Makeup, Anxiety and Depression

woman looking onward

With so many movements encouraging the discussion of mental illness, we thought it was time to shed some light on the relationship between mental illnesses (such as anxiety and depression) and makeup. While there are some individuals who are against makeup and its transformative ability, it’s important to understand just how powerful a tool makeup is when it concerns a person’s insecurities. Almost any girl will admit that the first few years of experimenting with makeup were rough, but as time goes on makeup becomes less of an experiment and more of a component to a healthy personal care routine.

To gain a greater understanding of mental health and it’s connections to makeup, we reached out to Alecka Camp, B.A. Psychology. Camp plans to pursue her Ph.D. in applied psychology with a focus on social and behavioral research as she continues to immerse herself in the health and beauty industry. If you would like to get in touch with Alecka Camp about her past research related to social behavior and well-being, leave a comment below or contact her via LinkedIn.

We hope you’ll enjoy the remainder of this article written by Alecka Camp.

“We’ve all heard something along the lines that if you look good, you feel good. Believe it or not, this mantra has been backed up by psychological evidence which shows that by putting effort and attention into our outfit, makeup routine, or hairstyle we are more likely to feel confident about ourselves during the day ahead. If you don’t believe it or don’t’ want to look into the research, consider the total life changing makeup routines used by the world’s leading drag queens. In understanding that those questioning or suffering with their sexuality are at a higher risk of experiencing anxiety and depression, it’s pretty amazing to see the positive life changing affect that makeup has on these individuals.

woman doing makeup

Additionally, cognitive behavioral therapists have found that when working with an individual suffering from anxiety or depression, makeup has played a significant role in the patient’s mental health. When working with a patient who is anxious or depressed, cognitive behavioral therapy asserts that negative thought patterns will continue in an endless loop unless they are otherwise stopped or interrupted. Knowing this, it is common for cognitive behavioral therapist to teach patients to stop the repetition of negative thoughts by doing something that is either pleasurable or productive. It just so happens that self-care best practices, such as skincare and makeup application, fit the bill!

For some, depressed and anxious tendencies arise when a person feels that they aren’t good enough – whether they feel incompetent of society’s standards, unable to reach their goals, or invaluable to their friends and family. Often times these thoughts are the effect of repetitive situations and events and should be explored in greater detail with a licensed mental health counselor. However, many patients in this position have found that makeup gives them the power to change things that might have seemed out of their control otherwise. An exemplary example of this is the careful application of makeup to conceal the appearance of acne (or acne scars).

Furthermore, physiological studies have shown that the simple act of self-care – through skincare, body care, and makeup application – brings about a powerful, positive neurochemical response from one’s own touch. This is particularly helpful for those who are struggling with anxious or depressive tendencies as a result of addiction or lifestyle changes, as many in this situation have difficulty making healthful tasks (e.g., hygiene) a priority. Interestingly, by engaging in self-care that involves the sensation of touch, the brain neuropeptides which help the body relax.

Of course, anxiety and depression are two very subjective mental illnesses which affect everyone differently. Knowing this, psychologist and beauty professionals agree that even if you’re not suffering from a mental illness, makeup application and self-care are two great ways to show yourself love. So, next time you have a bad day, get that massage you’ve been yearning for; if there’s trouble in paradise, listen to the friend who tells you to get dolled up and go dancing. We promise you’ll be happy you did.”

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