Although it may sound unlikely, at The Skin Nerd, we believe that skincare benefits your wellbeing. There’s not simply one reason we feel this way, there’s a broad array of them, from the studies we’ve read on how skin concerns affect people’s quality of life to how routine is proven to improve how you feel. Not only can mental health affect your skin, your skin can affect your mental health so the goal is always to look after both of them - that’s why we see skincare as an extremely valid mode of self-care.
In studies on how skin conditions impact the quality of life of the sufferers, it is proven time and time again that the severity of the skin concern tends to align with how the sufferer rates their quality of life. As someone who has suffered with my skin at varying points of my life, I can attest to this - if I’m broken out, I feel less confident and less likely to look people in the eye.
This also correlates with the experience of our clients in the Nerd Network, with many coming to us because their skin is affecting their quality of life. Some say that they can’t leave the house, won’t let their partner see them without makeup on or that they can’t look at themselves in the mirror.
When the skin improves because of the correct approach to treating it, that will obviously improve quality of life but we have found that for many, even carrying out a routine in the morning and evening can help them.
How Skincare Benefits Your Wellbeing
Skincare is self-care
Self-care is considered to be a genuine mode of feeling safer, more secure and better in yourself when carried out regularly, and those who suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues find that it assists them with their symptoms.
Skincare is a very literal form of self-care in that you are regularly tending to your body’s largest organ. Think about it: carrying out your skincare routine, AM & PM, is something that requires concentration on the act itself. I have tried to do my skincare routine while doing something else and it nearly always ends with a favourite serum spilling.
It is at least two to three minutes where you look at yourself and watch yourself looking after you, and in your undoubtedly busy life, it’s invaluable to be alone with your own thoughts and take some me-time.
In a study on over 5,000 women carried out by the Cleveland Clinic, where over 1,000 of those surveyed had children under the age of 18, 59% of the mums agreed that their family comes before them. Interestingly, of those without children, 54% of them took time for rest and relaxation compared to only 20% when it comes to those who had children.
Our ruling is that 100% of people should be taking time for themselves, even if it is a few minutes a day. An important note: the bathroom door is often one of the only doors you can lock without being asked questions!
Your skincare routine is a routine
When there are 6 and a half million things happening in your life at any given time, it becomes startlingly easy to fall out of a routine and just start “doing”. There’s nothing wrong with doing. But routine proves time and time again in studies to be beneficial for your mental health - this piece on Psychology Today outlines a few one of them.
Using your skincare consistently in the morning and evening speeds along your skin results and helps you to create more routines in your life, especially if you can convince yourself to prioritise it. You have to prioritise you, because nobody else is going to do it. Once you create one form of routine in your life, it becomes so much easier to develop others.
When your skin improves, your feelings around it will improve - if you make sure that you keep track
Something we encounter a lot with our clients is that they sometimes rely on other people to tell them that their skin is improving, or they don’t notice the difference themselves. If you don’t notice the difference, you won’t feel better about it - this is the home truth.
Because of this, it’s important to be patient when it comes to results but to also actually celebrate the wins when it comes to your skin and acknowledge that is is improving. Even if the redness that was bothering you hasn’t quite subsided, maybe you have fewer blackheads or fine lines.
Do you keep your progress pics? I don’t mean daily selfies necessarily, but even once weekly will allow you to look back and be grateful for how your consistent skincare routine has paid off.
Nutrition, Your Mental Wellbeing And Your Skin
For many of us, the dream balanced diet isn’t always achievable - even if we know deep down that it is what we need for both happy skin and a happy mind. The field of nutritional psychiatry is constantly growing, meaning more studies which means more learnings.
These learnings usually point towards the fact that our mood can be defined by our food - ever notice you’re a bit snappier when you had a bag of jellies for lunch instead of your usual soup? No judgment though, every once in a while we need a day like that.
The brain and the skin are both organs and in this, they benefit from the same nutrients. Why? Because often, inflammation is the root of both skin problems and mood changes. A diet rich in antioxidants and probiotic ingredients (as well as the right amounts of protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals) and low in foods and things that can inflame us, like caffeine, alcohol, processed foods and refined sugar, benefits both your brain and your skin.
So - let’s do the maths - eating “clean” or as clean as you can means an improvement in both how you feel and how your skin feels, and you also feel better when your skin feels better, and your skin feels better when you feel better… A bit confusing, but essentially, looking after yourself can nearly change your life entirely.
What To Do If Your Skin Is Affecting Your Mental Health
There seems to be a general lack of understanding on how much skin can affect how you feel about yourself, but let me tell you, it can be the main cause of feelings of anxiety, obsessive tendencies or depression for some.
It’s not vanity, nor is it vain to “allow” your mood to be defined by how you look - it is rooted in your levels of confidence and comfort, and we wouldn’t mock someone’s feelings of low-confidence or discomfort.
In a survey carried out on people suffering with chronic skincare conditions, 21% of those surveyed rated mood and stress levels as the top factors affected by their skin condition. 31% said that it brought about low mood, 31% stated that it made them feel embarrassed and self-conscious, 19% said it made them feel anxious or worried, 12% said that it made them want to isolate themselves and 6% said that they felt life was not worth living.
If a skin concern like acne, eczema, psoriasis or rosacea is affecting your mental health on a regular basis, visit your GP for advice and perhaps speak to a skincare professional who can recommend a skincare routine for you (for more information on our Nerd Network consultations, click here).
In general, it helps to nip these things in the bud and get it sorted, whether it’s with regard to seeking help when it comes to your skin or your mental health. It is 2019 and the stigma surrounding mental health is slowly but surely being broken, and although it’s difficult, as mentioned, you need to prioritise you and your health.
Team Nerd’s Favourite Products For Self-Care And Wellbeing
“My full skincare routine would be what I do for self-care. I’m a mum of two who works full-time so those three minutes I get to myself, whether it gets my full concentration or not, is like a spa treatment. It’s the only time I get and those little ones can’t take that away from me! If I had to pick just one product, it’s the Environ Clarity+ Sebu-Clear Masque, because it instantly makes my skin feel good and makes me feel good about my skin.” - Lisa, Nerdette
“I love an at-home lazy pedicure where I wash my feet, cover them in Neostrata Problem Dry Skin Cream, pop sandwich bags on my feet, and stick socks over them. I watch a movie and then have super soft feet afterwards.” - Ben, Nerd
“It has to be a sheet mask. I’ll put them in the fridge or the freezer, if I want it extra cold, and it soothes me and my soul. The most recent one I used and love at the moment is the Murad Hydro Glow Aqua Peel.” - Barbara, Client Care Nerdette
“I am utilitarian in that I only use my skincare for its efficacy but cleaning the whole house and then taking a shower is how I unwind. However, I do get great satisfaction out of using the Yon-Ka Gommage Yon-Ka and seeing the pure dirt roll off my skin.” - Grainne, Education Manager
“I tried the new Add-On Beauty Dry Mask (Hydra Protect) and I really liked that it feels nice without being wet like your usual sheet mask. Plus, it’s reusable making it that bit more eco-friendly and better value.” - Ciara, Accountant
“Quenching the thirst of my genetically dry skin calms me down so at the moment, my self-care is the DMK Hydrating Masque.” - Charlotte, Sales Director
To summarise in the simplest way possible, there are no negatives to looking after yourself, only positives, so make time rather than excuses. There’s only one you out there in the world.