Are you always turned into your digital devices? Have you ever wondered what negative consequences may come from being constantly plugged in? It's not news that trying to keep up on fast paced social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat can leave you feeling stressed and exhausted. Many people actually experience FOMO and fear turning off or leaving their cellphones at home, which can cause an increased feeling of anxiety or self-consciousness in social situations. Social media can really throw your emotions in a tailspin, without you even realizing its happening.
But did you know it can have a long-term impact on your emotional wellbeing, and thus, your skin? By now we all know the deep connection between stress and acne. Stress causes a surge in the hormone cortisol, which in excess can make you breakout. The more you stress out, the more you breakout; the more you breakout, the more you stress out. It’s a vicious hard to break cycle (you can read more about the ). But what if you were subconsciously sabotaging yourself (and your skin) with social media?
body image (and other) distortions
With photoshop, face tune, angles, and filters the lines between reality and the digital world begin to blur. Scroll through Instagram for just a few minutes and you'll be bombarded with images of perfect bodies, faces, houses, food, closets, and skin. This image of perfection can cause jealously and make you feel less than when you constantly compare your everyday life to someone else's highlight reels.
You may start to feel resentful or even begin shaming yourself for not having these things in your life (tiny waist, perfect skin, cute clothes, perfect boyfriend, etc.). You can even start to view your own life through a distorted lens and start believing that certain physical features about yourself aren't good enough. When long mindless hours are spent scrolling through social media, it takes feelings of self-consciousness on those who are feeling vulnerable and amplifies them.
This is especially true with facial features and skin as social media users begin to use editing apps like facetune. These tools can shrink your nose, make your eyes brighter and bigger, minimize your pores, and smooth your skin. As a severe acne sufferer, seeing images of flawless airbrushed skin can have a negative impact on your psyche as it serves as a reminder of something you long for. Oftentimes we can even become jealous of these "flawless" photos and begin to drag ourselves down by pointing out our own physical features we're unhappy with.
Newsflash, the photos are not real. They're fake you guys! Infact, one girls skin I admired for about a year came out about having cystic acne a few months ago, but due to her editing techniques I would have never known. Of course, I continue to follow her regardless, I follow her for her talent not her skin; but it was eye opening to realize that she too struggles with acne and made me feel a deeper connection with her struggle!
selfies can impact your psyche
Selfies can impact you either positively or negatively. They have the ability to either empower you or create a false sense of social interaction, according to . Replacing likes and online social interaction with real life communication can have negative consequences on your wellbeing, your mental health, and thus, your skin. As we know, mental wellbeing and the health of your skin is deeply connected. When you're stressed, tired, or anxious, it might show in the form of a pimple.
validation through likes
Feeling like you have to reach a certain number of likes to feel important or relevant is very common among young people on Instagram. I personally know a few people who will delete and repost a photo at a more popular time to receive "x" number of likes. This constant chase of approval can be stressful and exhausting, and of course like we have discussed- excess stress can show wear and tear on your skin, exasperating breakouts.
Don't get me wrong, social media isn't all bad. It can be a great thing depending on who you follow and who/what you're letting influence your thoughts and opinions! It's a way to connect with people all over the world, learn new recipes, discover new fashion, and learn different makeup techniques. Unfortunately, it can also, be toxic. This happens when we spend copious amounts of time on our digital devices and start to play the numbers game with our photos instead of posting things we truly care about. Seeking validation through likes will start to replace real human interaction, which can lead to a whole slew of things like anxiety and depression. We need face to face time, and the only one who needs to validate you- is yourself!
trying to keep up an image
Remember to stay true to yourself! There is no obligation to photoshop or edit your photos, if that’s what you want do it; and if it's not don't. Don't feel forced to post one way or another, just do whatever feels natural to you and makes you happy. Constantly trying to post daily or even weekly can exhaust you when you're trying to keep up a facade. Or if youre anti-social media and just don’t want to post at all, don’t. Not everyone needs to be aware of every second of your life that passes; hold onto some memories and moments just for you and no one else.
Personally, I find that posting daily is too much for me mentally. On the flip side of that, when your job is social media you have an obligation to interact with your followers and post interesting content frequently. When you fail to post, your following, likes, and interaction can drop. This puts stress on the content creator but, for me personally one or two posts a week is the maximum I can mentally crank out.
A few other ways digital devices can impact your skin are:
- Dirt clogging pores from cellphone bacteria
- Bright screens causing insomnia and keeping you awake
- LED light can enhance wrinkles, dark spots, or cause premature aging
the solution? a digital detox
Next time your done scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, take a second to tune in with your body. Do you feel tense, stressed, anxious, depressed, or completely wiped out? If so, it might be time to take a digital detox. Unplug from social media.
If you can, completely turn off your phone for a few days without any distraction. If you can't- simply delete your apps you wish to spend less time on. You can even install a time tracking device on your phone that limits your app usage to a certain number of hours or minutes.
Take a second to check in with yourself, rebalance, and reground. You'll feel so much more refreshed and less stressed! Because I work from social media it can be hard to take breaks often but I try to do a little self-assessment or reset once a month where I spend at least 4 days completely off the web. It helps me to relax, organizing, and be present in the moment. You'd be surprised! Life goes on without social media. Just because you don't take a photo while bowling or while walking your dog- it doesn't mean it didn't happen! Reserve those special little moments for yourself to fully enjoy without any distractions.
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Kali Kushner, known as the Instagram alias myfacestory, is a natural beauty advocate in the greater Cincinnati area who is passionate about using organic skincare and holistic remedies to heal acne from the inside out. Her dedication lies in her own chronic acne struggles as she continues to restore herself while helping those around her.