The Unusual Skin Care Method that Helped Me Learn to Love My Body

Picture this:  You’re in the shower. The water is perfectly warm, the room is beginning to steam, the water is cascading down your back, over your head, your face, your chest and down to your feet.  Your shoulders relax. Your arms reach out for a bar of soap that smells like lavender.  As you wash your body, you feel the nooks and curves of your form beneath your fingertips.  You sense the flex in your neck as you lather your upper back; the pressure on your left foot as you shift weight to wash the right.  How do you feel? You’ve just dedicated time to taking care of your body; a thing we all take for granted from time to time. Bathing and moisturizing are routines that most of us don’t think of in those terms. 

These moments can be thought of as rituals; healing time spent with your body to restore and communicate inwardly. 

As a person who has struggled with anxiety and depression almost all of my life, I have learned many different skills over the years on how to soothe negative thoughts and cultivate a healthy body image.  Only as an adult have I learned through therapy, research, and trial-and-error, that taking care of my skin and body can do amazing things for mental health. 

Skin-care is something tangible and personal that one has full control over. 

I have found that on the days when it was harder to get out of bed, taking a shower or bath and dedicating the extra five minutes to moisturizing my face and body really helped my state of mind. I felt more relaxed, grounded, and in tune with what my body needed.

An article on PlushCare states: “Physical touch increases levels of dopamine and serotonin, two neurotransmitters that help regulate your mood as well as help your body relieve stress and anxiety. Dopamine is also known to regulate the pleasure center in your brain that is a good counter to feelings of anxiety.”  This is where I started to expand my thinking past the benefits of physical touch on mental health.  If physical touch from another person is that powerful of a tool in battling stress, anxiety and depression, did my ability to self-soothe by touching my own body have the same power?  I began to ponder the benefits of self-touch specifically through skin-care.