Discover beauty through professional reviews

(Available in USA only)
NOW READING When Depression Hits Hard, How Do You Even Think About a Skincare Routine?
January 18, 2019

When Depression Hits Hard, How Do You Even Think About a Skincare Routine?

Have you been there? When getting out of bed feels like a monumental effort? When the thought of going through a multi-step skincare routine seems utterly impossible? We’ve been there. Too many times. Here, contributing editor Sheryll opens up about her struggle with depression and how she manages to get through a depression skincare routine … every month.


I’m going to paint you a picture.


It’s 4 pm. I’m sitting on the couch, wearing a pair of sweatpants that have a huge hole in the crotch bc #teamthickthighs. I’m also wearing a sweatshirt I’ve worn four days in a row. I’m sleep deprived, achy, haven’t showered or washed my face, and I have zero desire or motivation to really leave the couch in any capacity. I am depressed.


This is what my life is like roughly once a month. I have PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It’s like PMS, but on steroids. Basically, I am a depressed, sad, crying, cramping, anxiety- and insomnia-ridden mess about four to six days before my period. And it’s torture. It literally feels like my brain gets cloudy and murky, and it takes about 35,348,535 million years of effort to accomplish anything. If I’m not in bed crying, I’m on the couch binge watching TV for 45,456 hours. For someone who is very, very active and generally has an optimistic disposition, PMDD each month hits me like a ton of bricks.


And if you’ve ever been diagnosed with depression, you know just how hard it is to accomplish even the most mundane of tasks. Taking a shower feels like a monumental feat. And washing my face? DEAR GOD. Especially when I work from home and don’t have to leave the house. FORGET ABOUT IT. Why even bother? But the thing is, I know that as soon as I do these simple tasks (plus a little extra to really chase those depression blues away), I’ll feel much better.


depression skincare


Compounding this during this time of the month is the fact that I’m also most likely suffering from some type of hormonal breakout. So I’m depressed, I don’t feel like washing my face, I want to eat myself out of house and home, and I’m breaking out. IT IS THE LITERAL WORST. But even though I have zero motivation to keep up with my skincare routine during this time, I know I have to … for the sake of my mental well-being and my skin. So I have a few tried-and-true methods and tips to help make this time a tad bit more easier to navigate.



I take the pressure off of myself to have this perfectly curated routine by choosing just what I need to get the job done. My cleansers typically stay the same, but I make sure to choose some super fun serums and essences.


Make it easy

I put all the skincare that I plan on using during this time in plain sight in the bathroom. This way, I’m not faced with the daunting task of trying to pick something out of my skincare wardrobe (yes, I have a skincare wardrobe).


Treat yourself

I make sure to add some of my special masks to my routine so I feel a little bit better about treating myself. The SanDaWha Camellia Flower Antioxidant Cream Mask is one of my favorites. It smells like love, and I can use it while lounging on the couch. Win, win.


depression skincare
Rusian Zh/Unsplash


Target the senses

During my shower, I usually play music and do some type of exfoliation. Afterwards, I slather myself in lotion and coconut oil and spritz on my favorite perfume. Scents really do uplift my spirit!


Be extra

When I’m not feeling good, I like to bust out the big guns, like a Sulwhasoo sheet mask, or a Su:m37 clay sheet mask (my favorite). It makes me feel a bit better knowing that I’m giving my skin an extra special touch.


And at the end of the day, even if it’s 4 pm and I have to drag myself to the bathroom, wipe the chip crumbs off my sweatshirt and sigh heavily while cleansing my face, I know once I finish, I’ll feel much better. Thank god for skincare. And Sulwhasoo. And Su:m37.


Have you ever felt this way? What do you do, if anything, to overcome the depression? Do you have a depression skincare routine? Share your experience with me and let us know we’re not alone.


Sheryll Donerson got her start as a beauty writer by writing K-beauty reviews for her blog, The Wanderlust Project. These days, she's lifting heavy weights, eating tacos, drinking (too much) coffee and is 1/4 of the beauty podcast, Beauty Beyond Basics (or Triple Bees for short). You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @sheryllrenata.




Verified Expert

I have definitely been there and stuck thinking what is the point of washing my face even though I know I will break out if I don't. But truly just pushing myself as hard as I can in order get these simple tasks done all in one go helps me break out of it sooner


Verified Expert

It’s hard getting up and doing basic self care needs when you’re feeling low. Sometimes for me, just a simple shower, washing my face or doing a face mask can help feel a little better about myself!

I know when I don't feel like doing anything, if I don't wash my face and I break out, I'm going to feel worse overall because not only do I feel like shit in general, now I feel like shit and have a breakout. So I do the bare minimum - cleanse and moisturize. At least doing that I've done my best, and can't then blame myself for the breakout (though let's be honest, it isn't my fault either way) on top of already feeling bad.

...also if I end up eating my feelings I'll at least have washed my face... Read more

I feel like my skincare routine is so ingrained in my muscle memory at this point, I'll do it no matter how drunk, tired, or depressed I am. I've woken up in the middle of the night after crashing, horrified that I may not have washed my face. I feel like at my age, one skipped night and I'll not only have a breakout but a new line or dark spot, so it's super motivating.

Of course, on those nights, by "routine," I mean cleanse, a quick mist, and just slapping on a sleeping mask or face cream.