How A Skincare Routine Can Affect Your Mental Health

The main purpose for most people's skincare routine is to promote the health and beauty of their facial skin. Everything from choosing the proper ingredients and products for your particular skin type, age, and concerns to the order in which you apply your products can vary from person to person (via Elle). Some folks swear by serums while others prefer retinol creams or classic old-fashioned toners. Some might combine all of these things.

But there are benefits to a skincare routine that are more than, well, skin-deep. In fact, while proper cleansing, moisturizing, and sunblock application are good for your skin itself, it turns out that keeping to a skincare routine can actually benefit your mental health as well. There's something about the focused, step-by-step self-care of applying the cleansers and creams that sends positive messages to your inner self. Not only are you dedicating a few minutes each day to your own wellbeing, but you are likely shutting out other thoughts and worries in the process (via Everyday Health).   

How a skincare routine can boost your mood

Matt Traube, a licensed clinical psychotherapist and a psychodermatologist in Santa Barbara, California, told Everyday Health that something our society as a whole has been struggling with since the start of the pandemic is a disruption to our routines and "normal" lives. As such, sticking to a skincare routine day in and day out provides a sense of grounding, of normalcy, of predictability in a very unpredictable world. 

Further, the mental focus it takes to pay attention to each step of your process usually interrupts other thoughts or worries spiraling in your head. Rather than worrying about what happened on your work call earlier or what you're going to make the kids for lunch tomorrow, you land squarely in the present moment, which is a healthy practice in mindfulness and can combat anxiety.

In addition, when the routine you ascribe to feels good to you, not only does it release mood-boosting chemicals in your brain as you do it, but making it a habit allows your brain to release those chemicals in anticipation of the routine as well. "Anticipation of happy events releases feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain," explains Traube. Taking this time to care for yourself also sends a positive message to yourself that you are worth the time, your are worth the effort, you are worth the kindness that you so often give to others. This helps your self-esteem and fills your cup.