Trust me when I say we've all been there, faced with the stress and frustration that comes along with a breakout, pimple, or redness that tends to linger even after the breakout is gone. A single blemish or a full-on breakout can really put a damper on your mood, day-to-day life, and even your self-perception. While there are many factors that can contribute to the development of acne, the relationship between your mind and body is often overlooked when it comes to clearing your skin.
Your clear-skin mindset plays such an important part in your Clear Skin Journey. That's why I partnered up with my good friend, Maggie Ullrich, LCSW to take a deep dive into how mindset, stress, and self-acceptance can change our skin and many areas of our lives.
"I've tried everything on my skin, and nothing seems to work"
In my treatment room, I often hear clients blame themselves for their acne. The negative self-talk going on in their heads sends them down a spiral. I used to think this way too. I would tell myself things like, "You'll never get rid of your acne," or "No one will ever take me seriously as an esthetician with acne." But the truth is, acne is NOT your fault. Your skin just might be trying to tell you something. Stress and hormones can wreak havoc on your skin, causing those repeated breakouts that leave us wondering what we did wrong. So here's Maggie to help us better understand how these thoughts and our mindsets can affect our skin.
What to do if acne starts to negatively impact your mental health:
- Validate your feelings: you’re feeling that way for a reason! Let yourself feel your emotions and tell yourself you’re not “being too dramatic.”
- Make some time for self-care: Typically, when our mindset goes to the dark side, it means we haven’t taken time for ourselves recently, and we’re running on fumes. Taking even 30 minutes to do something you enjoy can uplift your mindset.
- Complete your skincare routine: skin care is a type of self-care, so going through your skincare routine every night can be a great way to unwind. It can boost your confidence, which in turn can increase your self-esteem and overall happiness. Establishing a routine can also help you maintain order and predictability in your life.
- Reach out to someone you feel comfortable talking to: It’s important to feel connected and validated by close friends and family. In fact, research suggests putting feelings into words can help manage difficult emotions.
- Talk to an acne expert: Acne experts are experts for a reason! Autumn can help educate you on your skin and come up with an individualized treatment plan best suited for your skin.
- Talk to a therapist: if you feel it is becoming a topic you think about often or struggle to manage your emotions on your own, it could be helpful to seek therapy to further process and improve your mindset.
"I don't want to go to the party, everyone will stare at my breakout"
As I mentioned above, stress plays a major role in the health of our skin. We live in a modern society, and stress is all around us. Running behind schedule? Stress. Forgetting your lunch at home? Stress. Trying every product known to mankind to help your skin and nothing helps? Stress. All that built-up anxiety triggers more breakouts. And that single stress-induced breakout, you guessed it, leads to even more stress. Stress is hard on your immune system, and it affects your whole body. When your immune system is compromised, your body has difficulty fighting off infections and bacteria- such as P.acne, that causes acne. Now that you can see the vicious cycle of stress acne, here's Maggie to help us better understand our stress and healthy ways to cope.
Maggie- The best way to manage stress in a healthy way is to take care of yourself. Reflect on what your needs are and ask yourself- what do I need in this moment? Healthy ways to cope often look like activities that fulfill us. Yoga, meditation, exercising, journaling, spending time with loved ones, and doing things you enjoy are all forms of self-care that can fulfill our needs.
"I can't leave the house without makeup"
The first question I always ask my clients is what are their clear skin goals; 99% of them say they want to feel confident without wearing makeup. The keyword here is CONFIDENCE. I want my clients to feel confident in their skin, body, and (mental) health because when people are confident, it trickles into other aspects of their lives. Here's Maggie with some amazing tips and advice on how to start your self-acceptance journey today!
Maggie- Acne can have a profound impact on your self-esteem. While it’s very normal to not love or even like everything about ourselves, it is important to have self-acceptance on some level. Without self-acceptance, your mental well-being will likely suffer, causing your depression and anxiety to be more difficult to manage.
You can nurture your self-acceptance by:
- Celebrate your strengths
- Understand that you will make mistakes (have flaws)
- Develop self-compassion
- Recognize the silver lining in negative situations
- Talk to others about how you are feeling
- Surround yourself with people who accept you for your true self
- Quiet your inner critic by creating positive affirmations
Having acne sometimes comes along with negative self-talk like, "Ugh, what is wrong with me? Why can't I figure my skin out?" The truth is when you tell yourself mean and negative things... then you keep drawing those negative things and emotions toward you. Even though you may not love your skin in this moment, it's important to make sure you're feeding your mind and body love messages about yourself. So let's change the tune with some self-loving affirmations like:
My texture and blemishes are normal
I accept my skin at every stage of its journey
My skin is healing more and more every day
I am worthy
I am beautiful
There’s absolutely no shame in having anxiety about your skin or other mental health challenges. Acne affects at least 50 million Americans per year, and studies show that it affects up to 85% of people between the ages of 11 and 30 globally. People experience acne and its impacts differently, but there are methods to help cope or overcome it, and there are always people out there who can help.
According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, there’s a significant association between acne and depression and anxiety. Which also means treating acne can improve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Acne is just a four-letter word that does define you or make you who you are.
With so much love and clear skin,
Autumn & Maggie