Mental Health Benefits of Having a Skincare Ritual
March 25, 20224 min read
Guest Post by Jori Hamilton.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It shields you from the contaminants of the outside world. It holds you together. Yet, for all our skin does for us, few people take the time each day to give their skin the tender loving care it so richly deserves. That’s a shame because nurturing your skin properly isn’t just great for your physical health and overall appearance, but it’s also terrific for your mental wellbeing. Embracing a daily skincare ritual is an ideal way to practice self-care. Indeed, creating a daily skincare ritual that works for you is an actionable strategy for managing stress and anxiety and for cultivating a healthier, happier life in mind, body, and spirit.
MIND AND BODY CARE
The mind and body are deeply interconnected and intertwined. That means that when you neglect one, inevitably the other will feel it. Conversely, when you nourish one, so, too, will the other be nourished. When you take the time to nourish your skin, you’re also helping to support your mental wellbeing, both in the specific steps you use to care for your skin and in the mere act of doing it, the creation of a daily ritual in which your self-care is the entire purpose and priority. Studies show that the creation of rituals is instrumental in protecting and enhancing mental health. For example, following a daily ritual has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, facilitate healthy sleep, and provide you with an overall sense of calm, contentment, and connection, both with your inner self and with the outside world around you. This means that the mental health benefits of a skincare ritual will inevitably manifest in your skin, regardless of what you do during your routine. That’s because the stress-reducing attributes of ritual will be reflected in brighter, healthier, and more youthful-looking skin. On the other hand, when you allow your stress to go unmanaged, you’re, in essence, abusing your skin. Chronic stress, for instance, provokes the release of the body’s stress hormones, including cortisol. These hormones cause blood to be directed away from the skin and to the internal organs, which in turn deprives your skin of the oxygen it needs to be healthy and beautiful.
THE RIGHT RITUAL
As we’ve seen, one of the most important mental health benefits of ritual is that of stress reduction. The calming properties of a skincare ritual derive from the fact that when you are engaged in ritual, you’re doing three distinct things that have been proven to mitigate anxiety and help you overcome the myriad worries and pressures of life. Specifically, a daily skincare routine helps to distract, soothe, and balance you, no matter what the chaos of the world might otherwise bring to your day. Ideally, your ritual shouldn’t simply be about cleansing and applying products in the proper order. Instead, your ritual should engage all the senses. Choose music that calms you and queue it up each time you begin your self-care routine. Select aroma therapeutic scents that soothe you. Infuse the room with the fragrance before beginning. Turn down the lights to give a serene ambiance. Setting the scene in this way every time you perform your skincare ritual will help distract you from the cares of the day, soothe frazzled nerves both through the tranquil environment you’ve created and the luxurious feel of the regimen itself, and balance you by giving you the quiet and calm you need to recenter and refocus.
PLAN YOUR RITUAL AND BE CONSISTENT
While embracing a self-care ritual for your skin is important and beneficial in and of itself, there are some considerations to keep in mind to ensure you achieve the results you want. For example, it’s important to use the appropriate skincare products in the proper order. What products you use and in what order will depend largely on when you do it. Your morning routine, for instance, should help to prepare your skin for the day ahead, including protection from sun exposure and environmental pollutants. The nighttime regime, on the other hand, should help your skin to repair and replenish itself while you sleep. When you’re creating your skincare ritual, it’s also crucial that you not forget the skin beyond your face! Often, we concentrate only on the skin above our shoulders, our neck, skin, hair, and scalp. Though all skin matters, all skin needs nurturing, and that’s why your daily skincare ritual should encompass your entire body. Embracing a daily skincare/self-care ritual isn’t a luxury or an indulgence. In today’s uncertain, high-stress world, it’s a necessity, a cornerstone for your physical and mental health. Indeed, when you adhere to a daily skincare routine, you’re not only going to look better, but you’re also going to feel better in body and mind. Your skincare ritual is a tangible way to help you manage stress and regain the sense of happiness and calm you deserve.