What’s the first thing you think of when you hear someone say they need a facial or a chemical peel? Do you envision self-indulgence and a day at the spa…or, do you see it as a necessary and important part of personal hygiene and self-care?
Truthfully, far too many people instantly confuse much-needed skin care with pampering or over-indulgence. As they dash around from place-to-place within their busy lives, they see the time and money investment associated with advanced skin care as unnecessary, overly indulgent, or even a waste of resources.
But many of the very same people wouldn’t bat an eye at visiting the dentist for a regular cleaning or the hairdresser for a trim and deep conditioning treatment. In fact, most of you reading this article probably consider both an important part of regular self-care, right?
So what’s the difference – and should this mindset be changed? We certainly think so, here’s why!
YOUR SKIN MATTERS
You’ve probably heard the term, “beauty is only skin-deep.”
Okay, so…sure, it’s technically true. Your character and personality will always be important. After all, it’s what makes you who you are – and it’s constantly evolving with you from the moment you’re born until you move on from this world.
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t even value your appearance or your self-image, nor does it mean you should feel guilty for focusing on beauty.
Although it may sound strange at first, your skin is in fact an organ with a BIG job. It’s responsible for shielding you from the outside world, it protects you from the sun, and it even wards off infection. The skin is also the number one outer expression of personal health and wellness (when you’re healthy, it’s healthy), letting you express who you are to the world through makeup.
Your skin matters – and so do you. You deserve healthy, glowing skin that allows your inner personality and wellness to really shine. You deserve to take time and focus on yourself and your personal appearance. How you get there is up to you, but you should never feel guilty about making it a priority.
SKIN CARE REGIMENS ARE SELF-CARE
If you look up the definition of self-care in a dictionary, it’s pretty simple and straightforward. “The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health,” it reads. That’s why most of us strive to drink more water, eat clean, get enough exercise, and keep a regular sleep schedule.
But when it comes to beauty regimens, things seem to get a little more nuanced. We often feel as if too much focus on beauty somehow strips us of our inner light, making personality or moral character “less important.”
This isn’t true! Your beauty regimen is just as much an important part of your self-care plan as anything else you do to improve your wellness.
The truth is that self-care is really defined as anything you do to take care of and focus on yourself as a person. And yes, this does include how you take care of your skin, whether you are the “soap, water, wash, and go” kind of person, or the kind of person who goes for a facial every two weeks with occasional fillers to plump your lips.
Makeup, moisturizers, chemical peels, fillers – whatever works best for you to make you feel more comfortable and confident is a form of self-care. You are caring for your self-image, self-esteem, and personal confidence, all of which are more than just a little important to your overall wellness.
Think about the time you spend on your beauty regimen. You’re focusing on yourself and your needs, all while giving your skin what it needs to glow, thrive, perform, and look its very best. That’s not pampering (at least in the sense of the guilty feelings that typically come along with it). Instead, it’s just sensible self-care.
WHERE DOES ALL THIS CONFUSION COME FROM?
While everyone has their own opinion of what’s “too much” self-indulgence or pampering and what falls under the spectrum of real self-care, people can be really cruel in today’s world. Unfortunately, this is probably where a lot of this confusion comes from in the first place.
Take a look at the comments on any YouTube beauty guru video or a news article about skin care. Comments like “Oh she’s shallow,” or “Oh, all he cares about is how he looks,” promote the idea that if you focus on your appearance, you are somehow “lesser-than.”
Even if it makes you happy. Even if it helps you feel more like you in your own skin. Even if it significantly improves your mood.
The truth is that judgmental people will automatically define anything other than washing the face with soap and water as unnecessary and silly. They care more about their own bias and what they believe than whether or not the person feels their beauty regimen helps them feel more comfortable in their own skin.
THE MEDIA’S MIXED MESSAGES
The media is also probably partly to blame for how people sometimes feel guilty or overindulgent if they care about their appearance too much. Both women and men receive mixed messages telling them that focusing on their appearance makes them shallow or somehow devoid of personality. Yet, the media also promotes the idea that we’re all supposed to be self-sacrificing, leaving self-care to fall by the wayside while we care for everyone around us instead.
And on top of all that, it also tells us we have to look perfect and be perfect at all times, with perfect social media photos and flawless representation online.
In reality, none of these things are true. You can’t care for others until you learn to care for and love yourself first. And chronically sacrificing your own wellness for everyone around you (even if they don’t deserve it) is a recipe for depression, burnout, and exhaustion.
So are the media’s mixed messages about caring for your personal appearance are right? Absolutely not. There’s nothing wrong with caring about how you look and spending time, money, and resources to improve your looks.
As for perfection? Toss that right out the window. Even the most polished and perfect models aren’t perfect despite their highly regulated beauty routines.
What you DO deserve is time to focus on yourself and engage in self-care, even around your appearance. No matter how in-depth or simple your personal skin care and beauty routine is, it is still an important part of your personal self-care plan.
WHAT IF “PAMPERING” IS SELF-CARE, TOO?
We opened this article with a strong headline suggesting that you shouldn’t confuse self-care with pampering. But what if that isn’t the entire story, either?
Let’s take this important conversation one step further. What if you do pamper yourself and do more for your skin or appearance than you really “have to?” Is being kind and caring for yourself really such a bad thing?
The definition of pampering is, “indulge with every attention, comfort, and kindness; spoil.” Set aside the world “spoil” for a moment (it’s a loaded term). Let’s focus on the rest of the definition instead.
“Indulge with every attention, comfort, and kindness.”
Sounds a bit like something everyone deserves – something that can help you maintain mental, emotional, and physical wellness as a human being.
If you feel more positive, happy, and confident by including beauty and skin care treatments in your regular routine (or even just the occasional spa day) you’re still focusing on yourself in ways that help you improve your overall wellness.
So maybe the issue isn’t so much about whether we’re pampering ourselves or engaging in self-care. Instead, it’s really more of an issue with how we define these things and how we think about terms like “pampering” in the first place.