Today is Blue Monday, which is apparently the most depressing day of the year but for some people, depression is a daily battle and I feel this article is long overdue.
Skincare While You're Suffering With Depression
Since 2020 I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of emails I receive where people have said they used to have a fantastic skincare regime, now they can barely wash their face. If you have depression then just washing your face can feel like a monumental task. Mental health, long Covid, whatever the reason, it can really knock a person’s confidence if your skin is bothering you.
Firstly let me point out, if you are suffering with depression then please try not to punish yourself for not having a skincare routine, the main focus is getting through the day and there are more important things than skincare, this article is not here to shame you. But if you do feel that your skin is affecting your confidence, then let's see if we can help.
If you have a skin concern then identifying and treating are important. If you feel your spots are more than just a breakout contact your GP (ask at the surgery if anyone specialises in skin issues) or visit a dermatologist, if you have acne then you will need medical treatment, while a good skincare routine can support your treatment, it may not be enough to clear your skin.
Could your spots be something else?
Since Covid and the rise in people wearing masks I’ve seen an increase in a condition called perioral dermatitis. This tends to be around the mouth and typically the skin will be red, dry and/or itchy with little bumps which can become inflamed. If you don’t usually suffer with skin issues and suddenly have these spots, it could be perioral dermatitis, your Doctor or Dermatologist can prescribe something to clear this up. Try to wear masks made from natural material where possible and ensure your masks are always clean and dry.
Lets just try and focus on getting the basics done, forget the 12 step program. If you can cleanse and moisturise in the evening, fantastic! If you can do this morning and night, you’re winning! Find products you like to use, maybe it’s the feel of the product as you massage it in, maybe it’s the smell? Or perhaps there’s a business who has a brand ethos that aligns with you or a small business you want to support, whatever gives you that feelgood factor, lets start there. When you can create a skincare routine that is joyful rather than feeling like a chore, it’s easier to stick to.
Use a face flannel
If you find the idea of even splashing your face too much, please avoid cleansing wipes, they're really not the best for your skin. Use a cotton face flannel to remove your cleanser, always use it gently as though you’re washing a child’s face, no scrubbing. I like to place a warm flannel over my face before wiping away the cleanser but if you don’t like anything on your face, skip that part, just gently wipe away your cleanser. By using a flannel you’re also gently exfoliating your skin too. If however you have delicate skin you may find using a face flannel too often irritates your skin, sadly I can only use a face flannel a couple of times a week on my sensitive skin, but see how you get on.
Start your routine earlier
A lot of people wait to do their routine just before bed, this is usually when you’re really tired and when you’re more likely to skip your routine. Try and cleanse around 7-8pm (or whenever works around your schedule), set an alarm if you need to, you’ll hopefully find you’re a little more enthusiastic to do anything when you’re less tired.
You need to find a moisturiser you enjoy using but it also has to be right for your skin type because you want to ensure your skin is nourished. In the day you ideally also want to use a separate product with a broad spectrum SPF (sun protection factor), we’re not protecting against burning but UV damage so finding a lovely SPF that works for your skin is brilliant, you’ll get a great dopamine hit knowing you’ve moisturised AND protected your skin, well done!
If you find you’re sensitive to scooping product out of pots, keep a teaspoon handy in your bathroom but wash and dry it before and after each use, you can use the handle or the back of the spoon to scoop out any product.
I find fragrance can dramatically improve my mood and so I splurge with my body moisturiser and treat myself to my favourite perfumed moisturisers from Penhaligons, I have 4 that I rotate between depending on my mood. Is it the best moisturiser? No, but it does the job and I smell amazing all day! What’s your favourite perfume? Do they have a moisturiser? Or why not try and find a new one. I also love the smell of The Body Shop body butters, not only do they smell great but the ingredients are also brilliant. So if you’re up to it, why not find a new fragrance to enjoy? If you can’t face it, try and find a fragrant body moisturiser that you know you’ll like. I only use these on my chest and arms, my torso and legs don’t need to smell this good.
Set up a cleansing playlist, I love Spotify for this because they recommend songs they think I'll like from the songs I've saved in my playlist, I have a huge list of songs from the 90's and early 2000's that I hadn't heard in years, music I used to listen to when I was young and carefree and I really find it brightens my mood. I tend to use this when I need to do my make-up but I'm not feeling so enthusiastic, as soon as the music plays, my mind is back in a happy place and I'll sing and dance away while going through my routine.
Ready to up your game?
Take it slowly, why not add in an exfoliating toner to your routine? A quick and simple way to exfoliate your skin, simply apply some toner to a cotton or reusable pad, sweep over your skin and you're done. Or maybe add in a serum? Massage in to damp skin after cleansing and before moisturising. If you’re not sure what your skin needs, get in touch.
Missed a day?
Or 2, or 10? Don’t worry, it’s not a big deal, just start again.
This is not something I have experienced myself but if you do find you’re unable to stop I’d highly recommend contacting a healthcare professional to see what options may be available to you. If you have managed to overcome this issue and you are left with discolouration or blemishes, exfoliating products such as glycolic acid may help to fade the appearance of the discolouration. Please feel free to get in touch through our contact page for an email consultation.
And this may be a difficult one, try not to compare yourself to the images you see on social media. No matter how natural they may look, many have been airbrushed, blemishes may have been removed, fine lines and wrinkles softened. Remember no one is poreless, some people may have tighter pores than other but they still have pores.
Having suffered with acne and my mental health in the past, I can completely empathise. I suffer with SAD every year, especially this time of the year which means as much as I love skincare and my routine, I am a bit less enthusiastic. So my routine is thorough but simpler than it may be in the sunnier months (where you’ll find me complaining that it’s too hot and hiding from the sun!).