Why This Celebrity Esthetician Wants You To Keep A Skin Care Journal
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and wellness. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
We'd wager you've heard of dream journals—perhaps you've even started one to interpret your dreamland fantasies. Food journals are pretty common, too; maybe you've embarked on an elimination diet and need to keep track of your body's responses. Let's try another: Ever dabbled in a skin care journal?
Alicia Yoon, celebrity esthetician and founder of Peach & Lily, says you should dedicate some pages to your skin. "I've done this for a long time now, and it has been really helpful for me," she says. Who knows—it may help you, too.
The benefits of a skin care journal.
So much of skin care is pure guesswork: For example, you can study up on a certain type of retinol, but you still won't know how it works for you until you actually test it. And even then, it may take a few rounds to determine whether or not it's doing the job. Sure, you may know immediately if a product causes an allergic reaction, but oftentimes skin care takes a few days to show signs like clogged pores or increased oil production. "Over time, [journaling] gives you a lot of clues as to what really your skin gravitates toward," says Yoon. And, alternatively, what it cannot bear.
Additionally, if you suffer from inflammatory skin conditions, Yoon says keeping a skin care journal can help you keep track of flares and triggers. "When I get flare-ups, I remember it lasting longer than it actually did," she notes. "I look back to my journal, and it was only three days, when it felt like two weeks." That timestamp can also provide intel on what else was going on in your life—stressful situations, cold weather, and the like—that could have provoked the symptoms.
How to start yours.
Let's be clear: This does not have to be a taxing homework assignment. You don't even need to purchase a brand-new spiral and pore over the pages—just a few quick bullets will do, and you can scribble down notes in a journal you already own. Or you could download a helpful app, like this virtual skin care diary, if you'd rather organize your notes digitally.
Whichever medium you choose, build a skin-focused section and reflect on how your skin looks and feels that day—have you introduced a new product to your routine, or are you experiencing a flare-up? What are you noticing in the mirror? "Keep track, even lightly, of what's working for you and what's not," says Yoon.
You also don't have to stick to scrutiny: Also take this time to jot down what you love about your skin, identifying at least three things you're grateful for. This small gratitude practice can help quell the inflammatory response that tends to follow self-criticism, which may even lead to calm, smooth skin in the long run—after all, research has shown that psychological stress can translate into physical inflammation on the skin1.
Skin care journals don't have to be a grueling extra step in your routine—consider it a friendly reminder to take stock of your skin each day and treat it with the love and respect it deserves. Especially if you're testing new products or experiencing flare-ups, it's a helpful tool to help you know what's actually working.
Heal Your Skin.
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Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.