Have You Ever Kept a Skin Diary?

Sure, you jot down notes about how you’re feeling or important dates that you can’t miss, but do you keep a journal about your skin? As the name suggests, it’s a notebook or journal where you write down any noticeable changes in your skin in order to track how it looks and feels.

As Real Simple points out, this practice is particularly helpful for those who experience issues like acne or rosacea, as it allows you to track what factors help or hinder these conditions. This way, when you experience a flare-up, you’re able to see what might have caused it.

“The skin is really a reflection of what is happening on the inside,” dermatologist Dr Julie Russak told Real Simple. “And the diary is really what helps you see it in front of your eyes. There are so many amorphous ideas in our head that we might know are good for our skin, but unless you really physically see the results, they can be hard to follow. All those little things, once they are in front of you, and you start seeing the pattern, it really resonates much better.”

The journal isn’t just a record of the skincare products you use on a daily basis but should also include information about your day-to-day routine, including what you ate, how much water you consumed, whether you had a stressful day and how much you slept. This way you’re able to drill down into your habits and see which of them are positively impacting your skin, as well as the ones that aren’t.

When these patterns start to appear over time, you’ll be able to stop the behaviours that cause skin disruptions while continuing those that positively impact your skin. For example, if you discover that a particular food leads to a flare-up, you will know to avoid it in the future.

When it comes to writing in your diary, Happy Skincare has created a number of questions for you to answer. Now, you don’t have to write detailed responses for all 11 questions every single day, but simply answer those that feel relevant on that particular day.

  1. How did your skin feel this morning?
  2. How did your skin feel at the end of the day?
  3. Which skincare products did you use in your morning and evening routines?
  4. What have you had to drink today? Water (have you had enough)? Caffeine? Sugary drinks? Alcohol?
  5. Did you eat any of the common foods that can cause skin or digestive issues? Gluten? Dairy? Legumes?
  6. Did you exercise? (Sweating is good for your skin!)
  7. How’s your mood today? Are you stressed out?
  8. Are you menstruating?
  9. How did you sleep last night? Did you have a late-night or get woken up numerous times during the night?
  10. Did you head outside today? Was it sunny/cold/windy? Or did you spend lots of time in the aircon?
  11. (For the sensitive-skinned folk) What did you wear today? And you might want to even think about which detergents/washing liquid you’ve used!).

Feel free to swap out these questions for others that may resonate with your life more — these are merely a starting point. Happy Skincare has also created a skin diary with these questions that you can download, should you wish.

As for the length of time in which you should keep your diary — try starting with four weeks and see if you can spot any patterns. If you can keep it going for three months, you’ll be able to see the way your lifestyle impacts your skin, be it positively or negatively. Good luck!

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