Guest post by Megan Powell: Beauty during The Breakdown (keeping my skin clear, when my mind isn't)
Beauty has always been a foreign concept to me. I’m plus size, 6’3”, and probably one of the biggest tomboys you’ll ever meet. So, since I’ve never fit the standards of beauty, I’ve kind of rejected them. Makeup, until recently, has been something I’ve never really understood. At this point, I have found my “style” and I don’t stray too far from it. I have my favorite go-to products, which I’ll link at the end of this for you to take a look at, but really I don’t do a lot in terms of beauty.
Part of the reason I don’t do much: I’m Depressed.
Depression is a bear that I have wrestled with pretty much all my life. It’s familiar and at 29, I’m not sure I know how NOT to be depressed. I’ve just learned ways to cheat and not let it consume me. One of those ways is skincare. Regardless of if I’m able to shower that day, I have found ways to keep my skin looking wonderful.
1. Hydrate. The simplest of all and the most cliché. Water is a miracle for both your skin and depression. The University of Connecticut recently did a study linking depression with dehydration. Water has a “significant impact” on alleviating depression and helping with concentration. It also keeps your skin from getting dry, flaky, and having that weird, tight feeling that’s super uncomfortable.
2. Eye drops. I personally use Rotho ICE eye drops, but it’s no surprise that when you feel more confident, you feel better. I use eye drops in the morning to wake up my entire face. It energizes my body, and sometimes it’s a way that I’m able to trick my mind into focusing and getting what I need to done.
3. Shower. This one doesn’t always happen when I’m in the middle of a depressive episode but sometimes it’s the only thing that makes me feel better. I use mostly LUSH products (Rub rub rub body scrub, BIG shampoo). For my conditioner, I use a small amount of Aussie Hydrating conditioner. The mixture of scents, personally, has been instrumental in making my mind WANT to get up and shower.
4. Toner. You’re supposed to use it before you moisturize and after you wash your face. Sometimes, I physically can’t get out of bed to wash my face but just having something that pulls the dirt and grime off my face helps me feel better. I use Skin&Co Roma’s Truffle Therapy toner.
5. Lips. Hydration helps with chapped lips, but if I want my lips to look their best, I make sure to use a scrub every once in a while and moisturize after. It reinforces some of the good things I feel about myself. I love the shape of my lips, so I can be pretty vain about them and I painstakingly make sure they look their best, even in the middle of a depressive episode.
6. Hydrating Spray. I keep Skin&Co Roma’s Truffle Therapy Radiant Dew Mist near my bed at all times. The spray itself is phenomenal. You can use it as a setting spray or you can just refresh your skin during the day. It’s got a minty cooling effect that wakes me up and can sometimes cause me to be able to focus to get projects done.
7. My secret skin weapon (well not so secret, but definitely worth mentioning) is LXMI Pure Nilotica Melt. It’s balm-to-oil. Nilotica is a relative of shea, but I think rarer. LXMI makes a phenomenal product that I use everywhere I’d use Shea butter. My face, my lips, my elbows… you name it. It makes my skin look brighter, hydrated, and healthy.
The more I’ve thought about it, the more research I’ve done and interestingly enough, there’s an entire study on the link between skincare and mental health! Harvard Health notes that the relationship between the mind and skin has become so fascinating to scientists and dermatologists that they designated an independent field of study called ‘psychodermatology’. It’s a relatively new discipline in psychosomatic medicine, which is a subspecialty in the field of psychiatry dealing with the relationship between mental and physical illness.
Estimates are that the prevalence of psychological factors that can actually affect skin disease is between 25 and 33 percent. Though psychodermatology isn’t yet an established medical specialty in the U.S., there are some professionals that specialize in helping people manage the emotional aspects of their skincare issues.
Some psychiatrists even suggest to their patients to do something productive/pleasurable to get themselves out of negative feedback loops. Essentially it’s A way to train your brain into focusing on something else that you enjoy to start pulling yourself out of that mindset.
People have always said that how you feel about yourself on the outside translates to how you feel about yourself on the inside. Well, regardless of how true that is, I’ve found that I personally feel better when I have a clean face. I suggest taking my advice and treat yourself to good products that work, and that makes you FEEL good. Spend a little more on yourself, you’re worth it.