Now more than ever, it’s important to have a pandemic skin-care self-care plan. This means setting aside time each day to follow a routine that will improve the health of your skin (as well as your mental wellbeing). “Caring for my skin is one of the most important things I do for myself,” says Erum Ilyas, MD, a board-certified dermatologist with Montgomery Dermatology in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.
1.A Skin-Care Routine Provides Stability in Your Day That Benefits Your Mental Health
According to Matt Traube – a licensed clinical psychotherapist and a psych dermatologist in Santa Barbara, California – one of the issues we’re currently facing is the transition from being out of the house to being home all the time. He explains that with this change, we lose the structure and routine of our day-to-day lives. Routines like healthy eating habits, exercise, journaling, and skin care are critical for our overall health – both physically and mentally.
“Creating routines can help you feel good and provide some stability in your life, says Traube. On a small scale, you may even feel like you’ve accomplished something. “I think that especially now, because of COVID-19, it’s vitally important to maintain some routines during the week, otherwise one day begins to blend into the other. Now, in particular, is a fantastic time to reap the benefit of these habits,” he says.
2. Focusing on Doing Something Nice for Yourself Helps Stop a Worry Spiral
Traube says that for a lot of people who experience anxiety and depression, their condition gets worse 30 minutes to one hour before bed. This is because they have more time to think about things and worry. However, you can break the negative thought cycle by doing things that require your focus and attention, like washing your face. This way, you can get out of your head and into the present moment.
The act of caring for your skin is more than just keeping it healthy – it can also be an opportunity for mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on sensations you’re experiencing in the present moment without passing judgment.
This can help 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. “By engaging in this activity for a few minutes, you can help your brain unhook from less healthy, spiraling thinking patterns,” says Traube.
3. Pampering Skin on a Regular Basis Triggers a Cascade of Chemicals in Your Brain to Boost Your Mood
Create a beauty routine that pampers you and incorporates products you savor using. For example, don’t underestimate the rejuvenating power of massaging your skin with a warm washcloth during cleansing, taking extra time to apply a rich face cream, or indulging in a luxurious facial mask. You can even turn this into an evening ritual like Melanie Moreno, head of aesthetics at Mario Tricoci in Chicago, does:
“Caring for my skin during quarantine has definitely given me something to look forward to. Moreno says, “I set up my at-home spa station on my bathroom counter with all of my favorite products so I can give myself a mini facial every night. I light a candle, put on some calming music, and take the time to do a double cleanse, use an exfoliating treatment, apply a mask, and finish with serums and moisturizers. It’s become part of my wind-down routine that helps me relax and feel better about myself.”
If you’re looking for a more concentrated skin treatment, masks are the better option, says Joyce Davis, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. “Masks are safer at this time,” she explains. “There’s more of a risk of experiencing a skin reaction to a peel, and right now you can’t count on being able to see a dermatologist to fix any problems.” In general, masks are gentler and can help temporarily plump the skin to give you a youthful, refreshed appearance.
The experience of an at-home facial or treatment can be very comforting, but you can also get a lot of satisfaction just from planning for it. “Anticipation of happy events releases feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain,” says Traubel.
Expecting positive events has also been shown to activate a certain area of the prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with a sense of well-being, according to a study published in January 2018 in Frontiers in Psychology. It’s a natural little high for something so simple.
There are several reasons why baths are so calming. For one, you anticipate feeling relaxed as you lower yourself into the warm water. Additionally, the warmth of the water is naturally relaxing to muscles. “Physical relaxation sends your brain the message that it’s time to be calm and mellow, reducing the fight-or-flight stress response,” says Traubel. To make your bath an act of self-care that also improves your skin health, add oatmeal to the water, suggests Dr. Davis.
4.Skin Care Provides a Chance to Bond With Loved Ones — and That’s a Boon to Mental Health
By incorporating a mask routine into their daily lives, Moreno and her partner are tapping into something that can lead to greater happiness, according to a study published in May 2018 in Psychological Science.
The study found that in general, spending concentrated time with loved ones pursuing hobbies and enjoyable activities is linked to greater levels of happiness. So, in a time when it may feel as if you’re too close for comfort with the other members of your household, you can carve out meaningful time together that will bolster your sense of personal satisfaction and family bond. Dr. Ilyas knows from experience how important it is to have a good self-care routine.
“One thing that’s helped me a lot lately is sharing my routine with my teenage kids,” she says. “I find that at this time, with less direct social interaction, spending my self-care time with my kids is so much more effective in achieving the ultimate goal of self-care — a balance of physical and mental well-being,” she says.
You can make this a fun experience for everyone by focusing on products that you already have at home that you love, or by hunting for some skin-friendly ingredients in your pantry for a DIY mask. Coconut oil, mashed avocado, or a milk compress are all great options for a fun, bonding event.
5.Caring for Your Skin Is an Act of Kindness That Sends a Powerful Message
In today’s world, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with stress. You might be tempted to stay up late watching TV, and then go to bed without washing your face. But what if you took a few extra minutes to take care of yourself?
By spending five minutes on your skin care routine, you’re sending yourself the message: “I’m worth it.” This is similar to the confidence boost you might get from wearing mascara, blush, or tinted moisturizer. By taking the time to take care of yourself, you’re showing yourself that you’re worth the effort.
moisturizing your skin is one of the most important steps to take for improving your complexion. Not only does it help to protect your skin from the environment, but it can also help to improve circulation and make you feel better overall. When choosing a moisturizer, it’s important to consider how it feels going on, how it smells, and how your skin feels afterwards.
6.Why Self-Care, Including When It Comes to Your Skin, Is So Important Now
It’s important to take care of yourself both mentally and physically, especially during times of stress like we’re experiencing now with the coronavirus pandemic. One way to do that is by focusing on your skin health, which can have a positive impact on your overall mood and well-being.
“I’ve found that there’s a direct correlation between my skin care routine and my mental state,” says Moreno. “Taking the time to nurture my skin helps me feel more confident and in control of my day.”