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The Connection Between Makeup and Mental Health

By HERWriter
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Mental Health related image Photo: Getty Images

This day coincides with National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, which is held from Feb. 26 to March 3. Body image can be linked to both makeup and eating disorders, which is why the center decided to hold the day during the same week.

“A healthy body image requires a balance within our whole self. If an individual is using makeup as a ‘mask,’ rather then an ‘accessory,’ her feelings of vulnerability may remain buried inside of her, unspoken and unaddressed, but festering and growing,” Kleinman said in an email.

“She may then turn toward body dissatisfaction to problem solve. Establishing a pattern of avoiding inner feelings and sensations often leads to overwhelming stress and tension. An eating disorder, in those most vulnerable, can become a reality as underlying emotional issues are ignored and fearful feelings and thoughts are set aside.”

Like the survey suggested, makeup does have a noticeable connection to mental health and body image.

“Turning to makeup to repair a lack of inner peace or sense of well being can lead to feeling ‘ill at ease’ — a signal that something is bothering the individual,” Kleinman said. “These ‘cues’ when not addressed, can affect one’s overall mental health. This is because when makeup is used to cover up emotions rather than to enhance one’s appearance, the emotions remain locked inside of an individual, growing in intensity but not being solved.”

“Body image has to do with perceptions of how an individual sees herself, believes others see her and feels living in her body,” Kleinman said. “Applying and using makeup to mask feelings and thoughts can cause an illusion of well being that is short lived because important body signals perceived as ‘uncomfortable’ that need her attention may be avoided.”

She believes it is an issue when women are afraid to go out in public without wearing makeup, and she has some tips for women to improve their body images:

1) “Start each day with a positive statement that compliments attributes other than size, weight, shape or physical appearance.”
2) “Minimize diet and weight talk, allowing more time to focus on positive, meaningful aspects of life.”

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.