want from your skin
- It puts realistic timelines on improvements—many things in life take time to make work, and having a good skin care routine helps you learn that good things come from diligence and patience
- You can work towards making goals happen daily, without needing to wonder what to do next
It may sound small, but the snowball effect of learning goal-oriented thinking from a skin care regime will radiate outward and help you gain the wisdom and confidence to achieve in other areas of life.
It Helps Motivate You to Clean Up Your Diet
While some of the other ways having a good skin care routine are somewhat abstract, there are also very concrete ways in which it positively affects your life.
Perhaps the biggest and most important one of those is how beginning to take care of your skin can spur positive changes in your diet. Diet can play a huge role in the health of your skin, and there are many things that adversely contribute to skin issues, like:
- Lots of sugar
- Very processed food
- High sodium intake
These are all markers of a diet that is not only negative for your skin, but for your life and mental health as well. There is a growing mountain of evidence showing that your diet and gut health can be a major contributor to certain chronic skin issues.
Beginning to take stock of your skin and working on a plan to help it heal and remain healthy often spurs other changes in your lifestyle. All of these together help give you a huge boost for your mental health, because not only is your skin looking much better, but you are also treating your entire body much better as well.
The Effects of Skin care Ripple Outward
A lot of the reasons we’ve talked about today might seem small or disconnected from the larger picture of your mental health. The truth is that while they may appear minor at first glance, the effects ripple out into your entire life. You can take lessons you learn from your skin care routine and put them to use in every other area of your life. Taking care of your skin can truly be a gateway to a better life, and we’ll discuss how.
You Start Taking Care of Yourself in Other Ways
When it comes to self-care and self-improvement, the first thing you do is almost never the last. It’s just like the old saying goes—an object at rest wants to stay at rest, and an object in motion wants to stay in motion.
For many people, a good skin care routine is the first push they need in order to start a chain reaction of self-improvement. Once you start treating yourself as valuable and worthy of care and pampering, other changes follow. With a little elbow grease and determination, this can lead to an upward spiral that makes you a healthier, happier person overall.
Good steps to take once you get your skin care routine down, are things like:
- Beginning to eat cleaner and healthier
- Exercise and physical fitness routines
- Getting a handle on healthier time management
It Shows You the Value of Slowing Down
You probably noticed that many of the ways we listed had to do with learning to slow down and enjoy the moment. This is worth exploring more because it really does have a huge impact on your mental health.
Taking time at the beginning and end of each day to do a methodic ritual like your skin care routine gives your brain a chance to slow down and ponder the day’s events. Too many people jump straight out of bed and are immediately launched into a day full of business, then they fall right back into bed and are asleep minutes later.
This way of living doesn’t give your brain time to catch up! It leads to a lot of stress and anxiety because:
- You are either running full speed, or you are asleep, which is not healthy for your stress levels
- Without processing your thoughts and emotions, they just build up until the dam breaks, and you have a breakdown
Learning to slow down by taking a few minutes to care for your skin is a key step towards breaking that unhealthy habit.
Keeping Your Confidence High is Key for All Areas of Life
Nearly every successful person has one thing in common—they have the confidence to put themselves out there, try new things, and take risks. Confidence in yourself and your abilities is one of the largest boosters to mental health, and it has a huge impact on your life.
So, it can be a real hit to your morale when every day your poor skin takes your confidence away. You’ll find yourself:
- More timid and anxious
- Less likely to take risks and learn from them
- Not likely to leave your comfort zone
For those with skin issues, clear skin can be such a huge boost to their confidence that it triggers (or at least contributes to) massive positive changes in their life. It’s really hard to tell how many opportunities, good times, and experiences you lose out on because you don’t have the confidence to take the leap.
Helping your skin heal with a good skin care routine is a huge step towards gaining the confidence to make other positive changes.
It Helps You Realize Small Acts Can Do Big Things
It seems like every day we are faced with challenges that seem so immense that we don’t even know where to start. Having skin issues and not knowing how to fix them is very similar.
However, taking on a skin care routine that has you doing small tasks and being diligent about doing them daily actually hands you the solution on a silver platter. Most huge challenges in life can’t be taken on all at once—they have to be taken in smaller parts.
Establishing a good skin care regime helps your brain to get into a pattern of breaking down larger tasks into smaller, achievable goals, which you can do every day. It teaches you:
- How patience is key in accomplishing large tasks
- That doing easy, small tasks diligently yields huge results
Reduced Levels of Stress Affects Your Work and Play
Much like your level of confidence, your level of stress has a huge effect on your life. Being stressed causes a lot of issues, both mental and physical:
- It takes away all your energy and leaves you unable to take on new responsibilities
- It can make everyday tasks seem very difficult and make you drag your feet
- If left unchecked, it can even lead to much larger issues like depression and anxiety disorders
Even further, stress can be a major contributor to skin issues! You can be stressed, which leads to skin problems, which leads to more stress, which further aggravates those problems. It can be a vicious cycle.
That’s why it’s really important to have a healthy and balanced skin care routine. The stress relief from not having to worry about skin issues affecting you has major effects on the rest of your life.
When Can Skin Care Become an Unhealthy Obsession?
Having a good, healthy skin care routine is key for mental health for all the reasons we’ve outlined above. However, “healthy” is a key word there. Just like any other self-care routine, it can become unhealthy and damaging if you take it to an extreme measure.
We’ve put together a few tips on keeping your skin care routine healthy and not letting it turn into a negative obsession.
Don’t Set Unrealistic Expectations
While having healthy, glowing skin is certainly possible, remember that you are still human. Part of being human is:
- Having the odd pimple or blemish from time to time!
- Getting wrinkles as you grow older—while they can certainly be minimized and reduced, wrinkles with age are just a part of life. Embrace them! They show a life well lived.
- Having bad days or a bad reaction to something—you might have an allergic reaction to a new skin care product, laundry detergent, or seasonal issue. Don’t panic, just use nourishing products to help your skin heal properly, and you'll be back to normal in no time
Don’t Allow it to Become a Further Cause of Stress
We talked a lot about how the routine and ritual of a daily skin care routine is very beneficial to your mental health. However, it can become unhealthy if it becomes just another major stressor in your life.
If you find yourself extremely stressed or upset because you missed a step or an entire session of your skin care routine, it might be time to re-evaluate how you are approaching it. Life can be unpredictable, so let yourself miss the odd session here or there if other important things need done!
It's Not About Perfection; It's About Self Care
Just like exercising, skin care can become an unhealthy obsession when it becomes about perfection rather than health. While those obsessed with the perfect body may take unhealthy routes or drugs to attain their ideals, those obsessed with perfect skin can take similarly unhealthy approaches.
Remember that having healthy skin is the top priority, not having flawless a barbie-doll complexion. Chasing absolute perfection from your skin:
- Can lead to the use of products which damage your skin rather than heal it
- Always fails in the long run, often because of the use of damaging products which produce scarring or premature wrinkling
- Will cost you a lot of money for little results!
See a Professional When Necessary
Last, but certainly not least, you should always visit a professional when you need to. For serious chronic skin issues, or issues that don’t respond to normal in-home routines, a licensed dermatologist can provide the care necessary to get your skin back in tip top shape.
Dermatologists attend a lot of school and training to learn their skills, and you should never be afraid to seek professional help if necessary.
Your Skin Care Affects Your Mental Health
Your skin plays a large factor in the overall health of your body, and you should treat it well. Not just because it’s nice to have good skin, but because having a healthy skin care routine:
- Has effects that ripple outward into your whole life
Just remember not to be too hard on yourself, or to expect perfection. It’s about keeping yourself healthy and enjoying life.