Is skincare the ultimate form of self-care? 

If our skin carries the memory of everywhere it’s been, the pandemic has left us with a few lasting thoughts.

Published: 15th May 2021 12:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th May 2021 12:20 AM   |  A+A-

Skin care, Face scrub

Representational image

CHENNAI:  If our skin carries the memory of everywhere it’s been, the pandemic has left us with a few lasting thoughts. Living in isolation has unwittingly created the perfect setting for staring at our own enlarged pores, whether on social media (tap to beauty with the next best filter) or in the trusty bathroom mirror.

What happens to a skincare enthusiast after over 16 months of this? We have spent way too much time gaping at ourselves on a screen, and are constantly looking for ideal, filtered versions of ourselves.

When a lot of the world feels like the Upside Down in Stranger Things, the trope of skincare being the ultimate form of self-care has only gotten stronger. Which really begs the question has the pandemic allowed us to embrace skin care even more now, as a means to relax and self-soothe?

It’s true that I find myself craving all things comforting - moisture-rich hair treatments and soothing serums included. I’d even be the first in line if they made weighted blankets for my face. It’s the connection between self-care and skincare that makes me a little skittish, though.

It’s good to take time for yourself. Light a candle, put on a mask, whatever it may be. It’s good to have rituals, but I do believe they can go too far. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on skincare, and more importantly: you don't need skincare.

It's optional. I get nervous when brands lean a little too hard on the self-care talk, promising confidence and self-esteem at the bottom of a moisturiser or a newly launched face mask.

The idea that skincare products delivering the results (clear, glass skin) will make you feel better about yourself (happy, worthy) has been at the core of the beauty industry for decades. Sometimes it’s implied, with before/after shots in a commercial. Sometimes it's in a "Because you’re worth it" tagline. Sometimes, it’s blatantly obvious with a Glow and Lovely label.

Here’s what I, a skin-savvy millennial would like to ask: Does clear skin improve self-esteem inherently, or does clear skin improve self esteem in response to society’s beauty standards? I do believe that having a skincare routine, especially during times of stress is an incredible way to feel like there is some control in your life, but you don’t need skincare.

There are a lot of other things that you do need, like human connection. You need to make sure that you’re sleeping. You need to eat well. That to me, is a little bit more important self-care. No skincare fridges and jade rollers necessary.



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