Taking care of your skin may appear to be a simple habit but it holds immense value. Establishing and maintaining a skincare routine not only benefits the health of your body’s largest organ, the skin, but also provides structure and indulgence that contribute to your psychological well-being.
According to certified dermatologist, Erum Ilyas, self-care for the skin is an integral part of her routine. She emphasises the importance of skincare as an indicator of our internal health. When our skin looks and feels good, it positively influences our self-perception and overall wellbeing.
A skincare routine provides stability in your day, promoting mental health
Research published in Lancet Psychiatry in June 2018 revealed that individuals with inconsistent routines throughout the active parts of their day were more likely to experience major depressive and bipolar disorders, mood problems, loneliness, and unhappiness.
Therefore, engaging in healthy daily routines not only feels comforting but also acts as an anchor in your life, bringing stability to your daily routine. By following a simple yet luxurious skincare routine, you can create a sense of accomplishment and structure, preventing days from blending together and promoting a healthier mental state.
Focus on self-care to break the cycle of worry and intrusive thoughts
At certain times of the day, you may find yourself caught in a spiral of intrusive thoughts. However, practising self-care can help break these negative patterns. Therapist Matt Traube explains that individuals with anxiety and depression often experience heightened symptoms 30 minutes to an hour before bed when they have more idle time, leading to increased worry.
Engaging in activities such as washing, toning, and moisturising your face allows you to shift your focus away from negative thoughts and into the present moment. This diversion of attention facilitates mindfulness, which involves fully immersing yourself in the sensations you’re experiencing without judgment. Studies, such as the one published in Frontiers in Psychology in 2019, have shown that mindfulness helps reduce depression and anxiety by halting worry and rumination. By dedicating a few minutes to your skincare routine, you can help your brain disengage from unhealthy thought patterns.
Regular skin pampering triggers mood-boosting chemicals in your brain
Craft a skincare routine that incorporates products you enjoy using and provides a pleasant experience. Don’t underestimate the impact of gentle massages with a warm washcloth, the application of a silky moisturiser, or the use of masks. These practices can induce feelings of relaxation and contribute to an uplifted mood.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people began exploring at-home facial treatments such as masks and even microdermabrasion creams. Engaging in an at-home facial or treatment offers not only comfort during the experience but also the benefits of anticipation and planning.
According to Traube, the anticipation of joyful events triggers the release of feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain. Studies have demonstrated that looking forward to positive experiences activates a specific region of the prefrontal cortex associated with a sense of wellbeing, generating a simple and natural high. So, even the mere act of planning for an at-home facial or treatment can bring about positive effects on your mental state.
Right now, the world is a stressful place. It can be tempting to just unwind by watching TV late into the night and neglecting your skincare routine simply because you feel too tired. However, what if you shifted your focus and dedicated just five extra minutes to taking care of yourself? By treating your skin with care, you are sending yourself a powerful message: “I’m worth it” as emphasised by Traube. This act of self-care is akin to the confidence boost you get from swiping on mascara, adding colour to your cheeks, or applying a tinted moisturiser that gives your skin a radiant glow.
So, amidst the array of self-care practices available, prioritising skin health can yield significant benefits for your mental and emotional wellbeing. In the present circumstances, it is especially important to recognise the value of self-care, including skincare, as it contributes to nurturing a healthier mindset.
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