There’s good news and there’s bad news. The bad news – if you want to call it bad news – is that there’s no such thing as perfect skin. Despite what magazine covers and ads for expensive creams and concoctions might lead you to believe, the concept of having flawless skin is a myth. You will never be able to achieve skin as smooth as porcelain because, well, you’re not porcelain. You’re a human with human skin and human imperfections.

The good news is that striving for what you may believe to be perfect skin is completely unnecessary. The best thing you can do is to take care of your skin and take care of yourself. Abolish the notion of perfection and accept your skin for the amazing organ that it is.

It can all sound a bit cliche after a while. “Love yourself, love your skin, take care of your body and your mind.” But ditching the quest for perfect skin in lieu of doing what’s best to keep your skin healthy can have positive outcomes all around. The way you feel about yourself can impact your life and your health, for better or worse. So forget about trying to eliminate every line, pore, freckle and spot from your face. Focus on taking the best care of yourself and your skin that you can, and an errant zit or well-earned laugh line won’t make a lick of difference.

Skin And Self Esteem

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It seems impossible to separate social interaction from skin. Looking a new friend in the face, shaking hands, hugging, kissing, holding a baby: it all comes down to seeing and feeling skin. It’s the ubiquitous presence of skin in social situations that often makes it a point of anxiety for those of us who feel like our skin isn’t perfect. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed just what an impact poor skin perception can have on adolescents. Girls and boys with acne reported “significantly more depressive symptoms, lower self-attitude, more feelings of uselessness, fewer feelings of pride, lower self-worth and lower body satisfaction than those without acne.”

Another study concluded that having acne can negatively affect the quality of life for adolescents. It can damage their self-esteem and mood and it’s often associated with increased incidence of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. It can even impact their relationships with their family and peers.

Girls and women with skin conditions tend to feel worse about their situation than their male counterparts. Of those responding to interviews conducted for a study published in the Australian Journal of Primary Health, failure to live up to the media portrayals and societal ideals of flawless skin resulted in psychological morbidity in females. But males who also suffered from acne, eczema or psoriasis, did not experience similar distress. And psychological morbidity, which is another moniker for severe psychological distress, can be as grim as it sounds.

Take Care Of Your Skin

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With the condition of your skin so closely linked to your contentment, it might seem like the only option is the sisyphean quest for perfectly clear skin. But just like poor Sisyphus, the ultimate goal of perfect skin is unreachable. Perfect skin does not exist. But your wonderful, powerful, individual skin does, so conscientiously meeting its needs is the best thing you can do. Cleanse your face regularly with a mild cleanser. If you wear makeup, make sure to remove all of it before you go to bed. Use a gentle daily moisturizer to keep skin soft and smooth. Hit any areas of dry, flaky skin with a more substantial moisturizer. These are great building blocks to a skincare routine that keeps your skin healthy and strong. Add products to exfoliate and address your specific skincare concerns, like acne or hyperpigmentation, and your face will thank you by looking as radiant as it can and, more importantly, performing its protective function to its fullest extent. Don’t forget to regularly apply sunscreen!

Take Care Of Yourself

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Just as important as taking care of your skin is the responsibility of taking care of your mental self image. We’ve seen the link between how you look and how you feel, so once the onus of happiness is taken off of your exterior, you have to look inward to find your best and feel your best. Having low self-esteem can negatively affect how you interact with your world. One study, published by Psychological Science, associated low self-esteem with externalizing problems through aggressive and antisocial behaviors. This effect was found to be independent of narcissism, which goes up against the notion that it’s narcissists that act out in delinquent ways.

Just as you develop a routine to keep your skin healthy, you can develop a routine to keep your self-image healthy. Take time for yourself, focus on your achievements and remember that, as cliche as it sounds, what makes you beautiful is not marble-smooth skin. What makes you beautiful is taking care of mind, body and soul so you can be the best possible version of your uniquely gifted self.

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