WELLBEING MONTH: When Skincare Becomes Self-Care
Continuing with Wellbeing Month, we chatted to Kat Cane of Face Oxford about how looking after our skin goes beyond a fresh looking face and actually benefits our wellbeing as a whole…
The last few months have certainly been a challenge for everyone. Working from home, cancelled life plans, home-schooling and huge changes to our routines have literally turned life upside down.
The link between physical, mental and emotional health and well-being is well researched. I know from the studies I have read, as well as from seeing people in clinic and hearing their experiences, that skin concerns affect people’s quality of life.
Did you know that the added stress we are all in can also negatively impact on our skin health? This is due to raised cortisol levels and subsequent inflammation in the skin, leading to oilier and breakout prone skin. Stress is also thought to be a trigger in skin conditions like acne, rosacea and eczema.
So not only can mental health affect your skin, your skin can affect your mental health, meaning there are real tangible benefits to looking after them both!
As a healthcare practitioner and someone who has always been interested in the impact of well-being on our health, I’ve seen a huge increase in people in clinic since the pandemic began, wanting some help to look and feel better about themselves in general and their skin in particular and personally, I think this is a very beneficial and positive step.
What is self-care and how can that possibly affect my well-being?
“Self-care” may be confused with being selfish, lavish and treating yourself to things you don’t need, but I would argue that actually self-care is absolutely essential at the moment. Taking some time for self-care can offer the following benefits:
- Feeling more balanced
- Reduced stress
- Increased energy throughout the day
- Higher levels of productivity
- Enhanced intuition and emotional awareness
Self-care activities that you choose are obviously really personal, but can include things like exercising, walking, meditation and mindfulness.
Skin care routines are also well known to have a positive impact on our well-being and are a great self –care activity, plus they help us to have healthy, happy and radiant skin, which makes us feel better too!
What benefits does having a skincare routine have?
Well, firstly just having a routine is really beneficial and comforting at a time when so many of our routines are upended. It is a few minutes that you take each day, usually quietly in the bathroom, where you sit and take care of you!
It can be quite meditative and I recommend popping on some lovely relaxing music, or taking it up a notch and downloading a free meditation app to pop on while you do your routine, focusing on your breathing. Bliss!
Seeing benefits of a skin care routine doesn’t require fancy products or a lot of work, either. Yes, there are some products and ingredients I recommend to my clients to treat specific things they would like to treat, but it doesn’t have to be complex.
I know there are a lot of products out there and it can be super confusing. My top two products would be a gentle cleanser and SPF (and anything else is a bonus!).
Here are my top tips:
The cleanser should be gentle and specifically suited to your skin. Take time with this step, massage your cleanser into damp skin for a few minutes and enjoy the process! It should feel lovely on your skin and you need to do it twice a day. I’ve written blogs all about cleansing and how to do it well-please check them out!
2. Use SPF daily
Choose well, they are not all great for your skin and if you have a particular condition such as acne, we can find one that won’t break you out. This is your biggest insurance policy against premature ageing and you should use it 365 days a year. Every single day. No exceptions.
3. Be gentle!
My advice is don’t overdo the exfoliation and active ingredients, as this can strip the skin leaving it sore and sensitive. Often, I work with people to repair the damage they have done to their skin’s barrier-so my advice is simple here-be super gentle. Only use a physical exfoliator once a week, max!
4. Optional extras
If you are looking at treating a specific skin issue, such as rosacea, acne, pigmentation or premature ageing, yes, you need active ingredients in there. It’s best to ask for expert advice on what to use so you don’t cause skin barrier issue . You may need a moisturiser, yes. You might (but often people don’t) need eye creams-ok.
There are plenty of other steps you can add in, but if you just use 1 & 2 from above and don’t overdo 3, you will be winning! The most important thing is to switch off, focus on taking a few special moments for yourself and enjoy.
If you’d like any more info, I’ve done blogs on many of the topics above and would be happy to help if you would like to get in touch >> www.faceoxford.com
Stay safe and well, lovely people. Remember, this too shall pass.