More Than Skin Deep: 3 Ways Good Skin Care Is Good for the Psyche
You might think of skin care as being purely cosmetic, but the reasons to pay attention to the health of your skin go way beyond getting the perfect selfie. Our skin is the body’s largest organ and the only one that both we and everyone we come in contact with sees every day. Skin provides a visceral connection to both the outer and inner worlds of our being.
You are constantly aware of your skin because it’s a bundle of nerve endings. Your skin lets you know when you’re hot or cold; it tells you to scratch an itch, and it enables you to feel the touch of a loved one. Your brain has a deep relationship with your skin, unlike any other organ in your body.
So it shouldn’t be surprising to discover that looking after your skin can also take care of your brain. The two are so well connected that helping one, helps the other. Here are three important ways that taking care of your skin pays off in better psychological health.
It would be nice to think that people are valued purely for how they behave and not what they look like, but years of social research and real-world experience show that exterior beauty has advantages in modern society. Studies regarding popularity, hiring, job pay, even judicial equality, show bias toward attractiveness. We’ve all experienced it one way or the other. Whether you’ve benefited from or suffered the consequences of this bias, you know that it creates a certain pressure which can make any perceived flaw in our appearance seem that much more critical.
Research indicates that among women over 18 looking at themselves in the mirror, at least 80% are unhappy with what they see. That is an absurdly high figure. We are all beautiful and deserve to feel that way. Changing one’s perception of self isn’t as simple as just improving one’s appearance (nor should it be), but it’s a simple place to start. Seeing a positive change in your skin when you look in the mirror can help swing the pendulum toward a more positive self-image. Which in turn leads to greater self-confidence.
When you feel good about your appearance, you feel more confident in the world. It’s easier to meet new people. Easier to put yourself out there. Easier to create your personal power structure. Confidence is linked to enhanced job performance, increased productivity, better relationships, more effective decision making. Interestingly, studies show that people who display strong self-confidence are perceived as being more attractive. So you can see how this quickly becomes a cycle of improvement.
More Happiness, Less Stress
Touch has been demonstrated to release a range of positive hormones that make you feel good while also reducing cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for age-accelerating inflammation. A simple skin massage also stimulates your immune system, boosting your health. Increased circulation, another effect of massage, brings more nutrients and oxygen to the skin. These advantages arise whether you’re getting a professional facial, or when you massage your own skin. Performing a daily facial massage as part of your skin care routine is likely to help you feel more relaxed and contribute to your overall health and mental well-being. The decrease in stress and anxiety also helps to improve skin condition, which brings us full circle.
Taking care of your skin is not about vanity. It’s about looking your best to feel your best. Healthier skin, happier life.