Last year, it became very clear that a new type of skincare approach was hotting up, and one that wouldn't cost you a penny. Beauty brands such as Murad began promoting daily affirmations as well as just their skincare products. And in the months since, it has become apparent that taking a more holistic approach to skincare is increasingly becoming more and more popular. But are affirmations actually able to work to make your complexion better, and can skin gratitude work better than any expensive product can?
Well, a recent read by The Cut sure seems to suggest so, and has sparked conversation about whether we should really be incorporating this free tool into our skincare routines.
The feature profiles several beauty industry folk, who have learnt to give thanks to their skin, and to the universe, in order to fulfil a happier life and live with better skin. Glossier brand founder Emily Weiss apparently keeps a gratitude journal, for example, and influencer Christina Grasso, who you may know as Instagram's @thepouf, considers "gratitude to be a part of my personal beauty routine." Cleo Wade, who wrote part poetry book/part life manual Heart Talk, also told Allure that her beauty routine "includes staying present, practicing self-love, and being grateful for good moisturiser."
Even the writer herself, Jessica L. Yarbrough, explains that she begins every morning meditation by thanking her skin, in part due to the fact she suffered with it by being on topical steroids a while back. She now wants to show she is thankful for everything her skin is done, as well as try inner-healing methods in order to help it fully heal.
This isn't the first time we've seen this type of gratitude in recent years, either. You may have noticed that as of late, more and more influencers, brands, and celebrities, are showing off their bare, natural skin on Instagram, including pigmentation, rosacea, and most notably, acne. We are no longer ashamed of what may previously have been called 'problem skin', but proud and grateful for everything our skin does for us as the body's largest organ.
Even back in 2009, editors were trying out 'The Secret' (where you set intentions and work to visualise then manifest them) to get better skin. Then there's Instagram mentors, like Amy Rushworth, who encourage keeping a gratitude journal and listing things you are grateful for. And of course, Dr Murad's approach to leading a happy and healthy life, which involves positive affirmations and mantras (he now even has an app for this).
But what exactly is all this doing, if anything? Well, on the whole, it has been proven by studies that gratitude really can change your state of mind. And with stress as one of the most commonly discussed factors relating to acne, it's easy to see where the link lies between living a more positive life, and seeing the results on your skin.
Dr Sweta Rai, a member of the British Association of Dermatologists, supports this notion, telling The Guardian: “Gratitude for the things we have in our lives builds a positive mindset and contributes to our daily happiness."
“When we are happy and positive we deal with stress better and this tends to affect our mindset and skin. We know that stress contributes to worsening of several skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis, therefore I’m a big advocate of a positive attitude and stress-relieving therapies. Being grateful and documenting the things we are grateful for can definitely add to your happiness and thereby add radiance to your skin.”
While it cannot be proven, there are also spiritual suggestions about why being grateful and positive inside can help us on the outside. "The inner and outer can be a reflection of each other — sometimes our blemishes and things on the outside are because something on the inside is processing," Lalah Delia, certified spiritual practitioner told The Cut. “When you are in a state of deep gratitude and vibrating hard, it shows,” she adds.
While there's no solid way of determining whether gratitude can actually improve the skin directly per se, it certainly seems to help with mental health and mindset, which in turn, contributes to the condition of our skin on the outside. If you fancy a free glow-up, why not try it?